It was Kevin Harvick in Victory Lane at Phoenix after passing Kyle Busch with just a few laps remaining to take the win. But no one is talking about that.
The two big stories of the day were Jimmie Johnson losing the points lead to Brad Keselowski after a late race wreck, and Jeff Gordon waiting on Clint Bowyer in order to intentionally wreck him and the fight that followed.
Jimmie Johnson came to Phoenix the Sprint Cup points leader, and a sixth championship seemed to be in sight. But a blown tire sent Johnson hard into the wall and then to the garage for repairs. Johnson left Phoenix with a 20 point deficit to Brad Keselowski. A 15th place finish next week at Homestead will give the title to Keselowski no matter how well Johnson finishes.
Fights, Wrecks and Championship Hopes Gone
Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer were involved in a minor racing incident that escalated to a major melee late in the race. The two were racing for position and made contact which resulted in Gordon brushing the wall and cutting a tire.
An angry Jeff Gordon slowed on the racetrack and waited for Bowyer to come around. Gordon then crashed Bowyer hard into the wall in retaliation taking out Joey Logano and very nearly Brad Keselowski in the process.
After Gordon climbed from the No. 24 Chevrolet on pit road he was mobbed by Bowyer’s crew and a huge fight broke out between the two race teams.
But it did not end there. When Clint Bowyer heard about all that he made a run for Jeff Gordon’s hauler, and made it to the front door before being stopped. Bowyer was looking to even the score.
Jeff Gordon was wrong to crash Bowyer like that. Plain and simple. That wreck and its aftermath resulted in a lot of wrecked race cars, and nearly took out the championship leader.
Gordon and Bowyer were both summoned to the NASCAR hauler after the race, along with several members of both teams. NASCAR should do the right thing and park Gordon for one race as they have done Kyle Busch for a similar incident in the past.
What would you do if you were NASCAR?
Brad Keselowski wasn’t supposed to make it to the end of Sunday’s STP 400 on fuel. But Keselowski had been saving gas throughout the final run. He was coasting through the corners with the clutch in. Easy in the gas and quick off of it – doing everything possible to save gas. Keselowski saved enough to take the win. And he didn’t even know he was the leader until 2 to go when he saw his name atop the leader board. Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe kept his cards close to the vest and kept the driver calm and cool.
“I didn’t know I was leading until two laps to go,” said Keselowski. “I was instantly mad at my guys for not telling me, but you get over that pretty quick when you cross the start-finish line first.”
“It all worked out at the end, and they talk about you when you’re in victory lane, that’s all that matters.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr thought the race for the win was between himself and Denny Hamlin as the final laps ticked off at Kansas Speedway Sunday afternoon. Crew chief Steve Letarte told him so.
“I was told that that was the race for the win,” said Dale Jr. “And I genuinely believe what Steve was telling me, because I didn’t think the 2 would make it. But he saved a lot of gas. He did a great job.”
Dale Jr: Pickle Juice & Pedialyte & Vodka?
Earnhardt had some interesting ideas for how to overcome the heat exhaustion that plagued all the drivers throughout the race.
“I want to lay by the pool and drink some vodka or whatever,” said Junior. “I’ll probably chug a lot of water tonight so I’m hydrated for tomorrow. I heard drinking pickle juice is good for you or Pedialyte. I’ll give it a shot. I got some of that
Earnhardt finished 2nd and stands 3rd in the point standings with still nothing in the win column for 2011.
What was your take on the race? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
NASCAR penalized Carl Edwards 60 Championship Points and placed him on probation until December 31, 2010 for knocking Brad Keselowski into the wall and causing 9 other drivers to wreck on the last lap at Gateway International Raceway Saturday Night.
Edwards was also fined $25,000.
After Edwards took the checkered flag he admitted that he intentionally dumped Keselowski in order to collect the win.
Probation and a 60 point penalty did not go nearly far enough. NASCAR should have parked Carl Edwards for a minimum of one week. And that includes Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series racing.
This was the second serious crash Edwards has intentionally caused this year. Does someone have to be seriously injured or killed before NASCAR parks Carl Edwards?
Edwards needs to sit at home for a while.
NASCAR added insult to injury by placing Brad Keselowski on probation alongside Edwards. But Keselowski was not penalized with points or fines.
NASCAR, why would you put a driver on probation for being wrecked on purpose?
When Edwards turned Brad Keselowski sideways Saturday night and Kieslowskiâ€™s car was nailed at high speed one man said â€œDonâ€™t kill my boy!â€
That man has 87 NASCAR racing starts. He is also Brad Kieslowskiâ€™s father, Bob.
Bob Keselowski has threatened to dust off his firesuit and take care of Edwards himself. I donâ€™t think he will have to. Someone will put Carl Edwards in his place soon enough
Who do you think will take care of Carl Edwards first?
Carl Edwards thinks so. Edwards was running 2nd when he intentionally caused a 10 car crash on the final lap just before the finish line.
Brad Keselowski had the lead coming to the checkered flag at Gateway Saturday night when Carl Edwards hooked the rear of Brad Keselowskiâ€™s No. 22 Dodge — on purpose — just a few yards from the finish line.
Edwards move sent Keselowski hard into the wall before bouncing back into the racing groove where the No. 22 car slammed into him like a freight train.
