Talladega NASCAR: Brad Keselowski wins after three red flags

Brad Keselowski booked his place in the final eight of the playoffs by winning on his 300th NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega

Talladega NASCAR: Brad Keselowski wins after three red flags

Three late red-flags left Keselowski in the lead, and the #2 Penske Ford driver won the last three-lap shootout with the help of team-mate Joey Logano.

Keselowski won the first stage on a late restart over team-mate Logano but radio problems hampered his efforts to win stage two.

He was forced to pit from fourth in stage three for a new radio antenna, leaving him at the rear with 29 laps remaining.

Having avoided those three late crashes, Keselowski led in front of polesitter Dale Earnhardt Jr with Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin on his flank for the final restart.

Newman and Hamlin worked in tandem to clear their rivals as Earnhardt and Keselowski split, but Newman broke too far from the pack.

Helped by Logano, Keselowski took the lead around the outside on the final lap to win.

Trevor Bayne hovered around 10th place all afternoon but took third having recovered from a late puncture. The #6 Roush Fenway Racing driver was collected in a late crash but made it to the finish with damage.

Logano took fourth ahead of Aric Almirola.

Earnhardt narrowly avoided those late crashes but finished seventh in front of Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Kasey Kahne.

Though Gray Gaulding crashed earlier on in the race, he took his BK Racing Toyota to ninth ahead of fellow damage-stricken racer David Ragan.

On the lead lap were left 11 cars, with only 15 classed as finishers after the multiple crashes.

The first red-flag was flown for a massive late crash caused by contact between Ragan and Martin Truex Jr, which collected 16 cars in total with 16 laps of the 188-lap race remaining.

Playoff contenders Truex, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr were collected in the pile-up as the three-wide battle for position ended in chaos.

A lap after the restart, Logano hit Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne to bring out another red-flag, but Logano's #22 survived to finish the race.

Three laps of clean racing, led by Daniel Suarez, were swiftly ended as Chase Elliott spun the Joe Gibbs Racing rookie around and took out another two cars in the process, giving Keselowski the lead.

Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Johnson retired as his #48 team violated NASCAR rules by working on his car under the first red-flag.

Truex, who suffered terminal damage in the 16-car crash, had cemented his place into the round of eight of the playoffs with victory at Charlotte last weekend.

With one race remaining in the round of 12, hopes of advancement for Kyle Busch, Stenhouse and Kenseth hang in the balance.

Jamie McMurray's day ended early and his playoff hopes also took a dent with an early crash with Jeffrey Earnhardt as McMurray was spun around on the entrance to the pitlane in stage one.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 3h47m52.s 188
2 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 0.210s 188
3 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 0.249s 188
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 0.291s 188
5 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 0.378s 188
6 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 0.381s 188
7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.408s 188
8 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.434s 188
9 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 1.857s 188
10 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 2.052s 188
11 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 2.077s 188
12 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet s 188
13 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap 187
14 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1 Lap 187
15 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Accident 184
16 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Accident 182
17 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Accident 182
18 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford Accident 177
19 Brendan Gaughan Beard Motorsports Chevrolet Accident 177
20 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 176
21 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 175
22 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Accident 172
23 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota Accident 171
24 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Parked 171
25 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 171
26 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford Accident 171
27 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Accident 171
28 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford Accident 171
29 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Accident 171
30 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet Accident 171
31 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford Parked 171
32 Joey Gase BK Racing Toyota Accident 164
33 D.J. Kennington Premium Motorsports Toyota Accident 164
34 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet Accident 155
35 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Accident 155
36 Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing Toyota Accident 26
37 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Accident 25
38 Jeffrey Earnhardt Circle Sport / TMG Chevrolet Accident 25
39 Mark Thompson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet Accident 25
40 Justin Marks Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet Accident 16

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 3120
2 Brad Keselowski 3101
3 Kyle Larson 3096
4 Kevin Harvick 3089
5 Denny Hamlin 3088
6 Chase Elliott 3087
7 Ryan Blaney 3076
8 Jimmie Johnson 3074
9 Kyle Busch 3067
10 Matt Kenseth 3066
11 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3052
12 Jamie McMurray 3045


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