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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Keselowski clan has a great weekend

It was a great weekend for Michigan’s own Keselowski family, with the exception of Brad missing the Cup race. In Saturday night’s Nationwide race, Brad was able to sneak out the win after Joey Logano made contact with leader Kyle Busch on the last restart.

The race was dominated by Busch, and he was the clear favorite to win. But when Busch got off to a slow restart, Logano got into him and left the door open for Keselowski to take the lead and grab the checkered flag.

It’s his first victory of the year in the Nationwide series for the Rochester Hills native, and he can add that cool “Dover Monster” trophy to the case where he’s keeping his Cup trophy from Talladega. It was his third career Nationwide win.

As Brad said after the race, he had to be up front in the right position to take advantage of something like the Busch-Logano incident, so his crew also deserves a big thumbs-up. Brad is consistently finishing in the top 10, something he needs to do every week if he has any hopes of catching Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards in the points.

In addition to Brad’s big win, his brother Brian finished 16th, the last car on the lead lap (one spot ahead of Kyle Busch). Brian’s team operates on a shoestring budget, so a top 20 finish at a tough track like Dover is a great accomplishment. For the second straight week, the unsponsored #26 family-owned car had the Detroit Red Wing logo on the hood, fittingly on a night the Wings took a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals. In a way, finishes like these are like wins for Brian, as his equipment doesn’t come close to stacking up to the Gibbs and Hendrick teams. If he could only get a sponsor, who knows how well he could do?

Student hits teacher

After the race, as Kyle Busch skulked around like an angry 4-year-old once again, Joey Logano had a stunned look on his face, like a kid who had been caught stealing money from his parents’ pockets. He had just wrecked the guy who has been teaching him all year how to race in the Cup series.

As he talked about how the wreck was his fault, Logano almost sounded like he was going to cry. It’s ironic that he’s the one who pushed Kyle out of the way, because he is probably the only guy in the garage who would feel bad about wrecking Kyle.

The kind of luck Busch is having lately is crazy … between getting bumped by his teammate, blowing a tire in the Truck race at Dover, and losing twice because of rain last week at Charlotte.

Every one of those races should have been his to win, and some sort of intervention always prevented it. He’ll be hungry today in the Cup race, out to finally get a win after all this recent disappointment.

Tire woes
I can’t see the future, but I know one thing you will see in today’s Cup race at Dover: Lots of pit stops and lots of tire changes.

As I watched the Nationwide and Truck races, the tires just were not lasting. With the same kind of tire compound being used today, don’t expect drivers to want to stay out more than 30 or 40 laps, especially if the tires start blowing on a bunch of cars that do stay out.

Considering this is a 400-mile race, that could create a serious case of stop-and-go racing. And it also could create a situation where a driver that takes a risk by staying out on tires longer than others and survives it could steal a win from a stronger car, as happened in the Truck race, which saw a first-time winner in Brian Scott.

Another Earnhardt just misses the show
Amid all the talk about the most famous living Earnhardt, his nephew was out on the track trying to qualify for the Nationwide race at Dover. Kerry’s son Jeffrey Earnhardt just barely missed qualifying for the race, and had to pack up and leave.

He’ll be back, though, hopefully with a better car, and will start making shows. Later, many years down the road, if his career advances to a competitive Cup ride, he’ll no doubt be put through the same media and fan scrutiny Dale Jr. is enduring right now.

It just comes with the name. You get the fame, but you also have to meet high expectations.


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