NASCAR | ALABAMA 500
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brad Keselowski was in trouble when he arrived at Talladega Superspeedway ranked 10th in the playoff standings. He knew he’d need a big finish to keep his championship chances intact.
Keselowski earned an automatic berth into the third round of the playoffs with a victory Sunday in the Alabama 500 at Talladega, where he considered himself lucky to finish after a sloppy day for NASCAR.
‘‘I survived,’’ Keselowski said. ‘‘I feel like only eight cars finished the race. It was one of those crazy days . . . a lot of attrition.’’
There were just 14 cars running at the conclusion, and only four were playoff drivers. The race was red-flagged three times for nearly 35 minutes.
By avoiding the problems, Keselowski won for the fifth time at Talladega and gave Ford a season sweep of the four restrictor-plate races. More important, Keselowski remained in contention for his second Cup title.
Keselowski was the leader when the race resumed with three laps remaining, but was passed by Ryan Newman, who stayed out front until the final lap. Then Keselowski made his move around Newman on the high side of the track to take the lead, and a crossover move held off both Newman and Penske teammate Joey Logano.
Keselowski then collected the American flag for the victory lap on his 24th career Cup win, which came in his 300th start. His first career Cup win was at Talladega in 2009.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh in his final race at Talladega, where he and his father combined to win 16 Cup races. Alabama declared Sunday ‘‘Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day.’’
Newman finished second and was followed by Trevor Bayne, Logano, and Aric Almirola — all non-playoff drivers.
‘‘Brad and I work really well together on these speedways,’’ Logano said. ‘‘I was able to push him up to the lead and I thought, ‘All right, now I got you to the lead. It’s my turn to get up there and try to win this thing.’ Our never-quit-attitude got us a top-five out of a day that looked like we may not even finish. I’m proud of that.’’
A long offseason is just about over, but a long list of problems won’t disappear so easily.Continue reading »
Xander Bogaerts homered again and the Sox used six pitchers to get their 12th win in 13 games.Continue reading »
The four people could face penalties of up to 11,500 rubles ($185) or 160 hours of community service.Continue reading »
His 16 home runs are the most by a Red Sox shortstop in the first half since 1969.Continue reading »
Ortiz, whose World Team lost to the US, 10-6, sought counsel from Red Sox manager Alex Cora and received a five-star tutorial in return.Continue reading »
The 25-year-old lefthander sprained his right ankle Saturday against the Blue Jays.Continue reading »
The backline group that again failed to get the job done in the playoffs.Continue reading »
The teams with players on the market may not be able to get as much in return this season.Continue reading »
The former Sox slugger said it’s too early, though, to compare this year’s club with the World Series winners in 2004, ’07, and ’13.Continue reading »