Brad Keselowski had a fast car and set out to win the NASCAR Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Along the way he made some drivers and fans unhappy with his aggressive driving.
On lap 14 Brad Keselowski made the kind of a pass on Danica Patrick that some would argue was such a move reserved for the very end of a Talladega race. He completed the pass for the lead but as the racing continued came down in his lane a little while Patrick came up her lane. Either Keselowski wasn’t clear or Patrick got into him. That isn’t the story.
Keselowski said, “I’m not really sure what happened. I made an aggressive move to take the lead and the next thing I knew I was spinning, so I’m not really sure. Obviously, there was some kind of contact but I don’t know what happened.”
The No. 2 Miller Lite car came back on the track six laps down after lengthy repairs. Keselowski continued driving aggressively. Eventually getting to the front with a car that looked just as fast as it was when he was leading the race. It looked like Keselowski had a great chance to get one of his laps back the hard way by passing the leader.
“I just spun out in front of the whole field. I don’t know why, if I just busted my butt on my own or lost a tire, but I feel bad for everyone that got torn up.” Keselowski added, “We had a really fast Team Penske Ford, but I just feel bad for the whole Miller Lite team.”
Many drivers expressed displeasure that he was racing that hard in front of the field in spite of being many laps down.
Matt Kenseth said, “Well, I will say one thing if it was the other way around and it was anybody else except for him we’d all be getting lectured.”
Jimmie Johnson said, “I wasn’t so thrilled that a car six laps down crashed the field, that aspect of it. But I get it. You’re trying to get your laps back. But I didn’t have any big run-in with him except for unfortunately being caught up in that wreck.”
Many of the fans on Twitter were also showing their displeasure with Keselowski.
The whole thought that Brad Keselowski shouldn’t be racing hard when he is six laps down is that a driver, including Keselowski, doesn’t want their day ruined by a car that has no chance to win. It is hard not to agree with this if that car is obviously slower than the other cars and is just plain simply in the way. Brad Keselowski’s car was not. He was competing and going to the front.
How can a team know how well the preparations of their car are if it isn’t racing? How can a driver keep his mental and physical edge if he isn’t racing? They can’t afford to ride around after lap 14. That is exactly why they fixed the car and exactly why Keselowski went back out on the track and raced.
Keselowski said, “Yeah, we had a lot of close calls and I guess most of them were my fault, but I’m just being real aggressive. That’s what it’s gonna take to win here and whoever wins here will be really aggressive, too.”
What if instead of a tire going down something broke on the car and because they found out about it they could correct the problem for future races? What if Brad Keselowski learned just enough about how the cars are handling at Talladega in order to race better next time?
The next Talladega Superspeedway race just happens to be the last race of the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Penske Racing Miller Lite team may have learned enough to win that race and move on to the third round. Their work this weekend to go back out racing just might have been a Championship winning move. That is why Brad Keselowski deserved to continue racing at Talladega.
Feature Photo Credit: 297853 NASCAR Via Getty Images