Tha Sports Junkies 101

Brad Keselowski Wins the Alabama 500



Race 5 of the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs was an entertaining show, to say the least. The Cup Series headed to Talladega Superspeedway for the Alabama 500. In the end, Brad Keselowski survived a wild race to win in his 300th start.

The Alabama 500 was run on October 15. This date was declared Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day across Alabama, as Jr. made his final start at Talladega. He was looking for his 7th win in Alabama, as he started the day from the pole. In addition, the last Alabama 500 to be run on October 15 was in 2000, which was the final career victory for Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Early Race Highlights

As Jr. led the field to green, he showed his might early on. Troubles on green flag pit stops affected some Playoff drivers early on. Jamie McMurray got turned while trying to slow down, ending his day. Jimmie Johnson also had some damage but was able to continue.

Stage 1 ended up going to Brad Keselowski, as he held off his teammate Joey Logano on a 1 lap shootout to end the stage. Pit strategy was a tactic many teams used early on, as the Ford drivers all pitted together early in Stage 1.

The Stage 2 win went to Ryan Blaney. While the first 2 stages were relatively calm, the closing laps got action-packed. Fast-forwarding to lap 172, 6 Playoff drivers were involved in a wreck in turn 3 that collected 17 cars in total. The wreck was started by Martin Truex Jr. making contact with David Ragan. ‘The Big One’ would completely alter the rest of the day, turning the race into a battle of attrition. As a result, this wreck brought out a brief red flag.

With roughly half the field out of contention, the intensity was ramped up. 5 laps after the previous wreck, carnage struck again. This incident in turn 3 took out Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Brendan Gaughan. Another red flag period ensued for clean up of the wreckage.

With very few drivers left on track, racing resumed with 7 laps remaining. Daniel Suarez maneuvered his way to the front of the pack. However, a bold 3 wide move by Chase Elliott ended up wrecking both of them as well as Kyle Larson.

Shockingly, the 88 Chevrolet of Dale Jr. managed to avoid all these wrecks, as he was running 3rd with 5 laps remaining.

Late Race Drama

On the final restart, Ryan Newman was pushed to the lead by Denny Hamlin. As a result, they were both pulling away, with 2 laps left. However, Brad Keselowski received a major push from his teammate Logano. Hence, it gave Brad enough momentum to clear Newman on the last lap. Brad barely held on to win the race. Fan favorite Dale Jr. brought home a 7th place finish in his last Talladega race.

This win marked the 5th for Brad at Talladega, as well as his 3rd of 2017. In addition, a Ford has now won the last 7 superspeedway races.

In conclusion, many Playoff drivers are heading to the Kansas elimination race in dire situations. The 4 drivers currently outside of the Round of 8 are Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Jamie McMurray. All 4 of these drivers had troubles in Talladega, as well as 10 of the 12 Playoff drivers. The Kansas elimination race is sure to be stress-filled for many Playoff drivers, so be sure to catch in next Sunday on NBCSN.