TALLADEGA AL – Brad Keselowski, of Team Penske (Ford) was the winner Sunday of the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday.
Chase Briscoe finished 11th.
The 188 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/68 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Stage 1 Winner: Matt DiBenedetto of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing (Toyota)
SHR Race Finish:
- Kevin Harvick (Started 16th, Finished 4th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
- Cole Custer(Started 27th, Finished 10th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
- Chase Briscoe (Started 25th, Finished 11th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
- Aric Almirola (Started 14th, Finished 15th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60)
- Chase Briscoe started 25th and finished 17th.
- By lap three, Briscoe had placed his Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang in the top-10, and he quickly joined his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates in the top five. When the action picked up, he dropped back to the second pack and ran just outside of the top-20 until the competition caution on lap 25.
- Briscoe pitted under yellow on lap 28 for tires and fuel after reporting his Ford was “a bit edgy.” The No. 14 restarted 24th on lap 30, and by lap 38 Briscoe was back in the top-10.
- The Rush Truck Centers/Cummins driver was running in the middle lane, attempting to collect stage points at the end of the first stage, when the leaders made contact, sending the No. 22 onto its side. Briscoe turned left to avoid contact with the No. 22 and tagged the 2 as the stage was ending.
- Briscoe pitted twice under caution to repair damage to the left-front fender and maintained his position on the lead lap.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
- Briscoe started 34th and finished 18th.
- The 26-year-old rookie driver began the second stage in 34th on lap 66 and made his way back into the top-20 by lap 70.
- Briscoe was running 18th when scheduled green-flag pit stops began. He eventually gave up the 13th position when the Fords hit pit road on lap 92 for fuel only.
- The fourth caution of the race occurred on lap 104 with Briscoe running 10th. When the field returned to green, Briscoe was shuffled out of line to the top lane with no help and fell back to 25th.
- The Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang was running 21st when the drivers at the front of the pack began wrecking with one lap remaining in the second stage. Briscoe avoided the incident and picked up a 18th-place result as the stage ended.
- During the stage break, Briscoe visited pit road for tires and fuel and pitted a second time on lap 126 to top off on fuel.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-191):
- Briscoe started 15th and finished 11th.
- The No. 14 moved into ninth place on the lap-126 restart signaling the beginning of the final stage. Briscoe maintained his position in the top-10 until lap 145 when he fell back to 18th and reported his Ford Mustang was loose.
- Scheduled green-flag stops began on lap 155, and Briscoe moved into the sixth position. On lap 160, the group of Fords made their way to pit road with Briscoe taking right-side tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 10th.
- When the caution flag waved on lap 173, Briscoe pitted from 14th for four tires and fuel. He restarted 22nd with 12 laps remaining. He ran as high as seventh before falling back to 16th when the yellow flag was shown on lap 186 for debris.
- Briscoe restarted 16th for the green-white-checkered finish and crossed the line in 11th.
- Kevin Harvick (7th with 308 points, 138 out of first)
- Cole Custer (23rd with 178 points, 268 out of first)
- Aric Almirola (26th with 159 points, 287 out of first)
- Chase Briscoe (28th with 155 points, 291 out of first)
Kevin Harvick Notes:
- By taking the green flag, Kevin Harvick became the all-time leader across NASCAR’s top-three series in total starts with 1,198 starts – 728 Cup Series starts, 346 Xfinity Series starts, and 124 Camping World Truck Series starts.
- Harvick earned his third top-five and seventh top-10 of the season, and his eighth top-five and 17th top-10 in 41 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
- Harvick finished ninth in Stage 1 to earn two bonus points.
- Harvick led three times for 12 laps to increase his laps led total at Talladega to 276.
- Harvick has now led 11,168 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,594 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.
Cole Custer Notes:
- Cole Custer earned his first top-10 of the season and his first top-10 in three career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
- This was Custer’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was an 11th-place drive in the season-opening Daytona 500.
- Custer’s 10th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Talladega – 22nd, earned last June.
Chase Briscoe Notes:
- Chase Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
- This was Briscoe’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was an 18th-place drive on Feb. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Briscoe led one lap – his first lap led in the Cup Series.
Aric Almirola Notes:
- Since joining SHR in 2018, Aric Almirola has only finished outside the top-15 once at Talladega – a lone 37th-place finish in the series’ prior visit to the track last October.
- Almirola led once for 16 laps to increase his laps led total at Talladega to 71.
- Brad Keselowski won the GEICO 500 to score his 35th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season, and his sixth at Talladega. His margin over second-place William Byron was .102 of a second.
- This was Ford’s 708th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its fourth win of 2021.
- This was Ford’s 31st all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega and its 10th in the last 12 races at the 2.66-mile oval. Ford won its first race at Talladega on May 4, 1975, with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buddy Baker.
- There were seven caution periods for a total of 34 laps.
- Only 26 of the 40 drivers in the GEICO 500 finished on the lead lap.
- Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Talladega with an 87-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on Sunday, May 2 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.