Archive for Keselowski

Dover thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2011 by Jordan Anders

Race 3 of the 2011 Chase is in the books, and it was a wild one. These are the points that struck me today…

  • I was certain (which you will know if you got here via my Twitter account) that Jimmie Johnson was the car to beat today. So I was very surprised when Kurt Busch dusted Johnson on that final restart and drove off to earn the win. I’m still not convinced that Busch has what it takes to not mentally melt down whenever his car isn’t to his liking, although today was a huge step in the right direction. And those who thought Johnson and Chad Knaus were out of the hunt for this championship: I want some of whatever you’re on.
  • My original pick – Jeff Gordon – has done nothing to show that he is the favorite for this championship. My 2-A and 2-B options both impressed me today for different reasons. Kevin Harvick took a mediocre day and turned it into a solid finish to take the points lead back (or a share of it, anyway). But today was a championship-caliber performance for Carl Edwards. That team had the fastest car for most of the day today, but Edwards slipped up with a costly pit road speeding penalty. He drove about as hard as you will ever see anyone drive to get back to 3rd at the end of the day, and that fighting back for that finish reaffirmed for me that Edwards and Bob Osborne have what it takes to overcome mistakes and contend for the title. That team has a lot of momentum right now, and I think they’re going to be very involved in the direction this Chase goes.
  • Those two straight wins almost had me thinking that Tony Stewart was back in this title hunt. Almost. Stewart’s Dover effort was a disaster. At least guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski had excuses for their less-than-stellar finishes. Stewart was nowhere near competitive on Sunday, and looked much more like the team that he said didn’t deserve a spot in the Chase about a month ago than the team that had won two straight coming into Dover. He still sits 3rd in points after today, but that team has got to put this out of their mind and try to get back on track next Sunday at Kansas if they want to stay in the title mix.
  • I’m begging for a break for Junior Nation. Junior, at times, had one of the fastest cars at Dover. That freak deal with the sway bar mount in the early stages could have derailed their day, but they caught a lucky caution (weird, right?) and got that fixed and fought their way all the way back to 12th, only to see a right front go flat and relegate him to a 24th place finish. Just when that team gets things going their way, something comes to screw it up. Junior and his countless fans (including yours truly) have got to be wondering when that team is finally going to get some good luck going their way and build some momentum. They’re going to need it now for Junior to remain a legitimate contender in the Chase from here on out.

Those are my thoughts from Dover this week. On to Kansas next Sunday.

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Iron Man Brad

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 9, 2011 by Jordan Anders

I hope Golden Tate was paying attention to Sunday’s rain-interrupted Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway.

Less than a month ago, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver took to Twitter to voice his disapproval of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson being nominated for the ESPY award for Best Male Athlete.

He tweeted “Jimmy Johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo.. Driving a car does not show athleticism,” which he promptly followed up with several equally ignorant tweets, including how he had “driven a car on unknown roads at night at 90mph no big deal. No sign of athleticism.”

I guess the Associated Press named Johnson their Athlete of the Year in 2009 because they all shop at Lowe’s.

While Tate later backtracked on his remarks (after having his Twitter account blown up by offended NASCAR fans), it still brought back to light the lingering notion from the sport’s detractors that NASCAR drivers are not athletes.

Now, I’ve been a NASCAR fan for essentially all of my 21 years, having watched the sport even as an infant with my dad. Growing up, I spent a lot of time convincing a lot of ignorant people that the argument against NASCAR being a real sport, and drivers being athletes, is laughable at best and ludicrous at worst. And trust me, I’ve seen plenty of both.

Forget the fact that they sit for hours in cockpits that reach 140 degrees, or that they sweat off 10-15 pounds each race, or have to manhandle 3400-pound machines at 200 mph while feeling the weight of four Gs. It’s also apparently irrelevant that the majority of drivers train year-round to stay in shape to endure such conditions. But that’s another story entirely.

All this brings me to this past weekend, and Sunday’s race winner, Brad Keselowski.

Last Wednesday, Keselowski was testing his Sprint Cup car at a road course in Atlanta, Ga., when his brakes failed. His No. 2 car hit head on at over 100 mph into a concrete wall that was protected only by two rows of tire stacks.

Keselowski was airlifted to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken left ankle, as well as a bruised right foot and injured back. But with a potential berth in the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup still within reach, he decided to suck it up and race on Sunday.

Most of us wouldn’t even dream of driving with a broken ankle. Not only did Keselowski race, he had to use his left foot to hit both the brakes and the clutch to shift around the triangle-shaped Pocono Raceway. In Sunday’s 200-lap event, that means he had to fight through the pain to hit the brakes 600 times with that broken left ankle, in addition to shifting six times each lap.

Oh, and that doesn’t include the last time he hit the brakes, to stop the car in Victory Lane after he won the race.

What makes the story all the more impressive, and what wasn’t revealed until later Sunday afternoon, was that during an hour-and-40-minute rain delay at lap 124, Keselowski had to have his back aligned by a chiropractor, and have blood drained from the swollen left ankle just to be able to continue.

Yeah, I know. Insane, right?

In no way is Keselowski the first driver to suit up injured. Dale Earnhardt won the pole position and finished sixth at Watkins Glen in 1996 while recovering from a broken sternum and collarbone. Denny Hamlin won at Texas last year just two weeks removed from having a torn ACL surgically repaired.

But what Brad Keselowski did on Sunday was almost super-human, and it should serve as a reminder to everyone, including Golden Tate, that not all athletes wear pads and a jersey.