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  • Writer's pictureAdam Tropper

Chaotic Finish at Talladega Results in a Victory for "His Airness"

Adam Tropper - Motorsports Today Contributor

The number six played a big part in determining the outcome of this weekends race at Talladega, as 6-time NBA champion Michael Jordan saw Tyler Reddick deliver the 6th win for 23XI Racing as well the 6th win of Reddick's career. Plus, in a bizarre twist of fate the driver Reddick beat to the line was none other then the driver of the #6 - Brad Keselowski.

Before we get to the finish however, we need to look at how we got there what needs to be discussed is the strategy that came into play. Just like at Daytona earlier this season, fuel mileage came into play. This could be due to the fact that the race was fairly calm for Talladega standards, as there were only four total cautions with two of those being predetermined stage breaks. At certain points, the pack was three-wide seven rows deep. Normally, this should be amazing racing with a ton of excitement, but in this case we were seeing lap times up to five seconds slower than single car qualifying runs. While the cars are close together, what's the fun of racing at 50% for 20 laps just to try to gain one second on pit road at the stage break?

Regardless how you may feel about the pit strategy, the next gen superspeedway package proved its' worth once again in the form of lead changes, 72 to the exact. The #45 Jumpman Toyota was in contention all day. However, after a brutal wreck that took out most of his manufacture allies including Erik Jones who will be sidelined at Dover due to injury, Reddick was largely on his own. The ensuing restart with under 30 laps to go lead o a thrilling finish, with as many as 30 drivers still in the main pack late into the race.

In the end, It was looking like the win would go to either Michael McDowell and Brad Keselowski, but going through the tri-oval for the last time McDowell put a late block on Keselowski causing McDowell to crash in front of the field and allowing Reddick to steal the win.

Keselowski, the driver of the aforementioned #6 entry for RFK Racing, has now come in the runner-up position for the second consecutive week. After the race, he said "we just ran a really solid race, really good execution, strategy, put ourselves in position and ran up front at the end when it mattered. I just wish we could have got the win."

While Keselowski suffered the agony of defeat, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, and most notably Michael Jordan himself experienced pure elation immediately after the checkered flag. This was actually the 1st organizational win for 23XI that M.J was there to see victory lane in-person. Jordan stated that "This, to me, is like an NBA playoff game" and that "I am so ecstatic, obviously for the fans who support the sport itself. And we’ve been working hard, trying to get ourselves up to compete against all the top guys in this sport. But we’ve done a heck of a job just to be where we are. And for us to win a big race like this, I mean, it means so much to me and for the effort that the team has done.”

After the first 10 points races of the 2024 season, William Byron leads the points standings by 27 points over Denny Hamlin. Up next week NASCAR's best will take on the "Monster Mile" in Dover, Delaware. Stay tuned as our own Eddie Kalegi and Adam Tropper will be on-site at Dover Motor Speedway the entire weekend to give you the most important and up to date content possible!


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