Brad Keselowski wins at Talladega again, tying Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon

Zach Dean
The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Earnhardt Country is quickly becoming Keselowski Land. 

OK, that's a bit dramatic. Brad Keselowski is no Dale Earnhardt and Talladega will always belong to the black No. 3.

However, after winning for the sixth time at 'Dega on Sunday — tying Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, by the way — there's no doubt Keselowski is firmly in the discussion of superspeedway greats. 

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"I would have never dreamed I’d tie Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. here. That’s something," said Keselowski, who led just one lap. "Those guys are really legends ... (I have) a long, long ways to ever catch Dale Earnhardt. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but to be on the same list is pretty cool."

Brad Keselowski won for the sixth time at Talladega on Sunday.

Can Keselowski catch Earnhardt?

Earnhardt won 10 times at Talladega, including his final career win in 2000. Keselowski is only 37, though, so it's certainly possible that he could one day catch Earnhardt. 

'Kez, who won the 2016 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, now has seven superspeedway Cup wins. The Penske veteran clearly has the feel for pack-racin', and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. 

"If you’re gonna lead 187 and not lead the last one, that’s not so good," he said. "I think I’ll take the last one."

Matt DiBenedetto can't catch a break, losing the lead on the last lap of Sunday's race at Talladega.

Heartbreak for Matt DiBenedetto

Anyone else have that pit in their stomach for Matt DiBenedetto?

Everyone remembers the heartbreaking loss at Bristol two years ago in which he led 93 laps, and now this.

DiBenedetto led the field to green to start overtime on Sunday, but blocked the wrong lane coming to the white flag, opening the door for Keselowski to charge ahead. 

DiBenedetto lost the pack and finished fifth. Good points day, though!

Brad Keselowski does a burn-out Sunday after winning the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Derrick Lancaster on a ventilator 

Joey Logano's wreck was bad, but Saturday's ARCA race left Derrick Lancaster on a ventilator. 

According to a social media post from his wife, Elizabeth Nunley Lancaster, the 48-year-old driver had to be placed on a ventilator for 48 hours so doctors could assess damage to his lungs after his car caught fire during Saturday's race.  

Lancaster had second- and third-degree burns to both arms, his neck and his face, his wife said, and had to be helped to the ambulance after exiting his car. 

Joey Logano (22) goes aireborne and flips on the track during the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR not mandating COVID-19 vaccines

We can't wrap up the week without a little vaccination talk, right?

Lost in the hubbub of Sunday's race was what happened before the green flag, when NASCAR President Steve Phelps met with the media to discuss the series' new sponsorship deal with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

Naturally (not at all, actually), that led to a question about whether or not NASCAR plans to mandate vaccinations for drivers and crew members.

"It’s a bit of a slippery slope," said Phelps. "It is important, in my opinion, that people get vaccinated. I’ll say that for me personally. We will continue to monitor and change our policy as necessary in order to make sure that people are safe."

Earlier this month, the sanctioning body announced it would begin allowing guests back to the garage area at Darlington ... as long as they're vaccinated. 

This is a hot-button issue right now, so I wouldn't dare share my thoughts. I'll let Sunday's winner do it for me. 

"Not everyone might be in that same spot, but I’m 100% comfortable to get back to normal," Keselowski said earlier this month.