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NASCAR Kentucky Postscript

by Dave Grayson
Tuesday, July 03, 2012

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Brad Keselowski horses around
Getty Images for NASCAR
During the NASCAR weekend at the Kentucky Speedway there were plenty of brews and blues. For example Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite/Roger Penske Racing crew slammed down some of their sponsor's products in victory lane despite the major case of the blues they experienced to get there. Young Austin Dillon earned the right to slam down brews in victory lane only to get the blues following a post race inspection on his car. Oh yeah, there were enough Kentucky THUMBS-UPS and WHAT'S-UPS to fill up a NASCAR hauler. So, let's begin with:

THUMBS-UP to Brad Keselowski for winning the Quaker State 400 and scoring his series high third win of the season.

THUMBS-UP to this team because that third win now makes them the first team to own a virtual lock on a starting berth in the 2012 Sprint Cup Chase For The Championship. That's the kind of accomplishment that gets you brews in victory lane.

On the blues end of things, WHAT'S-UP with that mini feud between the race winner and Juan Pablo Montoya? During the opening minutes of Friday's first practice session, there was contact between from Montoya that sent Keselowski's Dodge into the wall. After driving into the garage, Keselowski stopped at the Montoya garage stall to deliver a little "testimony time." Afterwards, the Miller Lite crew began the process of prepping the back up car.

It wasn't over yet. WHAT'S-UP with Keselowski delivering some pay back on Montoya's bumper during the opening moments of the second practice session. It seemed that Keselowski was taking a very risky chance on damaging his back up car.

You've got to give a THUMBS-UP to NASCAR for sensing that the anger between the two drivers might spill over into the race. Keselowski was told by officials to keep some daylight between the two cars or "we will intervene."

Afterwards, Keselowski said "sometimes you can say more with a tap on the bumper than the words from out of your mouth. I'm going to defend my team and not let anybody push us around." THUMBS-UP to "Bad Brad." There are times when NASCAR racing, and its fans, really needs moments like this.

WHAT'S-UP with Keselowski discovering a broken steering wheel prior to the start of the race? It appeared that one of the mounting spokes on the steering had broken. Fortunately, Keselowski always makes it a point to check his steering wheel and discovered the problem. A crew member had to make a high speed 100 yard dash to the trailer to get another wheel. This all happened just moments before the command to start engines and to proceed down pit road.

THUMBS-UP to the photo of Keselowski doing the Tim Tebow kneel in victory lane in front of the winner's trophy. Bad Brad said he always wanted to be the first to do the Tebow kneel with a Miller Lite in his hand. Needless to say, that photo hit "Twitter" faster that Keselowski's Dodge going down the front stretch of the Kentucky Speedway.

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Now for some THUMBS-UPS for making chicken salad out of chicken do do. The first THUMBS-UP goes to Kyle Busch who appeared to be destined to endure a fourth, consecutive, hard luck story in a Sprint Cup race. In the early portion of the race, Busch scraped the wall and broke a shock mount which eventually led to a broken shock absorber. Despite the problem, his Joe Gibbs Racing crew did an outstanding job on pit road and Busch brought the car home to a tenth place finish. He later stated the obvious by saying "we had to do what we could on three pogo sticks."

Another chicken salad THUMBS-UP goes to Kasey Kahne who endured an early race loose wheel and left pit road two laps down. His team also rose to the occasion and charged their way to a second place finish.

THUMBS-UP to Hendrick Motorsports for placing all four of their teams in the top six at Kentucky. In addition to Kahne's runner up finish, Dale Earnhardt Jr finished fourth and gained some ground towards landing on top of the points standings. Jeff Gordon finished fifth and, with the bad luck this team has endured all year long, that had to feel like a win to them. Jimmie Johnson finished sixth to complete a strong day for the Hendrick squads.

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WHAT'S-UP with Tony Stewart experiencing problems, for the second time this year, with the ECU box in his car? Stewart came pit road and said: "my ignition has taken a s**t, I'm so appreciative of the ECU what a great idea." The collateral damage was harsh. Stewart finished 32nd in the race which dropped him from fifth to ninth in the points.

