Monday, September 10, 2018

Brad Keselowski Wins the Brickyard!

Brad Keselowski scored his second straight victory for 2018 by winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The win was the first for Roger Penske in NASCAR at Indy.

Rain throughout the weekend washed out all practices and qualifying. The field was set by the rulebook, putting Kyle Busch on the pole. Continued storms pushed the race to Monday. This race is now marked in the record book as the only race in the modern era to have all on track activities canceled, with the race being postponed to the next day. Drivers started the race with zero time on track.

Although there was potential heightened exposure from making the Brickyard 400 the final race before the NASCAR Playoffs, this race saw a lessened turn out and ratings, mostly due to the weather. 

In true Brickyard fashion, the race itself proved to be a test of track position and fuel strategy. Clint Bowyer picked up his first Stage win of 2018, and came within three laps of winning Stage 2, but pitted early, giving the Stage win to Matt Kenseth.

Lap 59 saw yet another instance of brake failure for the number 43 of Bubba Wallace. Wallace also had a dramatic failure in Pocono, leading to a fiery crash in turn one. At the Brickyard, while not as dramatic as Pocono, the failure still resulted in a day-ending crash for Wallace, which also collected David Starr in the 51.

I crash with seven laps to between Landon Cassill and Jeffrey Earnhardt setup the final restart.

Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer led the field to the restart. Bowyer spun his tires, allowing Brad Keselowski by quickly, with Keselowski and Hamlin breaking away from the pack. Keselowski, with much fresher tires, muscled by Hamlin with a lap to go, winning the race, and securing Team Penske’s name in the NASCAR record books at Indianapolis.

Editor’s Take:

I, like so many others, was unable to watch this race live due to the postponement. I rushed home after work to catch up on the details of what was supposed to be one of the biggest races of the year. Not only is the Brickyard 400 one of the Cup Series’ crown jewel events, it’s now the final race before the NASCAR Playoffs.

While Indy has become known as a track position, and fuel strategy venue, I was hoping that the championship implications would add to the drama, and the excitement of this event. In reality, however, that drama was washed away in the storms the covered the weekend. While the race was okay; it was only… okay.

I’m going to to give this the benefit of the doubt because of the weather, hoping next year’s edition will garner better results.

On a side note, I find Denny Hamlin’s comments post race, referencing Landon Cassill and Jeffrey Earnhardt’s crash a race among “meaningless drivers”, laughable. Sure, it stemmed from frustration after being the potential winner prior to the yellow, but come on Denny, come on. LOL.

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