A spin on the final lap robbed Brad Keselowski of a potential top-10 finish in the YellaWood 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. The incident dropped Keselowski to an 18th-place in the final rundown. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang is now third in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 47 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Keselowski started seventh and was running inside the top-10 before he was shuffled out of line just before the competition caution on lap 25. He pitted for four tires during the yellow and restarted 19th when the race went green on lap 30. From there he worked the draft and dodged an accident in the final laps of Stage 1 to claim a fourth-place finish when the segment concluded on lap 60. Keselowski pitted for four tires and fuel during the stage caution and restarted second on lap 65.
In Stage 2, Keselowski appeared to avoid disaster when he spun on lap 109 as part of a 10-car accident that forced the race to be halted for track cleanup. The Discount Tire team made repairs during the caution period and Keselowski bounced back to grab a second-place finish when stage ended on lap 120. He pitted during the stage caution for fuel and restarted second when the race went green on lap 125.
The third and final stage was a wild affair, even by Talladega standards. There were four cautions (two for multiple car accidents) and the finish of the race was pushed into NASCAR Overtime three times. Keselowski was third when the race went green on lap 187 but was forced to pit for fuel under caution on lap 189. He restarted 13th on lap 192 and was up to 10th at the time of the final caution waved on lap 194. Bubba Wallace was hit from behind and bounced off right-side of the No. 2 Mustang in Turn 4 which triggered a nine-car pileup. Once again, the Discount Tire team made repairs and Keselowski restarted 18th on lap 198. He was racing for 10th on the final lap when he and Tyler Reddick made contact in Turn 4. Keselowski spun but managed to cross the finish line to collect an 18th-place finish.
“With this rules package everybody is so on top of each other,” said Keselowski. “Runs are just so fast; everybody wants to block, and the run is too fast to block and that causes a lot of wrecks. The Discount Tire team made it through somewhat okay. We finished 18th and scored a lot of stage points and we have a decent points cushion going into the Roval. That’s going to be a madhouse because there’s a lot of cars next week that are going to need a big race.”