Talladega SuperSpeedway

Brad Keselowski avoids wreckers, gets checkers

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500

Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton

Brad Keselowski was one of five drivers that were not involved in any wreck during Sunday afternoon’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski escaped a day that was full of multi-car wrecks, which included two drivers getting airborne and flipping multiple times.

“This [track] is one where it’s in your face challenging to if you make a mistake, it’s going to be a really, really big wreck” Keselowski said

Keselowski protected his position throughout the day, but also received help from Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray for his fourth win at Talladega

“Jamie McMurray behind me gave me a great push, and then Kyle Busch gave me a push that was big to clear the 41 (Kurt Busch), and without those two I couldn’t have made it to the front. So ‘Thank you’ to them.”

Keselowski may have been the only one with some encouraging words for the racing that took place. Many drivers, including second place finisher Kyle Busch, were less enthused about restrictor-plate racing.

“These cars, you try to get a little bit aggressive, start bumping people and pushing people, they’re real easy to get out of control,” Busch said. “I really don’t know why we’re bumping and pushing and everything else, because these cars, they go slower when you push. Makes a lot of sense. That’s how stupid we are.”

Chris Buescher and Matt Kenseth received the worst end of damage throughout the day that included 10 cautions. Their cars went airborne, in separate accidents, after contact with other vehicles.

“I saw it happening in front of us and checked up and the next thing I knew I was upside down,” said Buescher. “I am pretty sick and tired of speedway racing at this point. It has been a rough year for that. We felt we were decent this race. We were holding our own and waiting but here we are. It is unfortunate. I really hate it for the guys.”

Sunday’s race was chaotic, but nothing short of a typical day at Talladega. The advancements in NASCAR’s technology, again, allowed multiple drivers to walk away. Another being Stewart-Haas Racing’s Danica Patrick.

Patrick was a part of a 12-car pile-up on lap 181 and appeared to be shaken up after her No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet hit a SAFER barrier. She underwent X-rays on her chest after experiencing pain while breathing after the crash. The scans came back negative.

“We all raced to the halfway, then we all raced to the rain that was coming, then we all raced to the end,” she said. “It was like the whole race, you spent it racing like it was the end. There was no moments to relax at all.”

While the race may not have been relaxing, drivers did not second-guess taking the necessary measures in order to be a contender at the end.

“I have to put myself in a situation I don’t want to be in to get into a good situation,” Dillon, who finished third, said. “You have to put yourself in bad situations that you wouldn’t normally do to figure out how to get to the front.”

Keselowski, who described restrictor-plate racing as being a daredevil-type track shared a similar perspective.

“You’re going to make a move inches from another drive, cut them off, push them, you’re going to drive sideways, hang it all out there knowing something bad can really happen,” Keselowski said. “I think it’s special under the circumstances and under that level of adversity. It’s a challenge I’ve always embraced.”

Elliott Sadler wins in Xfinity overtime at Talladega

NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300

Photo Credit:Jared C. Tilton

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Elliott Sadler prevailed in overtime at Talladega Superspeedway for his first victory of the 2016 season.

Sadler was declared the winner of the Sparks Energy 300 after a last lap wreck froze the field and NASCAR reviewed the footage to determine a leader from the time the caution came out.

“People don’t know how hard it is to win these races. It’s very emotional,” Sadler said while choking back tears. “It’s a great birthday gift to me. Man, we needed this win.”

Joey Logano was leading the final lap of the Xfinity race when Elliott Sadler began challenging him for the lead. Logano blocked high to defend his position, but was spun by Sadler when he returned low to block. Logano smacked the wall and came to a stop near the start/finish line.

“I had my plan made up,” Sadler said “I tried to get to the outside of Joey and he made a great block.”

Three drivers waited inside their cars for official results of a winner. Brennan Poole and JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier were all unsure if they were leading at the time that the yellow flag was thrown.

Brennan Poole crossed the finish line first, however NASCAR officials declared Sadler the official winner because he was the leader at the time of the caution.

“Just glad that they were able to take the time to get it right, and happy they are able to get the trophy to the rightful winner,” Poole said. “I just wish it was us. I thought we had it, just a little shy there.”

Allgaier was hit by Poole and was unclear whether he was leading at the time the caution was thrown. “I didn’t want to get out of my car because that seems like giving up,” Allgaier said. “The tape is the tape. It’s tough to lose one when it’s that close. They got it right.”

Allgaier and Poole finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Sadler ended an almost two year drought and secured his place in the Chase for the championship. Just two drivers have secured their spot in the first year of the Xfinity Chase, seven of the first nine races have been won by Sprint Cup regulars.