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 returns to Talladega, scene of his life-changing victory

The finish of last year's Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway has been called a lot of things by a lot of people. Fans have called it exciting, drivers have called it potentially lethal and NASCAR has called it's just drivers havin' at it. This week, with the 2010 Aaron's 499 just days away, Brad Keselowski had few problems with people calling it the event that made him a star and helped land him a top Cup ride. And, he indicated, with Talladega being Talladega, more stars could be made this Sunday. The finish of the 2009 race, replayed ad nauseam courtesy of YouTube and television, shot Keselowski out of obscurity. As he and Carl Edwards diced for the lead on the final lap at about 200 mph, Edwards slid low to block Keselowski. But his car didn't clear Keselowski's, contact was made and Edwards' car launched into the air, where it was hit again by Ryan Newman and pirouetted into the catch fence just yards from spectator-packed grandstands.

Keselowski earned his first Cup win for James Finch's part-time team and months later got a phone call from Roger Penske, leading to this year's deal for a coveted seat.

Coincidence? Keselowski was asked exactly that this week.

"That's a great question," he said. "One that I'm not in a good place in time to answer. You know, a lot of great things have happened to me over the last 12 months, and, you know, coming back to Talladega is a great chance to reflect upon that. But to know where I'd be, geez, man, it's so hard."

Keselowski said there are few better places in NASCAR for young stars to be made than at Talladega. The racing there, with its high speeds and restrictor plates and bump drafting and, yes, big wrecks, can be a wonderful place for fans to meet and fall in love with drivers.

"I think the win that I had at Talladega last year exemplifies the core of the sport where the core of stock car racing rises to popularity, and that's that any driver can win a race, based on his own moves, his own risks, his own strategy," Keselowski said.

Meanwhile, Bob Osborne, Edwards' crew chief, said the mechanical bits of cars are more important at other places.

"Talladega is challenging for a crew chief because so much of it is out of our control," Osborne said. "We do the best we can to get the car handling well and create a smart pit strategy, but most of this race depends on the driver and the spotter."

But neither Osborne, his driver nor any other driver can be hoping that another star is made at their expense on Sunday.

Lives are at stake — in the cars and in the grandstands — and hopes for a championship are at stake.

"Obviously a year ago the finish was a little more exciting than I would have liked," Edwards said. "But we were in a position to win. We're going to go back with points in mind (he's 15th) considering the trouble we had in Atlanta and Texas, and hopefully we can come out of Talladega in one piece."

Sprint Cup points

Through 8 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Jimmie Johnson 1,248—

Matt Kenseth 1,140 108

Greg Biffle 1,120 128

Kevin Harvick 1,107 141

Jeff Gordon 1,028 220

Kyle Busch 1,020 228

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,013 235

Jeff Burton 1,005 243

Kurt Busch 999 249

Mark Martin 994 254

Denny Hamlin 973 275

Joey Logano 941 307

Up next

Aaron's 499, 1 p.m. Sunday, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

TV: Ch. 13

Brad Keselowski returns to Talladega, scene of his life-changing victory 04/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2010 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down


    UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

    Rays lineup:
    Smith cf,
    Dickerson lf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Morrison 1b,
    Souza rf,
    Ramos c,
    Beckham 2b,
    Hechavarria ss,
    Cobb p

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.
  2. Cal Foote was picked 14th overall by the Lightning in the NHL Draft.
  3. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe


    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  4. Joe Maddon: What my time in Tampa Bay meant, and still means, to me

    The Heater

    Editor's note: The Rays next week in Chicago will meet up for the first time with former manager Joe Maddon, who is in his third year leading the Cubs after nine with the Rays. In advance of the Tuesday-Wednesday series, we asked Maddon to share his thoughts in a column on what his time in Tampa Bay meant to …

    Joe Maddon waits to greet B.J. Upton after Upton's home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in 2008 at Tropicana Field. [Times files (2008)]
  5. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.