Monday, July 2, 2012

Rating the Quaker State 400: You Rate the Race!!

Brad Keselowski picked up his third win of the season as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads for the traditional midseason spectacular at Daytona International Speedway. But, before we head to Florida, let’s hear what you thought of the Quaker State 400. This week it's your turn to Rate the Race.
Keselowksi has been steadily charging his way to the top of the sport for some time now, and Saturday night’s win confirmed that he is a strong contender for the championship. He now has the most wins of anyone in the sport and can get up on the wheel as much as any of the other Chase contenders.
As for the rest of the race, there was about as much action as we’ve seen on all of the intermediate tracks this season. The restarts produced close racing for a few laps and then everyone settled down. Ryan Newman’s engine blew up late in the race and sent him into the wall, but otherwise fuel mileage discussion dominated most of the night.
This was also a race that really favored the big teams. Each of the top 12 finishers drives for the six biggest teams in the sport. And even though a Hendrick Motorsports car didn’t win the race, that organization still had quite a night as all four of its teams finished in the top six in the points.
Although many of the races this season have lacked much excitement, business should pick up in the second half of the season. The good teams are really good and could put together quite a battle for the championship. Keselowski will be in the mix to represent Penske Racing, and both Roush-Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports should have multiple cars with a shot at the title. That’s not to mention Joe Gibbs Racing, which could have any of its drivers catch fire for several races late in the season.
We are also at a point in the season where we will likely see more and more repeat winners. The season has had 12 different winners to this point, but those 12 represent 12 of the 15 best drivers in the sport. Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick might win a race sometime soon, but it would be a surprise if somebody outside of that 15-driver group won a race this season.
So, the statement that there are 25 to 30 different drivers who could win a race on any given weekend might not be so true. Anybody truly could win next week at Daytona, but beyond that there really are just about 15 drivers who have a legitimate shot at the win.
Anyway, let Monday Morning Crew Chief know what you thought of the Kentucky race on a one- through five-star scale. Treat it as a restaurant or hotel review. Would you recommend this race to somebody else?
Regardless of how terrific or horrible the race at Kentucky went, NASCAR returns to the greatest speedway in the world next week to celebrate one of America’s best holidays: the 4th of July.
Have a great week and enjoy the holiday, everybody.

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