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Reddick steals win at Talladega for Michael Jordan as McDowell crashes at the line

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LA Post: Reddick steals win at Talladega for Michael Jordan as McDowell crashes at the line
April 21, 2024
PAUL NEWBERRY - AP

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Tyler Reddick stole a victory at Talladega Superspeedway when front-runner Michael McDowell, swerving up and down the track trying to block Brad Keselowski, wound up crashing with the finish line in sight Sunday.

It was a typical Talladega finish — and set off a raucous celebration on pit road with Reddick's team owner, Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

“This is like an NBA playoff game,” Jordan said in Victory Lane. “I'm so ecstatic.”

McDowell, the pole-sitter, was in position to give Ford its much-needed first victory of the year, but his topsy-turvy efforts to block Keselowski — another Ford driver — wound up costing them both.

McDowell spun out, Keselowski had to check up and Reddick sped by to win by 0.166 seconds.

A pile of cars behind them was taken out, as well. Corey LaJoie's No. 7 machine slid across the finish line on its side, pinned against the wall in front the massive grandstands.

Reddick climbed out of his No. 45 car and scurried up the fence like Spider-Man.

“That was crazy, fans,” he screamed. “Chaos. Typical Talladega.”

Keselowski settled for second, failing again to pick up his first win since 2021 at this 2.66-mile trioval in east Alabama.

“We went to make a move and Michael covered it,” Keselowski said. “We went the other way and had nowhere to go when Michael came back down. It's just the way this stuff goes.”

Reddick's victory redeemed a botched strategy that knocked out a bunch of Toyota contenders, including team co-owner Denny Hamlin.

All three Toyota teams pitted in tandem with 37 laps to go, going with a strategy that would've allowed them to push the pace on the rest of the fuel-saving field — with an idea of drafting all the way to the front for the checkered flag.

Unfortunately, they couldn't keep their cars straight.

Just four laps later, with the Toyota train running at a blistering, single-file pace and chasing down the lead pack, John Hunter Nemechek appeared to get into the bumper of Bubba Wallace's No. 23 machine, which clipped Erik Jones and sent him smashing hard into the outside wall.

Nemechek then slid down the track and took out Hamlin, as well.

“We had a plan,” Wallace said. "We just didn't execute it as well as we should have. I hate it. It doesn't make us look good at all.”

Jones took the brunt of the blow, a crash that would've been much worse without the sturdy cars and foamy barriers.

“I'm a little sore, but I'm all right,” Jones said after exiting the infield care center. “If you're gonna be dumb, you've got to be tough.”

In the end, though, it was a Toyota driver celebrating.

___

AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/hub/nascar-racing

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