Keselowski Wins His Way Into Elimination Round Of Chase

October 20, 2014


Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, October 19


The No. 2 Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford Fusion
Driver:  Brad Keselowski

Starting Position: 5
Finish Position: 1
Driver's Points Position: 10

THE RACE REVIEW               

· Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford team qualified fifth for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Unfortunately, Keselowski had to start from the back of the field due to the team changing a failed alternator prior the race.

· Over the opening laps of the race, the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion drove in the 38th position as the field settled into a large two-lane group.

· By lap 20, Keselowski – with help from teammate Joey Logano – had navigated his way through the field to break into the top five for the first time of the day.

· At lap 26, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion claimed the race lead for what would be the first of five times during the scheduled 500-mile event.

· Per the norm with restrictor plate racing, the lead pack of cars constantly shuffled though, but the Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford maintained a persistent presence in the top 10 through the first stint.

· With the pressure of having to produce a top finish in order to advance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, a pivotal moment occurred at lap 60. The No. 1 car of Jamie McMurray blew a left rear tire and spun into the No. 2 Ford on the right side of the car. The impact resulted in moderate damage to the Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford.

· The team pitted twice under the ensuing caution period to effect repairs to the wounded machine.

· The team was able to repair the car and keep Keselowski on the lead lap, though once again he was at the back of the field – scored 38th when the green flag restarted the action at lap 65.

· By lap 100, Keselowski had made his way back to the top five and at lap 138 he once again took the lead.

· The racing was two- and three-wide at Talladega for most of the afternoon and subsequently there wound up being 38 lead changes among 19 drivers.

· The No. 2 Redd’s Wicked Ale Ford pitted for the last time at lap 173 while running in ninth position. The team appeared to be poised to benefit from the stop, when a caution flag was displayed on the out lap and that ultimately resulted in the No. 2 losing several positions.

· With just 12 laps remaining in the scheduled race distance. Keselowski restarted in 21st place. By lap 183 he had advanced to second place in the running order with a fast Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford.

· Two late-race cautions set up a green-white-checkered flag finish with Keselowski at the front of the field. With help of teammate Joey Logano, Keselowski was able to hold off the pack and win the race.

· The clutch performance allowed Keselowski and the No. 2 Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford team to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase. Sunday’s remarkable effort marked Keselowski’s sixth victory of the 2014 NSCS season as well as his 16th career victory and his third career win at Talladega.




“We knew we had to win obviously coming into this day. When the weekend started I thought we had the opportunity to do that. We had very, very fast cars at Daytona and Talladega here the past three restrictor plate races and didn’t really get any of the results we thought we were capable of.  I restarted second in the 500 on the last restart and whiffed on winning the Daytona 500.  I still have some nightmares about that one and then Talladega I just kind of fell into every bit of chaos possible in the spring, and then the Daytona race in July I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the back of my mind, those three races that we had so much speed at and no results to show for it made me feel like we were due. I told Roger (Penske) and Ford and guys like (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and my spotter Joey Meier that I felt we were gonna win today because of that. I felt like those mistakes, whether it was Daytona on the last restart, the bad luck we faced, it couldn’t continue to go that way and sure enough it didn’t. We certainly didn’t just get handed this race today. We had the incident early in the race where I think the 1 car blew a tire out. He half-spun and kind of got in our door and tore that up. It was a pretty hard hit. I thought the car was torn up pretty good, but I still haven’t seen it but Paul says it was good.  We maybe lost just a touch of speed, but not enough to overcome the will to win that we had today. From there it was about finding the track position, making the right moves, finding the right lanes and I thought we were in good shape having run top five, top 10 most of the race. Sure enough, on that green flag pit cycle the yellow came out and trapped us behind a lot of cars we were gonna be in front of and we ended up restarting 16th or something like that with 10 to go. That felt like a death sentence in itself, but we kept our composure. I worked really well with my teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney. We made kind of the perfect move together to go from 16th to second in three or four laps. That put us in position to really capitalize on the last two yellows. From there we did just that, so we positioned ourselves well with great teamwork, executed the restarts kind of off the lessons learned from Daytona and from there it was all about that last lap and choosing the lanes wide to be able to block the cars that had runs and all that came together perfectly. I kind of feel like Hannibal here – I love when a plan comes together. Everything just felt right today and we’re here as winners because of that.”