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Brad Keselowski wins wreck-filled Sprint Cup race at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brad Keselowski won a demolition derby at Talladega Superspeedway, where multiple wrecks caused two cars to go airborne and led to millions of dollars in damage to race teams.

Keselowski's cruise to the checkered flag was anticlimactic in Sunday's Geico 500 compared to all the other trouble.

"Racing has always been that balance of daredevils and chess players, this has always been more of a daredevil-type track," Keselowski said.

Choosing the top lane for a restart on Lap 186 of 188 on the 2.66-mile track, Keselowski powered his No. 2 Team Penske Ford past Kurt Busch with two laps left and crossed the finish line as a gaggle of cars wrecked behind him coming to the stripe.

With his 19th career victory, Keselowski became the fourth two-time winner of 2016 and cemented a spot in the Chase for the Championship.

Chris Buescher's car flipped three times in an early crash, and Matt Kenseth was turned upside down in the waning laps. In Kenseth's accident, Danica Patrick hit hard, nose-first, into an energy-absorbing wall that seemed to buckle upon impact. She appeared shaken.

"I would say that's probably the most scared, trying to hop out of a car with the fire on the inside. I haven't had fire on the inside before," the former IndyCar driver said. "I have a pretty decent bruise on my arm and my foot, and my head feels like I hit a wall at 200. My chest hurts when I breathe."

NASCAR's box score showed 35 of the 40 cars were involved in some sort of accident. Only 21 cars finished on the lead lap.

Second-place Kyle Busch said he once looked in his rearview mirror and only saw four cars without some sort of damage.

"I hate it. I'd much rather be at home," said Kyle Busch, the reigning Sprint Cup champion. "I don't need to be here."

Austin Dillon finished a career-high third and said he enjoyed the race, though it was nerve-wracking. Dillon was in his own horrific crash at Daytona last July and said the style of racing at restrictor-plate tracks creates an atmosphere of danger.

"We all have to do it. I don't know how many really love it," Dillon said. "I know our moms, wives and girlfriends don't like it. We don't like to be part of crashes."

Rain was forecast, increasing the urgency of Sunday's race. Once the race hit halfway, making it official, drivers tried to charge to the front because they couldn't afford to hang back and risk having rain end the race.

"I really don't know why we're bumping and pushing and everything else, because these cars, they go slower when you push," Kyle Busch said. "Makes a lot of sense.

"That's how stupid we are."

Sprint Cup points

Through 10 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 351—

Kyle Busch** 342 9

Carl Edwards** 337 14

Jimmie Johnson** 329 22

Joey Logano 316 35

Kurt Busch 312 39

Brad Keselowski** 300 51

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 279 72

Martin Truex 274 77

Austin Dillon 272 79

* Wins

Up next

Gobowling 400, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.

TV/radio: FS1; 102.5-FM

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 140.046 mph

Time of race: 3 hours, 34 minutes, 15 seconds

Margin of victory: Under caution

Caution flags: 10 for 41 laps

Lead changes: 37 among 17 drivers

Lap leaders: Elliott 1-13; Kenseth 14-28; Elliott 29-38; Waltrip 39; Ky.Busch 40-51; Almirola 52; Allmendinger 53; Ragan 54-55; Waltrip 56; Kenseth 57-71; Keselowski 72-82; Hamlin 83; Keselowski 84; Hamlin 85-88; Keselowski 89-96; Patrick 97-99; Harvick 100-102; Elliott 103-106; Harvick 107-108; Bayne 109-115; Harvick 116-117; Bayne 118; Harvick 119-120; Bayne 121-128; Labonte 129; Newman 130; Whitt 131; Bayne 132-135; Larson 136-137; Bayne 138; Larson 139-145; Kenseth 146-152; Labonte 153; Kenseth 154-155; Bayne 156; Keselowski 157-165; Logano 166-171; Keselowski 172-188

Brad Keselowski wins wreck-filled Sprint Cup race at Talladega 05/01/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2016 11:19pm]
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