10 cars were involved in the last lap melee caused by an over-eager driver who hadnâ€™t seen Victory Lane in a while. That was a pure desperation move by Carl Edwards.
That kind of racing was not what NASCAR had in mind when they said â€œhave at it boys, and have a good time.â€
Some people say that what Carl Edwards did was jus Saturday night short-track racing. Well let me tell you something. When somebody pulls a move like that at a Saturday night race at a local track they donâ€™t get away with it for very long. Usually they donâ€™t get out of the track in one piece â€“ and when they show up to race again someone usually takes care of it, especially when you wreck 10 cars.
This is not the first time Edwards has intentionally wrecked Keselowski. But this time there were 9 other drivers involved. Last time Edwards was immediately parked, but so far no response from NASCAR on the latest incident.
Carl Edwards is supposed to be one of the 43 best race car drivers in the world. So why does he have to intentionally wreck Brad Keselowski to win the race?
Photo Courtesy NASCAR Media
Carl Edwards Should be Parked for Intentionally Wrecking Brad Keselowski
With 3 laps to go Brad Keselowski was running in 6th place Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards was running 39th. Thatâ€™s when Carl Edwards intentionally made a hard right turn into the left rear of Keselowskiâ€™s Dodge sending Keselowski into a flying spin and a hard landing on his roof.
â€œIt looked like it could have been a payback from the No. 99 on the No. 12, said NASCARâ€™s vice-president of competition Robin Pemberton. â€œWe talked with Carl after the race and we have an understanding about it and we will talk internally again as a group Monday or Tuesday of this week and make any decision on if there will be any other actions that we will take.â€
When NASCAR Chairman Brian FranceÂ told drivers earlier this year that NASCAR “is a contact sport”, he was definitely not not sending a message that it was okay to intentionally wreck another driver at the end of a race.
Hard racing does not mean you can take out another driver. Especially when you are 156 laps down, like Edwards was.
Keselowski could have been seriously injured or killed in the crash. The roof of his car was caved in on both sides, and the A pillar, the post in front of the driver that supports the roof, was severely damaged.
The flying car of Keselowski didnâ€™t miss the catchfence by much. Edwards put the fans safety in danger as well.
Carl Edwards was parked following the incident, but since he was already 156 laps down his finishing position wasnâ€™t affected. He has not been punished at all yet.
So will NASCAR park Edwards? â€œWeâ€™ll let you know either Monday or Tuesday. Weâ€™ll meet as we normally do the first of the week at the R&D Center as a group,â€ said Robin Pemberton
After the wreck Carl Edwards said â€œPeople gotta have respect for one another, and I have a lot of respect for peopleâ€™s safety.â€ Well Carl, all I can say is your actions speak louder than your words.
Whatâ€™s more, Edwards may have affected the outcome of the race. Kurt Busch was leading at the time of the wreck, but Juan Pablo Montoya was closing. Would Montoya have caught Busch if Edwards had not caused the caution? Weâ€™ll never know. But we donâ€™t need an intentional wreck at any time â€“ especially with 3 laps to go.
I say park Edwards for a race. Carl, donâ€™t even bother showing up at Bristol. You can watch the race at home on TV.
What do you say?
Brad Keselowski Wins in Wild Talladega Finish
Brad Keselowski did exactly what he had to do in the final two laps at Talladega. He tucked his nose under the rear bumper of Carl Edwards’ fast No. 99 Ford and drafted past his mentor and Nationwide series car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr as they came to the white flag, then Keselowski waited until the last possible moment to attempt a pass on the leader.
When Keselowski moved high on the track Edwards moved up to block. Edwards tried to block again when Keselowski moved to the low side – and Keselowski held his line, and held his foot on the gas, while making sure he did not cross Talladega’s double yellow line which would have disqualified him.
Carl Edwards’ block sent him spinning across the nose of Brad Keselowski’s car – then flying backwards into the catchfence in the tri-oval. The car didn’t miss going across the catchfence and into a spectator filled grandstand by much, which reminds us why NASCAR mandates restrictor plates at Talladega.
“He blocked and I wasn’t going to go below the yellow line,” said Brad Keselowski about the race-winning move. “I felt bad. I was watching Carl wreck in my mirror — but he put himself in that spot. I hope he’s OK!”
Dale Earnhardt Jr had to feel good with the 2nd place run – he would have been even happier to win – but the 2nd place finish should silence a few of the Dale Jr doubters who say he can’t win. Earnhardt’s pit crew stepped up their game, and gained Junior some positions on pit road in the race.
“The 99 and Brad hooked up,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “They are just a little bit faster and they moved up.Â They were comingÂ they were catching us and running the middle, and the middle had been a little quickerÂ I guess we showed our hand a little early, maybe a lap or two too early and everybody saw what they was going to have to do if they wanted a shot at winning.”
You would think Junior had actually won the race judging by the big smile on his face when he congratulated Keselowski in Victory Lane.
Brad Keselowski put NASCAR Nation on notice that he is the real deal by capturing his first win in just his fifth Sprint Cup Series start. Keselowski isn’t even running a full-time schedule in Sprint Cup.
The win puts Brad Keselowski in the All Star Race. Keselowski is a future star.
So was this a wild ride at Talladega or what?