TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brad Keselowski refused to be knocked down — not by Matt Kenseth, who jumped him from behind after a disastrous race at Charlotte last weekend, and not by garage-wide condemnation over his post-race meltdown.
He kept his head up and arrived at Talladega Superspeedway determined to shake off a bad week that earned him a $50,000 fine from NASCAR and moved him to the edge of elimination in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He needed a win to keep his title hopes alive, and he delivered.
“I know there’s probably some people out there that aren’t really happy I won,” Keselowski said. “I can understand that. But I’m a man like anyone else, and not real proud of last week. But I’m real proud of today.”
Keselowski finished 16th in the Bank Of America 500 on a clearly frustrating night in Charlotte. On the cool-down lap, Keselowski rammed Denny Hamlin, then hit Kenseth and Tony Stewart. In the garage moments later, Kenseth charged Keselowski, sparking a wild melee.
Kenseth finished as the runner-up at Talladega, followed by Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill and Ryan Newman.
Jimmie Johnson was eliminated from championship contention in the race. Johnson led nearly half the laps, but couldn’t pull off the same feat Keselowski did. Johnson’s teammate, Dale Earnhardt. Jr., was also eliminated.