Brad Keselowski was able to stay out of trouble all day, and it paid off, as he took home the win in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, his second win of the 2016 season.
Hendrick Motorsports dominates early
Chase Elliott led the field to the green flag with Austin Dillon in second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third. Dillon quickly fell back into the field, and was replaced in the top three by Jimmie Johnson. It was an early battle between Elliott and Matt Kenseth, with each of them taking turns leading.
Trouble on pit road
The field came into the pits on Lap 39, but Danica Patrick and Paul Menard did not make their stops before they crashed into each other while entering pit road. They were both ok, and the caution flag did not fly for the incident.
They did finally throw the caution on Lap 50 when Earnhardt Jr. lost control of his car, and ended up collecting Kasey Kahne and Matt Dibendetto. That gave Tony Stewart the free pass, allowing him to get back on the lead lap, but he did not keep it, as when he got into the pits, he got out of the car, and Ty Dillon got into the car to finish the race.
There was more action when the rest of the field made pit stops, as once again a pair of cars, this time Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin wrecked on pit road. Again, they were both ok, and suffered very minimal damage.
The field went back to green on Lap 58, but did not stay for very long, as about a lap later, Michael Waltrip went onto the apron to avoid wrecking, then when he came back onto the track, he spun out, collecting some other cars to bring out the second caution of the race.
It was a short caution, as the green flag got back on Lap 62, with Kenseth leading the field. He was in the lead when on Lap 92 the big one hit the field, ending with Chris Buescher flipping three times before coming to rest. Johnson also was involved, as he went on a wild spin into the infield. All drivers were ok, and after pit stops, Kevin Harvick led the field back to green on Lap 103.
Edwards brings out the caution with spin
Once more, it was a short green flag run, as just six laps later, on Lap 109, Carl Edwards cut a tire, sending him into the outside wall. He collected Earnhardt Jr., who wasn’t on the lead lap, forcing both of them out of the race, and bringing out another caution.
Trevor Bayne, who last won the 2011 Daytona 500, led the field back to green on Lap 115, but was quickly overtaken by Harvick. Elliott then passed Harvick for the lead, and had that lead when the fifth caution of the race came out with 60 laps to go when Kahne blew a tire and spun into the grass.
During this round of pit stops, again Hamlin had issues on pit road, as he made contact with another car as he was entering his pit stall. He was able to get his car spun back around, and made his stop without any other issues.
The field returned to green, and remained there for a little while, until on Lap 152 when David Ragan spun out, bringing out the sixth caution of the race, and allowing the team to make their final pit stops of the day. This time, there was no issues on pit road, as everybody got on and off without running into each other.
Once the green flag was back, the yellow was out just as quick, as on Lap 160 there was a wreck that took out almost half of the field, including A. Dillon, Johnson, and others.
Keselowski takes the lead under caution
Keselowski led the field back to green with 22 laps to go, and rain closing in. He quickly gave up the lead to Joey Logano, who pulled away from the rest of the field for a bit.
After just two laps of green flag racing, the caution flag once again came out, this time for some debris in turn two. That set up a restart with under 20 to go, and Logano leading the race. It was a short caution, as just four laps later, the green flag was back in the air.
The caution returned with just seven laps to go when Danica Patrick and Matt Kenseth got together and both went hard into the inside wall, with Kenseth hitting the wall on his roof.
The restart came with three laps to go, and Keselowski quickly jumped out to the lead. He was able to withstand a massive rush from a multitude of other drivers on the last lap, and he took the checkered flag while there was a big wreck behind him. It was his second with of the season.
Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas Motor Speedway for a Saturday night race. VAVEL NASCAR will have full coverage on Twitter @NASCARonVAVEL.