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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keselowski, Penske make new history at the Brickyard; drivers say passing is nearly impossible

First things first, Congrats to Brad Keselowski on his win at the Brickyard Saturday.

The Rochester Hills native picked up his 20th career Nationwide series win, and amazingly Roger Penske picked up his first ever stock car win at the track where he has so dominated in Indycar. On top of Brad winning, Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. came in second. That is the third Penske 1-2 finish in the history of his Nationwide program.

If Brad can run like this again Sunday, he may be kissing the bricks for the second day in a row – and it would give him four wins on the season.

IRP gets the shaft

Among my favorite memories of the days when I would travel to attend races as a fan was attending the races at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park) that accompanied the Brickyard 400. I would watch the trucks and Busch series (now Nationwide) on a great short track that never disappointed in terms of excitement.

This year, with the move of the Nationwide race to the Brickyard for the first time ever, the IRP race disappeared. That is too bad, and it’s a shame newer phones won’t get to see races there.

I would suggest that if they want to run at the Brickyard, maybe come back to Indy a different weekend and run at IRP. It’s still a great track and deserves to have a Nationwide race.

It’s not likely to ever happen, though, and that’s a shame. Short tracks are the roots of NASCAR, and the more there are that remain on the big 3 series schedules, the better it is for the sport in my view.

What they said

Here are some quotes from after the Nationwide race

Hint: There’s a theme – everybody says you can’t pass. Hopefully that’s not the case Sunday.


DENNY HAMLIN; Finishing Position: 4th

How was your car during the race?

"Our car was just too loose all day and especially on restarts -- we couldn't make any ground up. I was in the way for

the first 10 laps. Track position is so important. Once you get going you have to have it. We just didn't have a car fast

enough on the short run today."

How difficult was it to pass during the race?

"It's so much -- it's a tough balance because there's just not enough horsepower in these cars and the drag is too high to make a pass. It's really tough. Overall, a good day for our Sport Clips Toyota. Top-five is not what we were lookingfor, but still a great day."

JOEY LOGANO; Finishing Position: 7th

"We didn't do very good this weekend. We were just slow from when we unloaded. We tried to make some improvements here and there, and we just never did. We got a little better. It's kind of frustrating. We couldn't run with the fast cars. Battling for track position back there. You can't pass a car on this race track to save your life. So, that makes it real difficult."

Is there anything from today that will help in tomorrow's race?

"Yeah. Some things. The fact that you can't pass a car is one thing, for sure, you can take over there."

TRAVIS PASTRANA; Finishing Position: 13th

"It's a very intimidating place. This is it for motorsports -- this and Daytona. Definitely an honor to race here. After practice I was really worried, I didn't think we had the speed. Definitely was a big gap between the guys out front and the guys in the back -- bigger than most of the short tracks. I felt really good. We learned a lot. They did a great job getting the car working because we just went back to what we had. It took me awhile to get the line on this track just because there is so much speed. This is the biggest track I've ever raced. I'm really excited with a top-15 – the first top-15 and the crew did a great job."

What did you learn in today's race?

"The drafting and everything -- I'm just clueless. I understand racing, but when you have guys making up huge runs coming up and two or three-wide and all of the sudden it's like, 'Wow.' I'm earning a little respect in here and there's always going to be those few people that you lose respect for or they lose respect for you as it goes on. It's just racing situations. I'm really excited. We're just trying to go out there now and not damage the car, get all the experience we can, not crashing in qualifying -- I've done that a lot of times where we just didn't get the benefit of racing the race because I messed up the car early. That's what we did the last two races. I've learned my most in the last two races. Respectable finishes, but still every driver wants to win. It's going to take time."

MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 43 (Finished 6th) – YOU JUST WON $100,000 IN THE DASH FOR THE CASH, HOW DOES THAT FEEL? “This is awesome. This is the Brickyard. We aren’t kissing any bricks today but we have a big cardboard check that we can lay our lips on. This was fun. I was so confused this morning. I just wanted to drop the rag and figure it out as we went. About 20 laps in I realized what we needed to get through the field and we had a heck of a strategy that got us in the right place at the right time. I can’t thank Nationwide Insurance enough. Everyone at Pilot Flying J that have been with us from the beginning, this is the kind of stuff the deserve. The look on the faces of the guys is just awesome. We did everything right today. We didn’t have a winning race car, but that is what makes the Dash for Cash that much cooler. The sixth place car can be racing for something. Ricky was two cars behind me the last 10 laps and I knew he was coming quick. That was the hardest I have driven in a long time for a sixth place finish. We have something to hang on the shop now.”

WAS IT A TOUGH RACE? YOU SAID YOU WERE HAVING STRUGGLES EARLY. “Yeah we weren’t necessarily struggling early it is just this race track, track position is everything here. We had the same car from the green flag to the checkered. We didn’t make one adjustment on the race car. It was strategy. Felipe Lopez had a great strategy. We took two tires early so we would know what it would do later on and that is what we did and it put us up front where we needed to be. Everything just worked out perfect. I knew Ricky was coming. I think I was sixth and he was eighth and I was trying to hold of the 20 and keep that car between us. It was a very hard fought sixth, I can tell you that much.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 6 (Finished 9th) – “We just couldn’t really get going. On long runs I felt like we were okay. I don’t really know what we needed. The balance of the car felt okay, I don’t know. I really don’t. I don’t know what to point to. Our Sam’s Club Mustang was decent, it just wasn’t great. It was kind of an average day. We ran pretty much eighth to 10th all day and that is all we had. I really don’t know why. We will have to go look at some notes. It looked like two tires held pretty good there so maybe that is something we should have looked at. All in all we finished ninth, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t what we were looking for.”

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