Welcome to a new segment on Start ‘N’ Park Blog called Michael Dropping The Hammer. This is going to be a weekly column where I talk about the racing action that went on during the weekend, touch on news topics of the past/current week, and for fun drop some pop culture in there. Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to comment if you agree or disagree with me!
History 300 thoughts:
This sounds familiar, Kyle Busch won again. He scored his sixth win in nine starts and his record adding 57th career Nationwide Series race. He is driving lights-out now in the Nationwide Series. This compared to going 0 – 22 last year with his own team. Now with Joe Gibbs Racing, all is good with Rowdy and I’ll be sure to pick him every time he’s entered in our Pick ‘Em contest.
Sprint Cup drivers made up the first three finishers (Busch, Kasey Kahne, and Joey Logano). They were four out of the top-5 (add Kevin Harvick in fifth). The only other Cup regular was Matt Kenseth who was eighth. Glad to see getting no points for the races is discouraging drivers from driving in the lower series.
Trevor Bayne picked up his fourth top-10 finish in a struggling season. Even with that, he is only in 11th position in what was supposed to be a great season. He finally got a full-time ride and inherited the team that just on back to back titles.
Parker Kligerman scored his fifth top-10 in 10 races to put him in the sixth spot in points. He’s showing that there is some speed in those Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyotas and the program wasn’t totally left for dead when owner Kyle Busch went back to Joe Gibbs Racing.
Coca-Cola 600 thoughts:
It was a boring go of it before Cablegate struck. Some of the cables from one of Fox’s cameras came undone and landed on the track. The result was cars sustaining damage, fans sustaining injuries (luckily just 10), and a red flag. I thought Fox’s handling of the situation was sloppy, but I might be overly critical. The best part was when the likened the event to turf coming up in a football game. I also enjoyed that it took some time for them to confirm it was from their camera. I think had it not been red flagged, they would have been ok not acknowledging that fact. On the plus side, next week at Dover is the last race of the year for Fox.
Sticking with Cablegate, but moving past Fox, it was the right move by NASCAR to allow teams time to work on their cars. It would have been too timely and difficult to find every car damaged by the cable.
This was one crazy night for sure. We also saw boyfriend/girlfriend tandem Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica Patrick get together on the track. Brad Keselowski got the worst of that altercation, but you can’t help but think how that’ll affect the two love birds.
We had another red flag moment when Mark Martin got into the rear of Aric Almirola. This was notable because that was not a Mark Martin move out there and when interview, Martin deflected the blame back to Almirola putting them three wide. I’ve noticed this more and more of Martin in the last couple of years not giving as much as he once did.
In the end it was Kevin Harvick scoring his second Coca-Cola 600 win. The win, not by fuel mileage, adds credibility to Harvick and his team after stealing the 600 a few years back. Interesting to think that Harvick has a Daytona 500, two Coca-Cola 600s, and a Brickyard 400 win. I’d say a championship would make him a Hall of Fame contender.
Can’t fault Kasey Kahne and Kenny Francis for not pitting on that last stop. If they pit, everyone stays out or what we saw when they stayed out everyone pitted. It’s hard to second guess that, but that’s the problem with being the leader sometime. I was very impressed by how their car was running all weekend long and that will provide good momentum into Dover.
Menard & Menards Sign Multi-Year Deal With RCR
Paul Menard resigned with Richard Childress Racing, bringing his dad’s sponsorship back to the #27 for “multiple years.” Since joining the team in 2011, Menard has improved his points finish a 17th then 16th and currently sits in 10th in points. I think it’s a good move for all parties as Menard has been pretty consistent out there and even got a win in 2011. As I see it for 2013 at RCR it will be Menard, Austin Dillon, and possibly Jeff Burton. Burton is a wild card as I wouldn’t put it past RCR to replace him with Kurt Busch.
Reigning Champ Keselowski A Leader?
One reporter Thursday kept asking drivers whether or not reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski is a leader. Based on some driver’s responses, not so much. 2003 Champion Matt Kenseth said “Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t know. If he’s called any meetings to order, I wasn’t invited to them. I don’t know, I don’t know what that all means.” Ryan Newman had a funnier answer when asked if he looks up to Keselowski, “Do I look up to Brad? Only when I’m standing next to him.” Maybe winning the championship doesn’t make you an instant leader, look at 2004 champion Kurt Busch. In time, though, Keselowski can hone his skills to be that leader in the garage.