Talladega, AL -- Brad Keselowski, No. 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Resort Impala SS, scored his career-first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory in a wild finish of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS). Keselowski led just one...
Talladega, AL -- Brad Keselowski, No. 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Resort Impala SS, scored his career-first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory in a wild finish of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS).
Keselowski led just one time for one lap as he hooked up in a two-car draft from the middle of the field on the final lap to score the win. It was the just the fifth NSCS start and first at TSS for the 25-year old Rochester Hills, Michigan native.
Team Chevy drivers finished one-two-three to maintain lead in Manufacturers' Cup standings for Chevrolet.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, finished second behind the Keselowski, the full-time driver for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He led seven times during the 188-lap/500.3It was his 11th top-10 finish in 19 races at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2009. Earnhardt moved to 15th in the point standings.
Despite being involved in a two-car accident coming to the start-finish line for the checkered flag, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Prelude to the Dream/U.S. Army Impala SS, finished third. He led twice for a total of 10 laps and moved to 13th in the standings with his first top-five and third top-10 in the nine races run to-date.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Impala SS, finished 10th, coming from three-laps down to the leaders after alternator problems forced repairs on pit road. Burton moved to ninth in the standings.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Throwback Challenger Impala SS, dropped to second in the standings after finishing 37th as the result of being caught up in a multi-car accident on lap seven today.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, now rides third in points after a multi-car wreck on the 180th lap relegating him to the 30th finishing position.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Impala SS, finished 23rd today to remain fourth in the points with nine races in the 2009 record books. Stewart suffered engine problems late in the race.
Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and Scott Speed (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.
The NSCS moves on to Richmond International Raceway to run under the lights on May 2, 2009.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS -- Involved in multi-car accident, Finished 30th:
HOW DO YOU SUM-UP THAT INCIDENT? "It's tough to race here. I'm mean it's just disappointing how many hours go into these cars and then we come out here and tear them up like we do. We were smart all day long and I think the field in general did a pretty good job of using their heads and then there at the end some guys were beat and were trying to cram their way back in the line and not lose the draft. In the closing laps it just caused a wreck. It's too bad that it happened."
CONSIDERING THE PACKAGE YOU HAVE TO RUN HERE, IS IT INEVITABLE? "NASCAR is trying to do all that they can to put on a great show and to make it safe here and as long as we run restrictor plates, they're going to have these big packs and these big wrecks. There's no way to get around it. The track is so big and there is so much banking and also the fact that the radius of the corner isn't sharp at all. You can run wide open with ease and that's what puts us in these big packs that creates these issues."
PRIOR TO THE INCIDENT, DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD SOMETHING THAT MAYBE COULD PLAY AT THE END? "I did. It was really a matter of the momentum and when your group of cars surged to the front. I think there were probably 30 cars that could have won that race. It's just the surge of when it's your turn to be up front and then your group will fall back and make another run and come back up through there again."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE RACING? IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE REALLY MOVING AROUND A LOT "There is a lot of moving to try to protect what you have and block other cars and the runs that they may have. You can't do anything on your own and it really takes somebody behind you. So the entire race, you're looking in the mirror trying to block any run or any momentum from any lane and that's why the cars are moving so much."
WHAT HAPPENED FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT? "I just saw a bunch of guys trying to fight back into line that didn't have a spot to get in line. When they did, they came across another car's nose and tore up a bunch of cars. It's unfortunate to go that long and get to the end of the race and waste a day there tore up. But I think we put on a great show for the fans. I just wish we could have this Kobalt Tools Impala out there right now."
"I'm just disappointed. It just looked to me like some guys were beat and didn't have the position and tried to force their way into the outside and went across somebody's nose that started that wreck. It's just too bad. It was an awesome looking Kobalt Tools Impala tore up."
