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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hamlin vs. Keselowski rivalry getting good

In a sport with so few true rivalries, it's exciting to see one develop.

And it appears we have a full-fledged one between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.

They have had run-ins in the past, and a couple weeks ago Hamlin was highly critical of Keselowski after the two got together at Dover. He questioned whether Keselowski was talented enough to succeed at the Cup level. After that race, Keselowski called the Dover incident just a racing deal, and didn't admit fault. This ticked off Hamlin off to the point that he was still griping about it in the week leading up to this weekend's racing in California.

During Saturday's intense race, the two were back at it, going head to head on several restarts. Though they never made direct contact, it was exciting at every turn, as everybody watching knew these guys didn't really like each other and had recent altercations.

In the end, Hamlin ended up in the wall, but not directly by Keselowski's doing. While racing Brad, Greg Biffle made a move up high and Hamlin didn't realize he was there, setting off a wreck that ruined the day for both Hamlin and Biffle. Meanwhile, Keselowski sailed off to race to the end.

It was a great race Saturday, ultimately won by Joey Logano in a thrilling finish (There was also a spirited war of words between Biffle and Logano, who got together early in the race; Biffle's team said Logano was "acting like a little girl," and Logano's team called Biffle a "coward").

Part of the reason it was a great race was the Hamlin-Keselowski rivalry. Those two guys racing next to each other are far more entertaining than any two other guys battling at this point in time.

I don't want these guys beating the hell out of each other and wrecking each week, but I do want to see them racing each other hard and making things exciting.
Rivalries are very rare in today's racing, so I hope this one keeps on going and they don't make up any time soon.

Whether it's Nationwide this year or Cup next year, I'm looking forward to many spirited battles between the two of them in the future.

Bad day for Busch
If this weekend wasn't bad enough for Kyle Busch already, having the flu and being forced to leave the car and turn it over to Hamlin on the first pit stop of he race, Hamlin's wreck in the #18 car let Carl Edwards creep closer to Busch's once seemingly insurmountable points lead. It may end up close after all.

Johnson once again is the man to beat
I wish I could say otherwise, but it looks like Jimmie Johnson has another strong car at California and will likely win there again on his march to a very possible fourth straight title.

Johnson and Mark Martin should battle for the win, but my dark horse to win is Juan Pablo Montoya. He is due for an oval win with how great he's been running lately.


Anonymous yankeegranny said...

Listening to the interview after the wreck, Hamlin spent most of the time ranting about BK than anything else. Boy has Brad gotten into Denny's head. Really wish that the two of them were in the Homestead race and Denny was not into chase contention. Could be really interesting. I would love to see Brad rattle Denny's cage.

October 11, 2009 at 7:55 AM 

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