Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Race: Yellawood 500
Date: October 4, 2021
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 117/117
Laps Led: 13
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-21)
- Brad Keselowski scored a second-place finish in the rain-soaked NASCAR Cup Series event on Monday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. Keselowski grabbed his eighth top-five finish of the 2021 season and is 20 points ahead of eighth-place cut line in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff driver standings.
- Keselowski started seventh and ran strong throughout Stage 1. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford grabbed the lead on lap 39 and once again on lap 43, flashing by Denny Hamlin and leading the next 11 laps. The former Champion was running third when the caution came out of lap 57, three laps from the finish of the segment and forcing the stage to finish under caution, leaving Keselowski with a third-place stage finish.
- Rain played a huge factor in Stage 2. The race was halted by rain on lap 73 for 18 minutes. When the race resumed, Keselowski pitted for fuel just before the race went back to green on lap 77. Keselowski was running near the front of the lead draft when Alex Bowman spun on lap 98, but cleanly navigated his way through the skirmish. The extra caution laps gave Keselowski and crew chief Jeremy Bullins confidence they could make it to the end of the stage on fuel.
- Keselowski restarted sixth and was shuffled outside the top-10 five laps later, but he worked the draft and rallied back to third on lap 113. With the rain closing in and the intensity of the racing picking up, Keselowski was locked in a battle for position at the front of the lead draft. He passed teammate Joey Logano on lap 117 for second just before a downpour hit the track, forcing NASCAR officials to halt the race once again, this time for good.
Quote: "A very intense Talladega race and wouldn't expect anything different. We put ourselves in a good position the whole race and I'm really proud of that. We were really close to making a move on Bubba to win the stage and the race, but I didn't need that rain. I needed another two or three laps. I think it was a good race for our Discount Tire team and we put ourselves in position to not have to go to the Roval and have a hero day. We can have just a solid day."
No. 12 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 15th
Laps Completed: 117/117
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-26)
- Driving the No. 12 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang, NASCAR Playoff contender Ryan Blaney started the rain-delayed race at Talladega Superspeedway in the fourth position, and ultimately finished 15th after rain once again hindered the finish, resulting in a shortened event on Monday afternoon.
- During the portion of the race, Blaney worked with his Team Penske teammates and other Ford Performance teams to race inside the top 10 before the competition caution flag flew on lap 25. Scored in the fourth position, Blaney reported the No. 12 Menards/Maytag Mustang ran neutral in the draft and had no issues. On the first stop the No. 12 Mustang received right side tires and fuel. Blaney restarted third and raced his way to the second position, but fell to fifth to finish out Stage 1.
- Blaney began the second stage in fifth before a red flag was displayed for rain showers in turns one and two. Once racing resume, Blaney once again ran fifth before getting shuffled back in the pack.
- With the threat of weather in the area, the field became more aggressive racing the rain. Blaney was able to miss a couple of multi-car accidents and eventually raced his way to 15th before the sky opened once more. This time, the rain was too much and NASCAR was forced to call the race on lap 117 with the High Point N.C native scored in 15th.
Quote: "I would have liked to finish better. We kind of just got shuffled out there saving gas and couldn't really get back up towards the front with the Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang. I didn't pick the right lane once or twice and just could never get back up there. I think we all knew we were racing to the rain. We saw rain coming and just couldn't get back up through there."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 117/117
Laps Led: 9
Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-20)
- Joey Logano started eighth and finished third in Monday afternoon's rain-delayed and rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Logano finished second in Stage 1 and was awarded third-place place stage points with the race being halted at lap 117. The driver sits third in the point standings, 21 points above the cutline to advance to the Round of 8.
- After starting in the eighth position, Logano raced forward and spent the majority of the opening stage in the top-five, sans for a shuffle after the competition caution that dropped him briefly outside the top-10. While Logano was battling for the lead, a caution flag was displayed, freezing the field and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang in the second position for the completion of Stage 1. For the second-place finish, Logano netted nine points towards advancing to the Round of 8.
- A caution, followed by a brief red flag for rain, allowed teams the opportunity to pit for fuel, setting up the chance to race to the end of Stage 2. Logano survived a multi-vehicle incident at the end of the backstretch just past halfway, bringing the field back under caution at lap 98, with Logano scored in the 11th position.
- Rain moved over the Talladega Superspeedway at lap 117, bringing the field down pit road with Logano scored in the third position. With the race having passed the halfway point, the race was declared official with Logano scored in the third, earning valuable points towards advancing to the Round of 8 with the cutoff race looming next week at the Charlotte ROVAL.
Quote: "There was a lot of good racing there, very intense racing. You add weather to a superspeedway, you might as well just call it the end of the race earlier. Everyone is pushing and shoving. You feel it coming, you feel the wreck coming. It's not comfortable, I can tell you that much. Unless you're up front it's not comfortable and for the majority of that run we were towards the back. I was able to find a good drafting partner in Brad. Brad and I work so well together at these superspeedways, so once I found his back bumper I was like, ‘Here we go,' and we freight trained it towards the front. He had a run into one. He could have taken it. He didn't take it and that might have been the difference in winning or not, but, I think we're second so if it rains out, considering our situation in points, I will be very happy and walk out of here."