THAT'S TALLADEGA, HOW TOUGH WAS IT GOING THROUGH THAT CRASH? "Man it sucks racing here. You've got a really good race car and the guys worked hard to get this thing in order and very fast and then get that close to the end and it gets tore up so disappointed. It just looked to me like some guys didn't have the position and were trying to force their way in from the outside and went across somebody's nose and started that wreck from my position. It's too bad. It was an awesome day before we got tore up."
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 09 MICCOSUKEE INDIAN GAMING & RESORT IMPALA SS - Winner
AS YOU PULLED INTO VICTORY LANE I SAW YOUR HANDS WERE SHAKING, CAN YOU BELIEVE YOU JUST WON A SPRINT CUP RACE AND YOU DID SO AT THE BIGGEST TRACK OF ALL? "Wow, pinch me. I don't know, am I awake? How about this team? How about all them fans out there, man thanks for coming. This is the best show on earth. I've got to apologize to Carl (Edwards) for wrecking him at the end. The rule is you can't go below the yellow line and he blocked and I wasn't going below it. I don't want to wreck a guy but you're forced in that situation. There was nothing else I could do. We had a lot of fun today. Man was that fun. I hope the fans did too because this is NASCAR racing and this is cool."
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THAT LAST LAP AND THE MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU JUST WON A RACE AS YOU CROSSED THAT START-FINISH LINE? "Well I kind of felt bad because I was watching Carl (Edwards) in my mirror wreck hard and I hope he's okay. I feel bad about that but man that's the rule. He knows the rule as well as anyone else and he put himself in that spot. I don't want to wreck a guy but he put himself there. I hope he's okay and I'm sorry for that.
"What a great Chevrolet. How about that Chevy? Man did this thing have some smoke. I can't believe it."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/ NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 2nd
YOU HAD THE PERFECT SEAT TO WATCH YOUR PROTEGE SCORE HIS FIRST WIN, WALK US THROUGH WHAT YOU SAW FROM YOUR SEAT. "Well I had to deal with the No. 39 Ryan (Newman) to break away from the pack and kind of do what we didn't do yesterday in the Nationwide race. We had it going and thought there's no way. We were staying tied together and there's no way anybody could catch us and they were smart enough to move up which the higher lane had been easier and faster and winding the car out better all day. They were smart enough to run in the middle and here they come. I couldn't believe Brad (Keselowski) was pushing that No. 99. I would have guessed anybody else. He did an awesome job. I couldn't see what happened on the front straightaway.
"I was behind the No. 39 and I asked Tony Jr. (Eury, crew chief) what to do because I can't see what they are doing up there if they're wrecking and he said they're spinning up the track stay on the bottom. It was a pretty hard hit that Ryan had. I had a blast. The National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet was running good all day long. It run up front. I love these fans here. These fans here enjoy watching a race like that. It got a little boring sometimes in the middle but man it's just a long one. We all just try to stay around until the end. I can't thank my team enough and I'm so proud of Brad. He did a great job. Man he's got to be screaming happy. James Finch, as the car owner. It's just amazing. He's an awesome dude."
"I couldn't see anything. I was behind the No. 39 and I can't see through the race car. I was asking Tony, Jr. (Eury) and T. J. (spotter) cause I couldn't see so I was saying 'I can't tell what is going on in front of me, tell me what's happen'. He said 'Spinnin', just say in it.'
IS THIS A NEW FORM OF DRAFTING WE ARE NOW SEEING AT TALLADEGA: "We saw it last year and the year before that. It is great way. It is a great way to break away. It is what won the race right there. I have to congratulate Brad (Keselowski), James Finch, they did a great job winning that race. Amazing job for him. It has to be a great feeling for Brad. I have to thank my team. The National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet run good all day long. We were up front and had a shot to win. I thought we had them man and here comes Brad pushing the No. 99, I could not believe it. Good job by both those guys. Too bad it happened on the front straightaway. That was a little rough looking. But I was glad to get through get it."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS:
"We had an awesome car. I am proud of our guys for understanding the situation we were in. Not being in denial about it. Hoping it would go away and just addressing the problem. I have been doing this a long time and the worse thing you can do is think it is going to go away. Those guys did a nice job of addressing the problem and a good job changing it and I am proud of them for making that call."
