Every year at Charlotte, the stars usually shine bright on one driver. This year, without a doubt, that driver is Kasey Kahne. He won the All-Star Race after being voted in by the fans, then took the checkered flag in the 600 after Tony Stewart had a tire issue with just two laps left in the race. He ended a 53-race losing streak, and jumped into the final spot in the Chase.
Once a regular contender for the win, Kahne has fallen off in the last couple years, but is he back? Only time will tell, but I think he’ll probably hold on to enough momentum to make the Chase. I doubt he’ll be a regular visitor to Victory Lane, but strong runs breed confidence and confidence breeds strong runs. Kahne should be able to put together a solid season from this point.
Doing surprisingly well Sunday night were Kahne’s teammate Elliot Sadler, who came home in 8th, and Sam Hornish Jr., who has a solid 13th-place finish. Unfortunately, Hornish just barely missed reaching the top 35 in owners points, and he will still have to qualify for next week’s race in Dover. Regardless, this is a high point of the season and confidence boost for him, as his transition from Indycar has not been easy so far. He’s an obvious talent, having won three titles in Indycar, and has the potential to do great things in NASCAR.
Brian Vickers provided the highlight of the day when he wrecked hard and a wheel from his car took an amazing ride and ended up in the campsite of some infield-camping race fans. Too bad NASCAR had to confiscate the wheel … that would have been an awesome souvenir.
Congrats to Scott Dixon for his Indy 500 win. The most humorous moment of the day came after Danica Patrick was wrecked by Ryan Briscoe. The pint-sized driver got out of her car, then stormed down pit lane like she was going to go fight Briscoe. The image of Brickyard security guards preventing her from going to confront him had me in stitches. Equally funny was her comment to a reporter after the race that, “It’s probably better I didn’t get down there.” I’m sure he would have been terrified, Danica.
Get ready for the next big thing, as the era of Joey Logano begins next week at Dover. This young talent will provide thrills for years to come, so tune in for the rest of the season to check out how he starts it all off. He’ll be in that nearly unstoppable Joe Gibbs #20 car, so look for him to make an impression right off the bat.
There was some pushing and shoving in the pits after Saturday’s Nationwide race, and shockingly it didn’t involve Kyle Busch. While he was busy winning the race (in a Braun Racing car no less, putting him in the odd position of ending his Cup owner’s six-race Nationwide win streak), the crews of Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski got physical after their drivers had some close encounters on the track. Hamlin said he was mad because Keselowski was racing him too close and not getting out of his way. Guess what Denny, that’s why the call it racing. Getting out of the way isn’t in most drivers’ vocabulary, and you should realize that and stop whining, especially considering you’re only making a guest appearance in the Nationwide series and Keselowski is going for a title.
This weekend has provided more great sports entertainment than I’ve seen in a long time. Outside of racing, we saw NBA conference finals matchups, a Stanley Cup Finals battle, and your usual baseball. Add in your Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, the exciting Charlotte Nationwide race, and a truck race in Ohio I totally forgot about (won by rookie Donny Lia, the first rookie to win in the Truck series since Carl Edwards in 2003), and you have a hard-to-beat list of options. Combine that with a weekend of great times with family and friends, which most of us are enjoying, and it’s hard to find much to complain about.