Keselowski Last Driver Standing After Talladega

Mitch KilpatrickContributor IApril 27, 2009

Brad Keselowski was determined to keep his car down against the bottom of the track during the final yards of an exciting Aaron's 499 on Sunday.

That decision yielded Keselowski the first win of his young career.

Carl Edwards' failed to cut off Keselowski yards from the finish and sent his vehicle airborne and into safety fencing along the Talladega Superspeedway grandstand.

Seven spectators were injured by debris, again bringing into question NASCAR's sometimes balance between safety and spectation.

Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who worked together a day earlier during the Nationwide series race, again worked to create a two-car powerhouse.

They built a five-length lead with one lap to go.

Another two-car team, this one with Edwards in front and Keselowski behind, was emerging. Working together at 204 mph, they pulled ahead of Newman with one-half lap remaining.

Their momentum began to fade during the final turn.

With Newman and Earnhardt closing in, Keselowski made his move. He flew toward the high side of the track. Edwards moved along in an effort to keep Keselowski behind, only to see the 25-year-old slide back down toward the yellow line.

Edwards made a second attempt to block.

This one ended badly. Keselowski had established position at the bottom of the track and Edwards clipped the nose of Keselowski's car, creating a crash.

Edwards' car reversed orientation, became airborne, and landed on Newman's hood. That glancing blow sent Edwards' car spiraling toward the grandstand.

Reinforced fencing kept the No. 99 Chevrolet from flying into the seats. Debris from the crash hit fans sitting along the tri-oval and caused several injuries that required medical attention.

Edwards wasn't injured. He immediately freed himself from his demolished vehicle and jogged 40 yards to the finish line.

That doesn't count. He officially finished 24th.

"(NASCAR) puts us in this box and we're race like this until we kill somebody. Then they'll change it." Edwards said. "Hopefully, they'll do something somehow to change this style of racing."

Still, drivers didn't fault Keselowski for his tactical decisions.

Passing below the yellow line is against NASCAR rules.

Keselowski applied that knowledge Sunday and refused to concede position.

The win was particularly memorable for Keselowski and his team.

"This win is the best thing to ever happen to me," he said.

Earnhardt finished second and Newman, his hood missing because of Edwards' wreck, took third position.