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Keselowski claims 6th win at Talladega with overtime pass

Brad Keselowski tied Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon with six wins each at Talladega.
Credit: AP
Brad Keselowski (2) celebrates after winning the Geico 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, April 25, 2021, in Talladega, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

TALLADEGA, Ala. โ€” Brad Keselowski did it exactly right this time and finally got that last-lap victory, winning in overtime Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski is the ninth driver to win through 10 NASCAR Cup races this season and avenged the embarrassing Team Penske gaffe in the season-opening Daytona 500 when he and teammate Joey Logano triggered a last-lap crash as Keselowski tried to pass Logano for the victory.

Keselowski led just one lap, the last one, in a race that featured 35 lead changes among 27 drivers.

โ€œThe whole race I had a couple opportunities to take the lead, but I just kept thinking, โ€˜Man, keep your car in one piece,โ€™โ€ Keselowski said.

Logano was involved in an airborne wreck and called on NASCAR to change the dangerous racing conditions at Daytona and Talladega.

โ€œOn one hand, I am mad about being in the crash and on the other, I am happy to be alive,โ€ Logano said. โ€œOn another hand, I am wondering when we are going to stop because this is dangerous doing what we are doing. I got a roll bar in my head. That is not OK. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through. I just donโ€™t feel like that is acceptable.โ€

Newman escaped serious injury racing for the win on the final lap of the 2020 Daytona 500.

The victory, Keselowskiโ€™s sixth at Talladega, came after team owner Roger Penske pulled the three Team Penske drivers and affiliate Matt DiBenedetto onto a call this week to discuss his expectations on how they should race Sunday. Penske refused to accept another Daytona disaster when Logano or Keselowski should have won the race but instead of working together the two triggered a fiery crash that also collected a third Penske car.

All three Penske drivers have now claimed spots in the 16-driver playoff field.

William Byron was second, Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell third and Kevin Harvick a season-high fourth.

DiBenedetto, who led 28 laps, finished fifth but gave away the win with a late lane change that allowed to Keselowski to surge to the front.

Ford drivers took four of the top five spots.

Kaz Grala finished a career-best sixth and was followed by Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon in a trio of Chevrolets.

Ford drivers took spots nine through 13 and the highest finishing Toyota driver was Christopher Bell in 17th.

Keselowski tied Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon with six wins each at Talladega.

โ€œI would have never dreamed Iโ€™d tie Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. here,โ€ he said. โ€œThatโ€™s something. Those guys are really legends.โ€