By Jared Turner
‘Bad Brad’ Gave It All He Had
If Brad Keselowski ultimately fails to make it into the Championship 4 for the winner-take-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22, the Team Penske driver may look back on Sunday’s race as his biggest opportunity missed. Starting from the pole is his No. 2 Ford, Keselowski was in a league of his own for the vast majority of the afternoon as he led a whopping 312 of 334 laps and basically ran alone out front and unchallenged. But when a caution for debris set up a late dash to checkered flag with fewer than 20 laps remaining, it gave Keselowski’s purusers one final lifeline – and Jimmie Johnson took full advantage. After harassing Keselowski’s back bumper for several laps, Johnson executed a clean pass of Keselowski for the lead with four laps remaining. So Keselowski was unable to hold off Johnson’s No. 48 car, which seemingly found a new gear on the race’s final green-flag run. As a result, instead of leaving Texas with an automatic berth in the Championship 4, Keselowski – because of his poor finish at Martinsville – faces a virtual must-win situation next weekend in Phoenix. The bottom line? Unless Keselowski does win in Phoenix, it’s going to take him awhile to emotionally recover from Texas – where victory was within his grasp until it really counted.
Tires, tires, oh bad tires
When was the last time you remember there being as many tire problems as there were at Texas? At an extremely alarming rate, drivers succumbed to tire failures – in many cases at a huge cost. Goodyear, predictably, was unwilling to take any blame for the issues, suggesting instead that drivers running over debris, and teams’ inability to properly gauge tire wear due to limited practice, were to blame for the blowouts. Really? Why can’t anyone take the blame for anything in NASCAR these days?