In his 300th career start, Brad Keselowski won his fifth Talladega race and automatically advances to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion recorded the fourth restrictor-plate race win of the season, marking the first time in NASCAR history for Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines to sweep four restrictor-plate races in one season.
“It is a special place to get to race and a special place when you win here,” commented Keselowski in victory lane. “It was really a collaborative effort with the team and getting a real fast car and making the right moves as a driver and a lot of help from up above with staying out of those wrecks. It really takes all three and we had them all today.”
“I remember being on pit road with my dad when we won with DJ (Dale Jarrett) in 2005 here,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was a day just like today. It is really special. It is special to be able to compete in NASCAR. It is such a family sport and to be able to spend all that time with my dad and now have my family involved and be able to compete at a high level and win races like this with Team Penske and Brad Keselowski is something special. I want to thank the France family and everyone for allowing us to compete. And all the fans here today. What an incredible race track.”
The Ford teams ran strong all day with the power of the Ford FR9 engine under the hood. They were on a mission from the start of the race, with Keselowski collecting the first stage win and Blaney collecting the second stage win in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The Ford Fusions topped the field by leading 114 of 188 laps, while six different Ford’s led throughout the race; Joey Logano (59), Ryan Blaney (27), Matt DiBenedetto (12), Keselowski (7), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6) and Kurt Busch (3).
After 30 lead changes, 11 cautions and three red flags, it came down to a sprint to the finish. There were 14 cars left on the lead lap, as they took the white flag for the final lap. Keselowski was able to take the lead exiting the tri-oval for the last time, with a big push and block from teammate Logano, Keselowski was able to leverage the Roush Yates' horsepower one final time to take the black-and-white checkered flag.
Four Ford drivers from three different teams finished in the top-five; P1 Keselowski (Team Penske), P3 Trevor Bayne (Roush Fenway Racing), P4 Joey Logano (Team Penske) and P5 Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports).