TALLADEGA, Ala. – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 20th in the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS) on Saturday afternoon. A former winner of this event, Keselowski was in position to challenge for the win in the final laps of the race before being hit from behind by the No. 43 of Michael Annett. This caused a multi-car incident that left him one lap down at the end of the event.
Keselowski began the 117-lap race from the ninth position as the Friday morning qualifying session was canceled due to rain showers on Thursday afternoon, forcing NASCAR to set the field by the rulebook and use the scheduled qualifying session for the only practice session of the weekend. When the green flag waved to start the event, Keselowski and Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr., Moved to the back of the field to save their equipment until the end of the race. The duo would make their way down pit road together for routine, yellow-flag pit stops throughout the first 85 laps of the race. Following each restart, they would maintain their position at the rear of the field.
Following a restart at lap 88, Keselowski began to work his way towards the front of the field. By lap 92, Keselowski entered the top 10 for the first time since the opening lap of the race. He was able to push Hornish to the lead with 15 laps to go, but they relinquished the lead while switching positions in the two-car tandem draft.
Despite several caution flags over the waning laps of the event, Keselowski was able to keep his Discount Tire Dodge in the top five. A caution period at lap 114 ensured the race would go over the scheduled distance. Keselowski restarted the race from the fourth position at lap 117, where he immediately began pushing the No. 54 of Kyle Busch to the lead. However, before completion of the 117th lap, Keselowski was hit from behind by Annett. This contact turned him into the No. 33 of Kevin Harvick, effectively ending the day for both drivers. Keselowski crossed the finish line in the 20th position, one lap down to the race winner, Joey Logano.
Hornish finished 12th in the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday afternoon.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are ranked ninth in the NNS owner point standings.
“We did some good racing there at the end and put ourselves in position to have a shot at winning the race in the Discount Tire Dodge,” said Keselowski. “It just wasn’t meant to be. I feel pretty good about everything we did today. It just wasn’t enough. Running fourth on the restart, I felt really good working with Kyle (Busch). I thought we both had as good a shot as anybody to win the race. The 43 (Michael Annett) jammed it in there and the next thing you know, we’re wrecked. It’s just one of them deals.”