Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brad Keselowski pulls off a big push to beat Sprint Cup field at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. — The leader on the last lap isn't supposed to win at Talladega Superspeedway. Everybody knows that.

Brad Keselowski disagrees, and he showed how to do it Sunday with a calculated plan.

Keselowski used a big push from Kyle Busch to pass leader Matt Kenseth, and after leaving the Daytona 500 winner in their wake, Keselowski staved off Busch's attempt to win. Using a move Keselowski said he had dreamed about, he held on for his second win of the season and second career at Talladega.

"I had this whole plan if I ever got in that situation where I was leading. I thought about it and thought about it, dreamed about what to do, and sure enough, going into (Turn) 3, it was just me and Kyle," Keselowski said. "I knew the move I wanted to pull. It worked because the guy running second should have the advantage, but I had this move all worked up in my mind."

Keselowski was the first driver in the past five races at Talladega to take the white flag as the leader and hang on. He did it with a plan that left Busch and Kenseth flat-footed, and after the race both praised Keselowski, who made his big splash in NASCAR by winning the spring race at Talladega in 2009, pulling off an upset for James Finch's underfunded team.

"He's no dummy, that's for sure," said Busch, who finished second for the second consecutive day, including the Nationwide series race.

Kenseth led seven times for a race-high 73 laps and also led coming into a race-ending green-white-checkered restart.

A nine-car accident with four laps remaining brought out the yellow flag. Kenseth, with a push from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle, jumped to a huge lead on the restart.

It was probably too big.

Kenseth and Biffle got separated, and with two-car tandem racing still the fastest way around Talladega despite all of NASCAR's rules aimed at ending it, the Keselowski-Busch tandem sailed past Kenseth on the outside.

"I think we had the winning car, really just didn't have the winning driver," Kenseth said. "I wasn't too fast. I was just too stupid, I guess, at the end to keep a win."

The last wreck was the last of five cautions in a clean race by restrictor-plate standards. Defending series champ Tony Stewart, who was collected in AJ Allmendinger's accident, had a ready response for those clamoring for pack racing and complaining about a relative lack of action in recent races.

"I'm upset that we didn't crash more cars," said Stewart, who finished 24th and co-owns his two-car Stewart-Haas team. "That's what we're here for. I feel bad if I don't spend at least $150,000 in torn-up race cars going back to the shop. We've definitely got to do a better job at that."

.Fast facts

Sprint Cup points

Through 10 of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) after 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.


Greg Biffle378—

Matt Kenseth3717

D. Earnhardt Jr.3699

Denny Hamlin35127

Kevin Harvick33345

Martin Truex33246

Tony Stewart32850

Jimmie Johnson32454

Kyle Busch30870

Clint Bowyer30276

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official points today.

Brad Keselowski pulls off a big push to beat Sprint Cup field at Talladega 05/06/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 7, 2012 12:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But, for whatever reason, he just didn't pitch well and got knocked out in the third.

  3. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  4. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
  5. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]