Tag Archives: Danica Patrick

Brad Keselowski Deserved to Continue Racing at Talladega

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.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  297853 NASCAR Via Getty Images

Daytona 500 Qualifying Information

Qualifying for the NASCAR Daytona 500 is different than qualifying for any other NASCAR race. Here is your guide to what to look for during qualifying and the qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 consists of two parts. The first resembles what used to be the typical NASCAR qualifying procedure. Single cars go out and try to run one or two of their fastest laps all alone. This is what will happen Sunday. The second part is the qualifying races which will be held Thursday Night.

First and foremost, a driver will not miss the Daytona 500 by running slow during qualifying on Sunday. A driver can win the Coors Light Pole Award or can start next to the driver who wins the pole. These two positions are also the pole position for each of the two qualifying races.

Here is what to look for on Sunday. There are 49 cars entered for 43 spots.  There are six cars that do not have enough owners’ points to get into the race on a provisional. They are Cole Whitt (26), Kurt Busch (41), Bobby Labonte (52), Dave Blaney (77), Morgan Shepherd (93) and Michael McDowell (95). There are four spots available for the fastest drivers from qualifying on Sunday who do not race their way into the field on Thursday. These six drivers want to be the fastest so that they can fall back on speed if something should happen during the qualifying race.

This also means that the bottom four cars in owners’ points are also racing those six above for those same positions. They are Landon Cassill (40), Josh Wise (98), Joe Nemechek (87), and Eric McClure (35).

The other story to watch within the story above is that Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte are actually racing one another for the past champion provisional since there is only one. Kurt Busch is the most recent past champion. Busch would make the race if he doesn’t make it via some other route. Labonte will be a Kurt Busch fan just in case something should happen to himself.

Yes theoretically all ten cars above could race into the race leaving six drivers that we have not talked about missing the race. The other drivers, in reverse order of owners’ points, who will be watching what those 10 are doing, are Brian Scott (33), Terry Labonte (32), Ryan Truex (83) and Reed Sorenson (36).

Watching your NASCAR star drivers run single car laps might not be very exciting but those laps are very important to the 14 drivers noted above. Four of them will need to fall back on their speeds from Sunday. That is what will make it exciting.

Someone like Danica Patrick last year will win the Coors Light Pole Award.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 will be Sunday February 16th. If you can’t get to Daytona International Speedway it will be broadcast live on Fox at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.

2013 NASCAR Stories Continuing into 2014 – SHR

To say that the last two years the NASCAR Sprint Cup team of Stewart Haas Racing has been in transition is an understatement. At the end of 2011 Tony Stewart won the Sprint Cup but prior to that he already parted ways with his crew chief. At the end of 2012, it came out that Kevin Harvick would leave Richard Childress Racing for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR) in 2014.

There is no doubt that SHR is undergoing changes for the 2014 season. Tony Stewart was hurt last year in a Sprint Car race. It is expected that he will return for the Daytona 500 but he will not test with the team prior to then. When he does get back he will have yet another new crew chief, Chad Johnston. This one SHR team will be starting over.

Kevin Harvick will bring his sponsor Budweiser over to SHR and will take over for the No. 39 team of Ryan Newman renumbered to 4. In reality it will be a mostly new team.

Kurt Busch was hired by Gene Haas to drive a fourth car. He will drive the No. 41 Haas CNC Chevrolet. He will essentially have a brand new team.

Danica Patrick, who had a lackluster first year in Sprint Cup, is the only driver at Stewart Haas Racing who will essentially have the same team. By all rights she has the most opportunity to capitalize on that stability.  In reality, she has a long way to go.

Of the four drivers at SHR, Kevin Harvick will probably be the best right out of the gate. He has had two years to think about the change, has a stable sponsor and probably the confidence to get it done.

Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick still have something to prove. This will make it difficult right away to make things happen. It is still questionable if Tony Stewart will be 100% come Daytona. Throw in the fact that Stewart doesn’t normally ramp it up until summer, it could be one tough spring for his team.

The story of 2013 for SHR was the coming changes to the drivers and teams and this will continue well into the next season.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.