Talladega may be a lonely road for Michigan native, Brad Keselowski (VIDEO)


Michigan native Brad Keselowski enters Sundays race at Talladega with one thing on his mind: winning. That’s because that is the only way Keselowski and his Penske Racing team are guaranteed to advance past a near disastrous round two of NASCARs newly implemented playoff system. The stakes have never been higher in NASCAR at a superspeedway and everyone is feeling the pressure.

Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Last weeks race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was proof.

Brad Keselowski found himself in the dead center of the storm that was the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night. The storm started brewing with about 70 laps to go. On that restart, Keselowski drifted up the track and hit Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Matt Kenseth. The result was Kenseth’s No. 20 JGR Toyota dropping from fourth to 18th.

On the races final restart, Kenseth’s JGR teammate, Denny Hamlin found himself tangling with Keselowski too. Following the race, while on the cool-down lap, Hamlin break-checked Keselowski in turn three. Keselowski attempted to spin Hamlin out, but failed.

As the cars headed down pit road, post race, Keselowski then rammed into Kenseth who was sitting idle with his seatbelts removed. During the altercation, Keselowski also slid into Tony Stewart’s car — Smoke decided that in return, he would place his car in reverse and ram Keselowski back.

Things didn’t end there however.

“I had my HANS off, my seatbelts off and everything and he clobbers me at like 50 (mph). With the accidents we’ve had around here, the race is over, you come back to pit road, if he wants to come up and talk about it like a man, go do that. To wreck somebody on the race track and come down pit road with other cars and people standing around and my seatbelts off and drive in the side of me is inexcusable. There’s no excuse for that. He’s a champion, he’s supposed to know better than that.” – Kenseth during a post race interview

A usually mild-mannered Matt Kenseth was outraged, as was his teammate Denny Hamlin. Hamlin followed Keselowski through the garage area with his car. The two would eventually exit their cars, but were separated before things could get too dicey. As Keselowski attempted to head for his hauler he was pounced on, (literally) from behind by Kenseth. The two scuffled for a minute or two before they too were broken up.

Brad Keselowski blamed the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates for both incidents.

"“When he came by he swung at my car and tore the whole right-front off of it,” Keselowski said. “When we restarted fifth with no right-front on it, we fell all the way back to 16th and it ruined our day. That gave us a big Chase hurt, which is unfortunate, and then for some reason after the race the 11 stopped in front of me and tried to pick a fight, so I don’t know what’s up with that. And he swung and hit my car and I figured if we are going to play car wars, I’ll join too. You know those guys can dish it out but they can’t take it. And I give it back to them and now they want to fight.”"

Keselowski was fined $50,000 by NASCAR for “actions detrimental to stock car racing,” and he was placed on probation for the next four NASCAR races.

Fast forward to Talladega Superspeedway.

As NASCAR heads to Talladega, Alabama for what is seemingly the biggest restrictor plate race of all-time, Brad K may find himself on the lonely road after the race starts.

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  • Remember, it’s also a must-win for Keselowski and his No. 2 team.

    To find success at Talladega, a driver must avoid trouble, put oneself in a position to be near the lead in the closing laps, and have luck on their side. Just about everyone has an equal chance of victory due to the draft and use of restrictor-plates, which sap engine horsepower and result in large packs of cars forming.

    Keselowski does have a teammate at Penske Racing in Joey Logano who has already transferred by winning one the past two races, and has earned the right to be excused from the most dreaded and terrifying round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

    Will he stick his neck out for Keselowski?

    In a race where on the track friendship and respect can come in handy, and a victory in necessary to stay alive, Brad Keselowski could find himself with little to no help.

    Credit: Greg Hester, USA-Today Sports