Saturday, October 18, 2014

Charlotte Rewind and Talladega Preview

Happy Saturday everyone!

As I sit down to write this I realize that NASCAR Truck Series race from Talladega is basically over; however, I am just beginning to watch it myself.  These are the joys of the DVR aren't they.  So before I even begin talking about the wild ride that is Talladega, I am going to talk about last weekend at Charlotte.

First off we will start with the Nationwide race from Charlotte which was won by Brad Keselowski.  On lap 55 of the race Keselowski suffered a tire problem which forced them to pit earlier than expected.  However, he was able to rally back to the front of the pack and in the end he passed his teammate Ryan Blaney for the lead with 12 laps to go.  The rest of the top five was Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson.   With Chase Elliott finishing 9th and Regan Smith finishing 11th, Elliott has again widened the points lead to 42 points heading into the off week for the Nationwide series.

As for Saturday, two of my friends and I loaded ourselves into my car and made the six hour journey east to watch the Sprint Cup race from Charlotte, and boy it didn't disappoint!

Kyle Busch was the pole sitter for the Bank of America 500 from Charlotte with a speed of 197.390 mph.  The Bank of America 500 was the 5th race of the Chase and is the second race in the Contender round.  To this point in the Chase, four drivers,AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, and Greg Biffle, have already been eliminated.
Chase Grid after round 1

Overall the race from Charlotte was dominated by Kevin Harvick who led 61 laps of the 334 lap race.  The first caution was the competition caution called by NASCAR on lap 25 due to some heavy downpours that rolled over the area about two hours before the start of the race.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead for a two tire stop during this caution; however, he lost the lead to Kyle Busch shortly after the restart.  The race went green through the next cycle of pitstops beginning at lap 75.  Lap 95 saw the next caution with Clint Bowyer's blown engine in turn 4, and once again Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead with a two tire stop.  The lead quickly changed after the green flag and five laps later Kevin Harvick was leading.

The next caution flew on lap 135 for Paul Menard's blown engine.  During this round of pit stops Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s night started to go awry due to a broken shifter which they were not able to fix under this caution so they would need to work on it again later.  Kevin Harvick led at the green flag and remained in the green through the next round of pit stops and until lap 221 when the race was again slowed due to Josh Wise's blown engine.

Work on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car

Lap 237 saw the next caution for Brian Vicker's spin off of turn 4.  The leaders pit and Austin Dillon stays out and takes the lead.  One lap after the green flag flew, Kyle Busch again took the lead.   The next caution came out on lap 245 when Joey Logano got into the left rear of Danica Patrick sending her into the wall and Ryan Newman spinning to avoid.  Rookie Kyle Larson took the lead on lap 264 and the caution fell one lap later with Michael Annett's flat tire.  Brad Keselowski stayed out to take the lead under this caution and Denny Hamlin took the lead from him on lap 272.

Brian Vickers blew an engine with 7 laps remaining bringing out final caution and setting up a green-white-checker finish.  Kevin Harvick's win guarantees him a spot in the next round of the Chase with Joey Logano who won the race at Kansas.

Damage on Keselowski post race Charlotte

So let's address the big elephant of the race....the fight or fights.  After the incident with Danica Patrick and Joey Logano, Patrick was upset and she stated that she had wanted to go find Logano.  However, she never did.  As for the other fights...they all centered around Brad Keselowski.   On the cool down lap he turned into Denny Hamlin.  To this day I still have no idea what they were upset about, but after that little incident Brad continued on toward pit road where he dove inside of Matt Kenseth and hits the side of the 20 car and in the end hits Tony Stewart in the rear.  Keselowski
was angry with Kenseth due to an incident toward the end of the race where the right front of the 2 car ended up damaged.  After Keselowski hit the back of Stewart, Stewart proceeded to back into the front of the 2 car resulting in quite a bit of damage for the 2.  Later in the garage Keselowski was heading for a side door on his hauler and Kenseth comes flying into the picture and starts to fight Keselowski.
If you want to see a video of the post race one can be seen here.  Well on Tuesday the official fines were announced and it ended up being just monetary fines for Keselowski and Stewart.

So how about this week at Talladega.  It is the traditional restrictor plate racing where anyone can win.  Not only will it be a tense race due to the close door to door pack racing it is also another elimination race.  Four more drivers will be eliminated from the Chase, and at this moment Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Matt Kenseth find themselves in the four elimination spots.  Qualifying from Talladega is currently on ESPNEWS.

The Sprint Cup race from Talladega will air on ESPN Sunday at 2 PM Eastern.  Be sure to check it out for all kinds of excitement and likely a lot of tempers along with a whole lot of this....

Look for a post all about some of the new Hard Candy products soon!

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