Talladega, AL – Brad Keselowski put Dodge into victory lane at Talladega Superspeedway for the first time in 36 years after winning Sunday's Aaron's 499 in thrilling fashion.
Keselowski, the driver of the No. 2 Dodge for Penske Racing, got pushing help from Kyle Busch on the second-to-last lap. Keselowski and Busch ran to the outside of then-leader Matt Kenseth, who was getting drafting help from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Greg Biffle.
After passing Kenseth and Biffle, Busch and Keselowski were hooked up in a two-car tandem during the final lap around the 2.66-mile superspeedway, but Keselowski pulled away from Busch in turn three.
"I had this whole plan that if I ever got into that situation where I was leading," Keselowski said. "I thought about it and thought about it and dreamed about what to do. Sure enough, going into [turn] three, it was Kyle and me. I knew the move that I wanted to pull, and it worked."
Keselowski crossed the finish line 0.3 seconds ahead of Busch for his second win of the season and the sixth of his Sprint Cup Series career. It was also the second victory for Keselowski at Talladega. His first win in the series came in the spring 2009 race here.
"I didn't think we connected soon enough, and they [Kenseth and Biffle] got away from us," Busch said. "When [Keselowski] and I did get connected, we drove by them, and then it was it was a race between him and me. Somehow, getting into turn three, I just got disconnected from him, and the race was over. It was all his."
During the closing laps, Keselowski had an encounter with Busch's elder brother, Kurt, who was Keselowski's teammate at Penske last year. Keselowski tapped Kurt Busch from behind and spun him around on the apron at the start/finish line.
"I went hard with Kurt a little bit earlier there and got with him, so I want to say sorry to Kurt," Keselowski noted. "He's been a great friend and a great teammate when I worked with him. That was the last thing I wanted to see happen."
Kurt Busch, who is behind the wheel of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing this season, finished 20th.
The last time a Dodge driver won at Talladega occurred in August 1976, with Dave Marcis taking the checkered flag.
It was also the first Cup win at Talladega for team owner Roger Penske.
Kenseth, who won the Daytona 500 in February, finished third after leading a race-high 73 laps. He has yet to win in 25 Sprint Cup races at Talladega.
"I think we had the winning car, really just didn't have the winning driver," Kenseth said. "With me not paying attention, keeping us hooked up, just cost us a shot at the win, cost Greg a shot at the win. Just didn't do a very good job of managing where he was on that last restart."
Kasey Kahne and Biffle, the current points leader, rounded out the top-five.
Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton finished sixth through 10th.
The race ran relatively incident free until the final 50 laps when two big wrecks occurred, including the last one which set up a green-white-checkered finish.
A nine-car crash took place on lap 144 when Dave Blaney and Aric Almirola bumped into each other. Jeff Gordon, the pole sitter, was among those caught up in the wreck. Gordon wound up finishing 33rd. His season woes continued, as he dropped from 17th to 23rd in points.
"Man, this is just one of the most bizarre years this team has ever gone through," Gordon said. "It's almost comical at this point. That was not fun, and I don't like hitting the wall."
Another nine-car pileup occurred three laps away from the scheduled 188-lap distance. Denny Hamlin and A.J. Allmendinger tried to move to the inside of the track just after a restart, but Allmendinger bumped into Paul Menard and spun him around.
Gordon's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, who won at Talladega one year ago, suffered engine failure in the early going and ended up with a 35th-place finish.
"We had a problem and lost the oil pressure there," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, the 39 [Ryan Newman] is sitting here with a similar issue. It's a bummer. We had such a great race car."
Newman's car overheated on lap 43.
Biffle now holds a seven-point advantage over Kenseth, while Earnhardt Jr. is nine points out of the lead.