NASCAR Talladega: Keselowski wins last-lap thriller

Brad Keselowski took his first win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series after beating Matt DiBenedetto on the final lap of the Talladega race.

NASCAR Talladega: Keselowski wins last-lap thriller

DiBenedetto took the Stage 1 win under caution when a multi-car wreck erupted on the backstretch that sent Joey Logano’s #22 Team Penske Ford barrel-rolling down the track.

Following a series of bumping moves, Logano appeared to get turned by Denny Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Logano’s car veered left and made slight contact with Ryan Preece, which sent Logano’s car airborne. Bubba Wallace, Keselowski and Chase Briscoe also got caught up in the incident.

Wallace picked up the Stage 2 victory under caution as a wreck erupted behind him with one lap remaining in the 60-lap segment.

Denny Hamlin appeared to drift up in front of Martin Truex Jr, who then got into the back of Hamlin and turned him into the wall, which triggered another multi-car accident.

Among those collected were Byron, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott, who all were forced to drive through the infield grass.

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all the lead-lap cars pit, with Blaney the first off pit road, with the lead changing hands a number of times as the third segment wore on.

Quin Houff hit the wall at Turn 2 on Lap 172 to bring out a caution, which set aside the fuel worries many drivers had.

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Many lead-lap cars elected to pit for fuel but Jones stayed on the track and remained in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 177.

He was followed by DiBenedetto and Ross Chastain, though DiBenedetto quickly powered back to the lead after the restart.

NASCAR displayed the caution on Lap 186 for a tyre carcass that came off Truex's car and landed near the start/finish line.

Both Wallace and Kyle Busch were forced to pit under the caution for fuel and new tyres.

When the race went into overtime, DiBenedetto led the way followed by Blaney, Keselowski, Harvick and McDowell.

On the final lap of overtime, Keselowski and DiBenedetto were racing for the win when DiBenedetto went to the high side to block and Keselowski went low.

With a shove from Michael McDowell, Keselowski cleared DiBenedetto and held on to the chequered flag to earn his first win of the season and sixth career victory at Talladega Superspeedway, despite Erik Jones and Ross Chastain wrecking behind him.

It was the only lap Keselowski led in a wild race which saw 35 lead changes among 17 different drivers.

Keselowski, who has 35 career wins, is the ninth different winner in the first 10 races of the 2021 season.

William Byron ended up second, McDowell third, Kevin Harvick fourth and DiBenedetto rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Kaz Grala, Tyler Reddick, Austin Dillon, Blaney and Cole Custer.

Cla Driver Gap Interval
1 United States Brad Keselowski    
2 United States William Byron 0.102 0.102
3 United States Michael McDowell 0.103 0.001
4 United States Kevin Harvick 0.211 0.108
5 United States Matt DiBenedetto 0.396 0.185
6 United States Kaz Grala 0.397 0.001
7 United States Tyler Reddick 0.418 0.021
8 United States Austin Dillon 0.541 0.123
9 United States Ryan Blaney 0.574 0.033
10 United States Cole Custer 0.621 0.047
11 United States Chase Briscoe 0.734 0.113
12 Anthony Alfredo 0.770 0.036
13 United States Ryan Newman 0.918 0.148
14 United States Ryan Preece 0.923 0.005
15 United States Aric Almirola 0.927 0.004
16 United States Ross Chastain 1.012 0.085
17 United States Christopher Bell 1.013 0.001
18 United States Kyle Busch 1.033 0.020
19 United States Bubba Wallace 1.201 0.168
20 United States Harrison Burton 1.666 0.465
21 United States Chris Buescher 2.125 0.459
22 United States Corey Lajoie 2.343 0.218
23 Mexico Daniel Suarez 3.165 0.822
24 United States Chase Elliott 3.292 0.127
25 United States B.J. McLeod 8.130 4.838
26 United States J.J. Yeley 10.019 1.889
27 United States Erik Jones 1 Lap 1 Lap
28 United States Cody Ware 1 Lap 52.805
29 United States Timmy Hill 1 Lap 5.197
30 United States Justin Haley 1 Lap 1.172
31 United States Martin Truex Jr. 2 Laps 1 Lap
32 United States Denny Hamlin 3 Laps 1 Lap
33 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 5 Laps 2 Laps
34 United States Joey Gase 5 Laps 0.647
35 United States Kurt Busch 6 Laps 1 Lap
36 United States Josh Bilicki 11 Laps 5 Laps
37 United States Quin Houff 23 Laps 12 Laps
38 United States Alex Bowman 68 Laps 45 Laps
39 United States Joey Logano 132 Laps 64 Laps
40 United States Kyle Larson 188 Laps 56 Laps
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