Talladega ‘Freight Train’ Killed NASCAR Ford Podium Finish

All eyes were on the NASCAR Ford teams heading into the Cup Series race at Talladega on April 21st, 2024. The Blue Oval hasn’t yet earned a win in any of the three national divisions so far this year, and Ford drivers were extremely optimistic that the dry spell would end at ‘Dega. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as a late-race pileup ended Ford’s shot at a one-two-three finish, leaving the automaker winless yet again. According to a recent report from Racer, Brad Keselowski, the second-place finisher, said that such an outcome was inevitable.

Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was running second on the last lap, when race leader Michael McDowell, driver of the No. 34 Mustang, shot down the track to block him. The two cars made contact, triggering the biggest wreck of the race as McDowell pounded the outside wall and collected several competitors. The crash forced both NASCAR Ford drivers out of contention for victory, opening the door for Tyler Reddick’s No. 45 Toyota TRD Camry to win, and while Keselowski said he couldn’t blame McDowell for trying to block, he wasn’t surprised the race ended the way it did.

“I was looking high on Michael and he did a good job blocking,” Keselowski said. “I turned back down and got a good push from [fellow NASCAR Ford driver] Noah [Gragson], and Michael came back down to block that, and by then we were kind of a freight train coming and Newton’s cradled into the No. 34 car and [it was] just too much of a hit for him to be able to save. So it’s unfortunate – I thought we had a really strong day; it looked like we were going to get a Ford 1-2-3 and it didn’t work out.”

He added, “I don’t know that anybody did anything wrong. I just still hate that Michael didn’t get the solid day that he deserved, and we didn’t get the win. But that’s how it goes.”

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Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

Alexandra Purcell

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.