CUP: Keselowski Claims First Stage Of GEICO 500 At Talladega

Jacob Seelman Cup 0 Comments

Brad Keselowski leads Ryan Blaney during Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Just as he has in recent years at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski drove to the front of the field and stayed there, winning the opening stage of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski took the point from polesitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the first time on lap 14 and then rallied back after picking up some trash on his grill, passing Kyle Busch and leading the final 22 circuits of the 55-lap run.

“We always want to be leading,” Keselowski said of his strategy. “The debris is the same for everyone. You’d like to drive out of the (rear-view) mirror, so you can keep track of what the pack is doing, but you can’t really because the debris is so bad it’s like dodging a minefield. It’s definitely a balancing act.”

“Talladega, when it gets hot … gets these cars really sliding around, even when you’re in the lead,” the 2012 Cup champion added. “Handling and debris will definitely be factors for the rest of the afternoon.”

The stage win was Keselowski’s second in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series action this year.

Stenhouse rallied from 18th to grab the runner-up spot at the end of the stage, having been shuffled out of the lead group after picking up trash on his own grill and battling rising water and oil temperatures.

The Toyotas of Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were third and fourth, respectively, followed by former Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne in fifth.

Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Danica Patrick, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones completed the top 10.

The only incident in Stage 1 came on lap 17, when Kyle Larson smacked the wall after losing a right front tire. He was able to circle back around to pit road, where his team made repairs, and continued on.

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.

Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: editor@racechaseronline.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

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