WHAT'S-UP with the Kentucky misfortunes suffered by Carl Edwards? A missed direction on a yellow flag pit opportunity was costly. Edwards had to come to pit road, with three laps remaining in the race, for fuel. A guaranteed top ten finish, possibly a top five, turned into a 20th place finish.

WHAT'S-UP with the team also losing the package delivery battle for bragging rights? Edwards' Ford was carrying the colors and logo of United Parcel Service at Kentucky. The one thing he wanted was to beat Denny Hamlin's Fed Ex Toyota, who wound up finishing third.

Last year Edwards was a major player in the championship picture and missed the title by one point. This year, he's out of the top ten in the points and hasn't found victory lane since the Las Vegas race last year. WHAT'S-UP with a post race comment from the driver, regarding the current relationship with crew chief Bob Osborne,  that led a lot of observers to, perhaps, read too much from it? Edwards said: " we can do this together. We could divide right now or we could come together. I have the best crew chief in the business and he proved it at the end of last year."

WHAT'S-UP with this already being referred to as the quote of the week along with observers likely reading way too much from it? Drama-drama: save it for your mama.

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THUMBS-UP to Austin Dillon for a very dominant performance in the Kentucky Nationwide Series race. En route to his first series win, Dillon won the Coors Light Pole in qualifying, led 192 of the race's 200 laps and won by large margin of victory of nearly ten seconds.

THUMBS-UP to Dillon for a much improved victory belly slide through the infield grass. Last year, while driving in the NASCAR Camping Truck Series, Dillon introduced the move. It was a work in progress that didn't pan out so well. In fact, it looked rather painful.

Having said all that, WHAT'S-UP with Dillon's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet failing post race inspection? NASCAR inspectors discovered that the car's rear end failed to meet their minimum height requirements. A team spokesman later said the situation was caused by a broken right rear mounting bolt. On Monday, NASCAR officials handed down penalties that included crew chief Danny Stockman receiving a $10,000 fine and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief Robert Strmiska was also placed on probation until the end of year. Morgan Shepherd, the car's official owner of record, was docked six championship owner's points. Dillon was docked six driver's championship points which eventually cost him the series' points lead.

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THUMBS-UP to James Buescher for becoming the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' first repeat winner. Buescher, and Turner Motorsports, won Thursday night's truck race at the Kentucky Speedway.

WHAT'S-UP with an "F bomb" getting out live on the air for the second time in less than a week? During the SPEED Channel's live coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, driver Matt Crafton came over his radio and said "I was driving like a f*****g drunk." Speed Channel broadcaster Rick Allen quickly apologized for the comment getting on the air and said "we can't control radio chatter."

WHAT'S-UP with no one connected with a broadcast team not being able to control radio chatter? It's really quite easy. Stop doing live on the air eavesdropping on team radio systems. Record it first and if you hear something cute and clever then replay it. You can't get any more simple than that.

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In some final thoughts, WHAT'S-UP with the bizarre change of weather that hit the Sparta-Kentucky area on qualifying day? First there was extremely hot, triple digit, temperatures with high humidity that was draining both on the drivers and the teams.

The heat leads to a THUMBS-UP to SPEED Channel reporter Chris Neville for laying a thin hot plate on the garage area asphalt to cook bacon and eggs. WHAT'S-UP with breakfast not getting served because the cooking process was disrupted by the sudden arrival of dark clouds and extremely gusty wind? The savage wind blew down, and destroyed, portable tarps on pit road and even rolled a large and heavy full loaded tool box through the garage area. Very bizarre.

THUMBS-UP for capital improvements on the Kentucky Speedway's infrastructure that avoided last year's traffic and parking nightmares that caused many fans to miss the NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Never wanting to see a problem like that again, the state of Kentucky teamed up with Speedway Motorsports Inc, the owners of the Kentucky Speedway, to improve the freeway access roads and expanded parking.

The absolute final thought is a GOD BLESS to a new member of the NASCAR Nation. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Bryan Silas and his wife Misty welcomed their second child, a boy, to their family. Broydon Walter Lee Silas was born on June 26th and weighed nine pounds, seven ounces.

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