Keselowski Strikes Again at Talladega
Brad Keselowski’s learning curve is shaped like a 2.66-mile trioval. For the second consecutive year, Keselowski has arrived at Talladega Superspeedway with a new race team and has driven his way to Victory Lane.
Last year Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in only his fifth career Cup start. On Sunday, Keselowski captured the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race driving for a Penske Racing team that was formed last November.
“What a great day,” team owner Roger Penske said. “It was a great run by Brad. There wasn’t a mark on his car, which is a credit to the way he drove. I’m just so proud of him and the team. It was a special day for us.”
Behind a strong push from Joey Logano, Keselowski passed leader Kevin Harvick during a green-white-checkered finish and held on for the victory. Logano was second, followed by Harvick in third, Jason Keller in fourth and John Borneman III in fifth.
Keselowski now has two victories and two other top-10 finishes in six career starts at Talladega Superspeedway (three in Sprint Cup and three in Nationwide).
“It was an exciting race. Just amazing,” Keselowski said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be here at Talladega. This track means a lot to me. The fans who come here are diehard NASCAR fans. To be able to win in front of them is pretty cool.”
The victory helped propel Keselowski into the Nationwide points lead by 60 points over Kevin Harvick. Keselowski said his goal is to give Penske his first NASCAR championship.
“We’re right where we want to be with this team,” Keselowski said. “We’re in the points lead, we’re having fun, we won our first race. We’re doing everything we need to do. I’ve thought we’ve been capable of winning all year, and I’m glad we put it together today at Talladega.”
For much of the race it appeared Harvick might win for the second time on Sunday. He captured the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup race earlier in the day, and then led 51 laps in the 120-lap Aaron’s 312.
But in his attempt to prevent Jamie McMurray from passing him on the high side during the green-white-checkered finish, Harvick was unable to hold off the one-two drafting push of Keselowski and Logano down low.
“I got up in front of (McMurray) and blocked the top line’s momentum,” Harvick said. “I really don’t know how they all got around me, but they did, and I wound up a couple short. But I had a chance, and that’s all you can ask for coming off Turn 4.
“You always want to win. But to walk out of here with a win and a third, I’m not going to complain. It’s been a great day. I definitely can’t complain about third place.”
Logano felt the same way about his second-place finish, especially since he was in 10th place on the green-white-checkered restart.
“I had a really fast car. If I got shuffled out, I was able to drive right back to the front,” Logano said. “I wanted to win, but to go from 10th to second, you have to be happy with it.”
In the end, however, nobody was quite as happy as Keselowski.
“This is somewhat of a statement for us to win today,” Keselowski said. “We’re making progress and we’re happy with where we are. It feels really good.”
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