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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hamlin vs. Keselowski - a rivalry begins

The highlight in a boring Nationwide race at Dover was the on-track and off-track incidents involving Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. Depending on who you ask, Brad either dumped Hamlin, or Hamlin blocked him and caused his own wreck.

Keselowski claims he had the position and Hamlin didn’t respect him enough and that led to the wreck. “He had a choice. He could have gave me a lane and finished 4th or 5th. … He just tried to take advantage of me, and I’m not going to be pushed around,” Keselowski said after the race.

Hamlin saw it another way, disagreeing with Brad’s account of the incident.
“We were listening to that idiot talk. He has no idea how to race. He‘ll get a ride and he‘ll hang around for a
couple years and people will realize that he’s not really that good,” Hamlin said. “He needs some guidance on what it takes to make it. Once he starts to get out there on Sunday, he’ll realize that in his younger years he didn’t do it the right way.”

After the race, Hamlin came over to have a few words with Brad, but the crews kept them separated.

Regardless of who was at fault in this incident, one thing is clear; Hamlin should never be a NASCAR talent scout. Keselowski is a very talented driver who will do good things in Cup. It will be interesting to see how these two guys interact for the rest of this year in Nationwide, and next year in Cup.

Congrats to Johnny Sauter, Thorsport
It was a good night for the Thorsport team in Trucks Saturday night in Las Vegas, as they finished 1-2 with Johnny Sauter winning and teammate MattCrafton finishing second. It was good to see a break from the usual in trucks (I.e. another Hornaday, Skinner or Bodine win).

It was especially good for Sauter, who has never won in the Truck series. He has never found a comfortable place in NASCAR, struggling in various series, including Cup. If he’s smart, he’ll stick with this Truck team, as he has found a place he can win.

Morgan Shepherd somehow surviving
I was surprised and pleased to see Morgan Shepherd is somehow still coming to the track, despite having laid off his entire team due to financial concerns. He has a new crew chief, who I assume is working basically for free, and he somehow managed to qualify in the 20th position at Dover and finish 21st.

Shepherd is dedicated to continue racing, and it appears he has found a way for the moment. I don’t know if he’ll find the funding to be back next year, but it would be a nice story if he can finish out the year and potentially end his career on his own terms.

Montoya still hot
After an awesome weekend at New Hampshire, Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 2nd and is running near the top of the charts in practice. It appears that as the weeks go on, this team is becoming more of a legitimate championship contender, which is amazing when you consider the tumultuous couple of years that the Earnhardt Ganassi team has gone through, and how small they are compared to Rick Hendrick’s organization.

It would truly be a David vs. Goliath kind of win if Montoya took the title, and a lot of people are rooting for him.


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