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM: "Something with the alternator?"
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS: WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE?
"I don't know somebody lost their head as usual."
IT HAS TO BE FRUSTRATING: "Damn right. We had a great car. The guys built me an awesome car. So damn frustrating. You ride around all day long just waiting for the end. That is not even racing."
CASEY MEARS, NO., 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS:
"Our Jack Daniel's Chevy was good today. I had a great run going and was moving forward. It was that same run that the No. 09 got. The No. 09 hit me to bump draft but didn't quite hit me in the right place. It just got me all sideways and I started dropping back. We ran up with the lead pack most of the day, lead a couple of laps. It was a typical Talladega. You go from the front to the back, back to the front. I am proud of Gil (Martin, crew chief) and the guys. They brought a good car and we had the kind of run to show that."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T IMPALA SS:
"I owe this all to my BB&T team. They never quit working for two hours and got the No. 33 Chevy back out so we could be running at the finish. They took a totaled race car and fixed it enough so we can keep the DNF streak alive."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENMNZOIL IMPALA SS:
"It obviously wasn't the finish we wanted. We wanted to end this chapter on a high note, but you know something like this is a possibility whenever you run a restrictor-plate race. I couldn't be more proud of how the guys busted their tails to get us back out there. They had a lot of damage to fix, and we were back out in less than 50 laps. They really got it done."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TUMS DUAL ACTION IMPALA SS:
"We should have been pretty good at the end, but it is Talladega. We got some damage to the nose of our Tums Chevy and just didn't have what we needed at the end. We had a really good car and the guys worked really hard."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER CHEVROLET IMPALA SS (FINISHED 15TH -- HIS BEST RESULT OF SEASON):
"We suffered damage to the nose of the car on that first wreck (Lap 6) and it was a battle from that point on," said Smith. "We lost our aero package and the National Day of Prayer Chevrolet wouldn't suck up in the draft. The pit crew did an excellent job fixing the front-end as best as you could. But we just couldn't overcome the damage and produce the speed that you need at this track. We came into the race thinking we could contend for the win, but considering the problems we were faced with early it wasn't a bad result to finish 15th. We're a little down right now, but I guess it could have been worse since we were real close a couple of times of getting knocked out of the race."
JAY GUY, CREW CHIEF, NO. 78 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER CHEVROLET IMPALA SS:
"It certainly wasn't the result we wanted for the National Day of Prayer Chevy," said Guy. "With the damage we sustained early in the race you can't expect a whole lot -- just looking at the car it's pretty used up. It was a handful to drive and didn't suck up in the draft. Regan persevered and hung tough all day. I am really proud of everybody for sticking with it. The pit crew did an excellent job all day -- a solid team effort."
DAVID GILLILAND, NO. 71 TRG MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET IMPALA SS:
"We were really good, I was trying to ride and do what we had to do early. I am not sure what happened, some guys just over anxious early I guess and ran out of racing room. I was trying to put us in a position where we could avoid the wrecks, but we got caught up in it early. The TRG Motorsports guys did a great job this weekend putting together a fast car which proved to be really competitive. The car sucked up good. I could stay with the cars in front of me and push them and we were making our way to the front. It was just unfortunate to have an early ending to our day."
"We were all most clear of the incident. But almost doesn't really mean anything in this deal. It is a shame, everyone is disappointed, but that is the way things can go at these restrictor plate races."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 PRELUDE TO THE DREAM/ U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS:
"I don't know what to say. I mean, I was grateful that Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) pushed me like he did. Didn't expect the No. 09 and the No. 99 to get the run they did. I was wide open, I couldn't go any faster. Bottom line, we came up a little bit short. Just happy I was able to make it through it and we'll go on."
-credit: gm racing