NASCAR Afterthoughts: Bristol


Congratulations to Brad Keselowski on his 5th career Sprint Cup Series victory and his 2nd in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was a dominant day for the Miller Lite Dodge as the team led 232 laps out of 500. Keselowski is on a mission to prove the people wrong who wrote off his performance last year for getting hot at the right time. This has to be good for Dodge Motorsports as well as they search for a new team in 2013 since Penske is leaving for Ford. Click through to see what else happened at Bristol…

Tough Days all around: The wreck on lap 25 took out many drivers hopes for a win. It ended Kasey Kahne’s day completely and severely damaged the cars of Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch as well. Kevin Harvick was also caught up but the team was able to fix the damage and he had a hard fought 11th place finish to retain 2nd place in the points. Greg Biffle won the pole and led the first 41 laps but could never get back to the front and finished 13th. Dale Jr. hung around the top 5 all day until a pit road mistake cost him track position late in the race. He ended up as the last car on the lead lap finishing in 15th position. Finally, for the second race in a row Dale Jr. spun out someone, this time it was Jeff Gordon. I wonder if we’ll hear as much about it as we did last week when Jr. spun out former teammate Mark Martin.

Return of Vickers: One guy who should be celebrating today is Brian Vickers. After it looked like no one was going to give the guy a shot to race, Michael Waltrip offered him 6 races in the 55 car. Vickers has had a rough couple of years. He had the blod clotting problem which resulted in heart surgery and a lengthy absence from NASCAR. He then had the very eventful feud with Matt Kenseth which ended up with him hitting everything but the jet dryer at Martinsville in the fall of 2011 (I was at that race and I still can’t believe he wasn’t parked by NASCAR). Vickers also lost his ride in 2011 because Red Bull Racing folded at the end of that season. Vickers has talent and it’s good to see him do well. He led 125 laps, raced without incident and finished in 5th place. Kudos to Michael Waltrip, even if Vickers wasn’t his first choice.

MWR: Speaking of Michael Waltrip Racing, the 3 teams finished 3-4-5 at Bristol. After a mixed start to the year for the team, this was encouraging. Clint Bowyer, I’m sure was especially elated to get a top 5.

NASCAR’s Polish Heritage: Brad Kesolowski is of Polish descent and it got me thinking the winner of the first Food City sponsored spring Bristol race 20 years ago. The man who won that race was another driver of Polish descent and 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup (Really, it was the Winston Cup) Champion, the late Alan Kulwicki. Now go ahead and do a Polish Victory Lap in your head in memoriam. 

 

Jimmie: Shhhh, he finished 9th quietly. That boosts him up 6 more spots to 17th in the point standings. The final appeal should happen this week. He has set himself up nicely for the potential run without his crew and car chiefs.

EFI: This little piece of technology that is so common in consumer vehicles is causing quite the stir in NASCAR just 4 races into it’s first season. I won’t get into it too much, but here is a good read from NASCAR.com’s Joe Menzer on the information that is gathered by the EFI’s internal computer. Here are two quotes I like from the story. The first from Dale Earnhardt, Jr, “it’s kind of like this: if you’ve got a video game and everybody knows how to win, how fun is that? Keep the challenge in it without giving away all the answers.” The second is from Jimmie Johnson on the sharing of computer information between his team and Tony Stewart’s team. “I did look at Tony’s data and definitely have a direction and know what’s going on,” Johnson said. “It’s a complicated thing that I’m certainly not going to share for the world to see. But I’ve got a clear direction of where to work.” Depending on how this progresses, we could be looking at a huge shift in NASCAR culture and competition.

That’s it for this week! It’s on to Fontana, California this week. We’ll preview it, of course, on Friday along with hopefully some news on the 48 team’s penalty appeal.

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