TALLADEGA, Ala. — The leader on the last lap isn't supposed to win at Talladega Superspeedway. Everybody knows that.
Brad Keselowski disagrees, and he showed how to do it Sunday with a calculated plan that sent him to Victory Lane.
Keselowski used a big push from Kyle Busch to pass leader Matt Kenseth, and after leaving the Daytona 500 winner in their wake, Keselowski staved off Busch's attempt to snatch the win. Using a move Keselowski said he had dreamed about, he held on for his second win of the season and second at Talladega.
"I had this whole plan if I ever got in that situation where I was leading; I thought about it and thought about it, dreamed about what to do, and sure enough, going into (turn) three, it was just me and Kyle," Keselowski said. "I knew the move I wanted to pull. It worked because the guy running second should have the advantage, but I had this move all worked up in my mind."
Keselowski was the first driver in the last five races at Talladega to take the white flag and hold on for the win. He did it with a plan that left both Busch and Kenseth flat-footed, and both praised Keselowski after the race.
"He's no dummy, that's for sure," said Busch, who wound up second for the second consecutive day.
Busch was the leader on the last lap of Saturday's Nationwide Series race, and was passed by Joey Logano right at the finish line. He conceded there's little the leader can do to preserve the victory on the last lap of a restrictor-plate race, and predicted how Sunday would unfold.
"If you're leading, being pushed, plan on finishing second. That's all there is to it," Busch said after Saturday's defeat.
So he should have been sitting pretty after pushing Keselowski to the front. Instead, Keselowski went high into the third turn, then pulled off of Busch's bumper to create some separation.
"That allowed me to drive untouched to the checkered flag," Keselowski said. "It wasn't easy to convince myself to do that, but it was the right move."
Busch initially seemed dumbfounded.
"I must have screwed something up, because we got to turn three and came unhooked," Busch said. "Just gave the win away over there. Not sure exactly what happened. We definitely need to go back and figure out what it was."
Kasey Kahne finished fourth and was followed by Biffle, Clint Bowyer and David Ragan. Trevor Bayne was eighth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ninth and Jeff Burton rounded out the top 10.
"Two wins, with the wild card and all, that almost makes you immune to missing the Chase," Keselowski said. "This team is going to be strong come Chase time. The best is yet to come."
Race for the Chase
1. G.Biffle, 378
2. M.Kenseth, 371
3. D.Earnhardt Jr., 369
4. D.Hamlin, 351
5. K.Harvick, 333
6. M.Truex Jr., 332
7. T.Stewart, 328
8. J.Johnson, 324Comment on this story
9. Ky.Busch, 308
10. C.Bowyer, 302
11. C.Edwards, 300
12. B.Keselowski, 299.