NNS: Keselowski Wins A Wild One

Brad Keselowski pushed past leader Kevin Harvick, who was seeking to complete what would have been a remarkable daily double, to win Sunday’s Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.


Harvick won the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup race in spectacular fashion earlier in the afternoon and had a dominant car in the Nationwide race that followed. He led the white-flag lap, but Keselowski roared in front of him on the outside on the final lap and was in first when a vicious crash developed behind the leaders, freezing the field and giving Keselowski the victory.

The race ended with a green-white-checkered finish.

“Green-white checkereds at Talladega are crazy,” Keselowski said. “This was just amazing.”

Oddly enough, Keselowski almost missed the race. He had a high carbon monoxide level after the Sprint Cup race, and medical officials at the track refused to let him in the car for the Nationwide event until that normalized. He was on oxygen for about half an hour and was approved to race a few minutes before the event’s start.

Team owner Roger Penske had telephoned Sam Hornish Jr., who had left the track after the Sprint Cup race, to return to sub for Keselowski if he wasn’t approved to race.

“When they told me I wasn’t going to get to race at all, the care center wasn’t a pretty place to be,” Keselowski said. “They put me on oxygen. If the race had started five minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have been in it.”

Harvick perhaps had the race’s strongest car, but he fell victim to the chaos of the finish.

“I’m not going to complain about getting a first and a third here and getting out of here with two cars rolling,” Harvick said. “I got up in front of the 88 [Jamie McMurray] and blocked the top-line momentum, but they got around me.”

The final caution flew on the final lap when McMurray, drafting behind Harvick, lost control and slid, starting a huge chain-reaction crash behind him.

Cars scattered across the track and into each other, spraying parts and fluids over the racing surface. Dennis Setzer caught the worst of the crash as his car was hit and knocked onto the top of the SAFER barrier and into the catch fence as it burst into flames.

The catch fence was damaged by the crash, but it kept Setzer’s car from sailing out of the speedway.

The green-white-checkered finish was set up by a seven-car crash with four laps to go. It began as the cars of Steve Arpin and Colin Braun made contact in the middle of a pack of traffic.

Harvick and McMurray were one-two at the green flag, but Keselowski sprinted forward through the middle and then took the high lane, pushing ahead of Harvick seconds before the crash froze the field.

The win was the first for Penske Racing crew chief Paul Wolfe.


Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.

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