Brad Keselowski may have 'let one slip away' at Talladega

Brad Keselowski watched Bubba Wallace use a block to protect his lead and had a way to get around him but thought he had more time.

Brad Keselowski may have 'let one slip away' at Talladega

Instead, a four-car wreck on Lap 117 of the scheduled 188 laps of Monday’s rain-delayed race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway brought out a caution, locking Keselowski into second place.

Soon after the caution was displayed, the rain returned, and NASCAR halted the race. With not enough time to dry the track before darkness, the race was declared official since it had already passed the halftime point.

That left Bubba Wallace with his first career Cup Series win and Keselowski as runner-up and lamenting his decision to delay an attempt to around Wallace for the lead.

“Gosh, if I would have known it was going to rain right then, I had a move I could have made and I was like, ‘No we’ve got five laps in the stage left, I don’t want to burn that move yet,’ ” Keselowski said. “Then it rains and I kind of feel like I let one slip away here.

“We were really close to making a move on Bubba to win the stage and the race, but I didn’t need that rain. I needed another two or three laps.”

Read Also:

Keselowski had run well throughout the shortened race. He led 13 laps – second-most in the race to Kevin Harvick’s 16 – and continually put himself in position to contend for the lead.

Wallace had deftly blocked a Keselowski advance right before the final caution came out.

“You never count out the Penske cars,” Wallace said. “We talk about them in our Monday and Tuesday meetings. Those guys make it work and there’s a reason why they win the races.

“Knowing we had to defend them. Freddie (Kraft, Wallace’s spotter) did a hell of a job on top of the roof. So proud of him. We just made the right moves and it worked out.”

Keselowski’s second-place finish may have stung but it still left him in a strong position heading into the final race of the second round of the playoffs next Sunday on the Charlotte Roval.

Keselowski is currently ranked fourth out of 12 drivers in the standings and 20 points above the cutoff line. The bottom four in the standings without a win will be eliminated from further playoff contention following the race at the Roval.

“All in all, it’s still a great day,” he said. “We scored a lot of stage points, which is really positive and put ourselves in a good position next week to go to the Roval.

“We put ourselves in position to not have to go to the Roval and have a ‘hero’ day. We can have just a solid day.”

Asked his initial thoughts on heading to the Roval next week – the only road course in the Cup playoffs – Keselowski said: “A tough race for us. Road courses have been really tough, but thankfully, we don’t have to go there and win.”

shares
comments

Related video

Hamlin: Wallace's victory "more special" than my own

Previous article

Hamlin: Wallace's victory "more special" than my own

Next article

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021