By admin | April 26, 2009
By Richard Allen
Talk about not showing respect for the boss!
On his way to what has to be considered one of the most stunning victories in NASCAR history Brad Keselowski did not cut anyone any slack. That especially included his Nationwide Series car owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Keselowski drove this race for journeyman car owner James Finch, who has provided cars for the likes of Sterling Marlin and Mike Wallace. On this occasion the car was essentially the product of Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt’s Sprint Cup Series owner.
During the course of the Aaron’s 499 at the Talladega Super Speedway, Keselowski drove as if he had gone into the race with the intent of beating his full time boss in his part time ride. In order to do that he had to finish first among all drivers, and that is exactly what he did.
At one point in the race Junior was coming up the inside with a big run and a line of cars in tow. Seeing him coming, Keselowski turned hard left in an attempt to get in front of the approaching line. Instead, he came right across Junior’s nose and forced the two of them onto the track’s apron and almost to the grass.
The real blow to Junior from Keselowski came at the end of the race. After the final re-start, with less than five laps to go Earnhardt pushed Ryan Newman in an attempt to separate those two cars from the rest of the pack.
However, all throughout the day it had been shown that two cars could get together on the outside and make a big move toward the front. Keselowski teamed with Carl Edwards to make just such a big move. The two cars caught and blew by Earnhardt and Newman, who were desperately trying to stay together in an attempt to hold the lead.
“I couldn’t believe when I saw Brad pushing that 99 car,” Earnhardt said in his post race interview. He did add that he was happy for his Nationwide employee.
However, it wasn’t just Earnhardt who Keselowski didn’t cut any slack. As the cars raced toward the finish line Edwards tried desperately to block the hard charging rookie.
After blocking high then low, Edwards cut across the nose of Keselowski’s car. The young driver did not cut Edwards any slack, just as he shouldn’t have. He held his ground which sent Edwards spinning and eventually flying.
Edwards went sailing toward the catch fence and Keselowski went sailing under the checkered flag for his first Sprint Cup victory.
After the race Edwards proclaimed that Keselowski did nothing wrong. The incident was merely the product of restrictor plate racing.
In winning, Brad Keselowski joined a somewhat unique club. He became the tenth driver to win his first race on the Alabama track.
For now at least, he is also the member of a group of eight drivers who have recorded their only victory at Talladega. If continues to not cut other drivers any slack, he may add a second win soon and drop out of that club.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
*For a chuckle, click on the link below to watch my animated short film, “Racing Re-Cap: Talladega”.
In this episode racing reporter Mark Mustang is stunned when co-host Daisy Dreamboat wants to ask a racing question. But instead, the question turns out not to be about racing at all.
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