Hometown hero Keselowski outduels nemesis Edwards in front of appreciative crowd
Hometown hero vs. his evil nemesis.
Local kid from Rochester Hills, who has gotten pushed around, pulls off a brilliant pass to get by his arcrival on a late restart.
However you want to word it, it was a pretty awesome setup to the Nationwide race at Michigan International Speedway.
Throughout the afternoon, fans were treated to an awesome battle between two guys who are on probation for knocking each other around on the track too much.
Ever since the probation begans, fans have been anxious whenever these two are near each other, but they’re smart enough to know that returning to the actions that got them on probation isn’t very smart.
Both of them want to win, but both also have been around long enough that they know how to do it without wrecking people in the process. The battles they had Saturday with each other, as well as Paul Menard were an awesome show for the fans and put a capper on a great day out at MIS.
Winning his second straight race at MIS wasn’t easy, though, as he had to deal with clutch issues in addition to his nemesis on the racetrack.
“Everything came together, from qualifying to the race. Carl put up a dogfight to pass. No one gave us anything today,” Brad told the media after cleaning up from a Victory Lane shower. “I didn’t know if we were going to pass him, it was going to be close. Then we had that restart, and I got the perfect side draft on him.”
Edwards said after the race that he enjoyed the battle with Keselowski.
“The good thing is that we are both on probation. Both of us are probably thinking the same thing, don’t be the guy that messes this thing up. He raced me very cleanly and I thought we raced well together. That is the kind of racing that I am sure we both want to be doing and I had a really good time. That was fun to be able to race that close. When he and I and Paul were all running one, two, three, that is as good as it gets.”
Winning in front of his home crowd was once again special for Keselowski.
“Driving for Roger Penske, this is one I’m going to cherish. I had the CEO of Dodge here. To get the first win for the Challenger here is special,” he said. “The win last year was special because we won the race without having the fastest car. This year we did. So it’s more of a team victory this year.”
Keselowski said the hype over his battles with Edwards never entered his mind as he raced Saturday.
“I think the contacts we’ve had in the past have been accidental. It’s easy to say so and so roughed someone up. But I didn’t drive my car any different today. It’s easy to report it as intentional. It makes a better story line. Sometimes cars just run into each other. There was the recipe for the same cake today, it just didn’t get baked. I honestly haven’t thought about racing the 60. I race him the same as I did before Atlanta or Gateway.
And in the shadow of his home state, Keselowski made sure to thank the people who have helped him get where he is today.
“It’s been a great ride coming from the local speedways, Flint, Owosso, Kalamazoo, etc., and apply it. It’s been a great ride from there,” he said. “I’ve been through some peaks and valleys. I’m on top right now. I’m a product of people who have worked hard for me, and some hard work of my own.”
And as he continues to rack up wins and rise up the NASCAR ranks, plenty of people in Michigan are thanking him right back, as was evidenced by the crowd’s roar as he took the lead that final time.
Among the notable runs among the field today in the Nationwide was the 17th place finish by John Wes Townley, the young driver who is most famous for spinning at almost every track he visits, usually without any help from his competitors. Instead of a wrecked racecar, he actually finished on the lead lap, something he has only done 5 times in his 35 career races.
Other young competitors doing a good job were Roush drivers Colin Braun, who finished 9th, and Ricky Stenhouse, who finished 13th.
Driver sent to hospital
Nationwide driver Robert Richardson Jr. was transferred to a local hospital after Saturday’s race, but no further information was available on the reason.
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