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Keselowski uses last-lap pass in OT for sixth Talladega win

On the final lap of overtime, Keselowski and Matt DiBenedetto were racing for the win when DiBenedetto went to the high side to block and Keselowski went low.

With a shove from Michael McDowell, Keselowski cleared DiBenedetto and held on to the checkered flag to earn his first win of the season and sixth career victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, despite Erik Jones and Ross Chastain wrecking behind him.

It was the only lap Keselowski led in a wild race which saw 35 lead changes among 17 different drivers.

Keselowski, who has 35 career wins, is the ninth different winner in the first 10 races of the 2021 season.

“What an awesome day today. The whole race I had a couple opportunities to take the lead, but I just kept thinking, ‘Man, keep your car in one piece,’” Keselowski said. “We’ve been so close here and it just didn’t seem to want to come together here the last few years and I’ve been on kind of a four-year drought here, but it’s nice to get number six (at Talladega).

“I would have never dreamed I’d tie Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. here. That’s something. Those guys are really legends. I’m just really proud of my team. We had an accident there early and they recovered and got it fixed up to where I could keep running.

“My crew chief, Jeremy Bullins, had a lot of confidence. I told him him, ‘I want to come in and put four tires on this thing,’ and he said, ‘Yep, go ahead.’ And that really helped a bunch at the end.”

Asked about how the overtime played out so well for him, Keselowski said, “If you’re going to lead 187 and not lead the last one, that’s not so good. I think I’ll take the last one and that’s exactly how it worked out, leading the last one.

“It opened up, the lane did. Matt went to block (Blaney) and I just barely got inside of him with a huge run. I got a great push from Michael McDowell, which was really helpful and appreciated, so just a big day.”

William Byron ended up second, McDowell third, Kevin Harvick fourth and DiBenedetto rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Kaz Grala, Tyler Reddick, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Cole Custer.

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