Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rating the Good Sam RV Insurance 500: 2 Stars **

The incredible storylines just keep coming this season as Brad Keselowski wins just days after a horrific crash at a test earlier in the week that broke his left ankle. However, the race took forever and the real battles didn’t happen until the very end. Race #2 at Pocono gets a 2 Star Rating.

Good strategy put Keselowski up front after a rain delay of nearly two hours, but after the rain Keselowski ran a perfect race to bring home his second win of the year after holding off a hard-charging Kyle Busch.

NASCAR couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to play out as the season heads toward the Chase. All of a sudden there are guys like Keselowski, Paul Menard and David Ragan in serious contention for a Chase spot.

That would have been unthinkable in past years. Guys like Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer are supposed to fill out the Chase field, not newcomers and guys that have been second-tier drivers for several years.

Also, who would’ve guessed Keselowski and Menard would be two of the contenders for the Sprint Summer Showdown? All of a sudden they, a charity and a fan could each have an extra $1 million if they win Labor Day weekend at Atlanta. Maybe a regular suspect will once again grab a win and make the world feel normal again.

There is just something different about this season. In a normal year, Kyle Busch would have jumped out on the final restart and driven away, or he would have at least run Keselowski down, passed him and driven on to a relatively uneventful victory.

Not this year. This year anybody can win. Keselowski’s win Sunday is the sixth “surprise” win of the season, a win by somebody that doesn’t typically fill up the prerace shows or receive attention once the Chase starts to take shape.

Last year there were only five surprise wins, and that’s if you include Jamie McMurray’s three wins and Juan Pablo Montoya’s win at Watkins Glen.

One would think this crazy stretch of different winners will come to an end soon, but Watkins Glen is often a crap shoot. People may have thought a Penske Racing car might win at Pocono, but that would almost certainly have been Kurt Busch’s #22 car, especially with Keselowski trying to drive with a broken ankle.

Shoot, most people wouldn’t drive their passenger car with a broken ankle, much less spend what turned out to be five-and-a-half hours slogging through 500 miles while driving as fast as possible around one of the most difficult tracks in the country.

The other interesting deal in Sunday’s race was the final laps battle between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch. They had a great battle, but started beating on each other between turns 1 and 2. That led to a discussion on pit road and a possible feud that could really spice up the rest of the season.

The five-time champion wouldn’t step into a feud late in the year, would he? Well, he’s certainly picked a battle with somebody who doesn’t worry about showing people he’s upset with them. Just think, Johnson and Busch in a tight battle during the Chase. Oh, that would be fun.


  1. I flipped thru on 25x speed on the DVR so it was more entertaining that way...the storylines are incredible this year as are all the winners. I think the wild card system for the Chase is fantastic and some big time drivers are likely going to miss out this year. Which is also good - maybe some of these "underdogs" will spice up the Chase and come to race!

    Kurt will not hesitate to pay back JJ as long as it doesn't hurt the 22's finish. Between these two and Kyle and Happy there are some good smoldering feuds out there.

  2. klvalus - I can imagine. The race probably still took a while at that speed, lol. Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond could be pretty awesome races with everything that will be on the line.

  3. You nailed it jmayer! A two is just right...

    Quite a story on Keselowski. One of the major attractions to sports for me is something like what Brad just went through. That story made the race!

    So now we get to see some right turns! I love it! Will Junior show well? Will Montoya be a bull in a china closet? Will Marcos even think about shutting the engine down to conserve fuel? The tempers will be a flarin'!
    I only wish there were more Sprint Cup road races. They're so much better than the open wheelers who seem to be constantly afraid of getting too touchy feely! LOL! The stock cars generate great racing on a road course...

    Thanks jmayer!

  4. Dwindy1 - Haha, stock cars on road courses is defintely a lot more fun than open wheel. I wish Indycar ran more oval tracks. They often come down to a close finish at the line, whereas they win by 10 seconds at least on a road course. Hopefully the Cup guys really get after it this weekend.