Anyone watching today's NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway, the Aaron's 499, witnessed one of the most memorable and greatest finishes in NASCAR history. To top it all off, it was a major upset!
Brad Keselowski wins his first career race for James Finch's team, beating Carl Edwards in the tri-oval. Keselowski and Edwards were mid pack but with two laps to go, the duo pulled to the outside and pushed each other all the way to the front.
It was now a four car battle, with Keselowski pushing Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushing Ryan Newman.
Coming out of turn four, Keselowski and Edwards had the better run and they ran away. Everyone expected Keselowski to keep pushing, but the 25-year old rookie would not settle for second.
Just like Regan Smith did at Talladega last year on Tony Stewart, Keselowski dove to the inside. Edwards came down to block but the Hendrick protegé was already there, causing Edwards to turn sideways and lift the rear wheels.
Ryan Newman had nowhere to go and slammed into Edwards, throwing the No. 99 car upside down and into the fence; a very scary crash that had everyone concerned for not only Edwards, but the fans sitting in the front rows. Luckily, no injuries were reported.
Keselowski crossed the finish line first with Nationwide Series boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in second.
Edwards then made us all laugh by coming out of his car and running to the finish line, to make sure he finished the race. He got a standing ovation and a loud cheer from the fans as he reminded us of Ricky Bobby in the famous movie, Talladega Nights.
What makes this victory such an upset, is that Keselowski is not even a full time racer. The young driver currently runs a full schedule in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, a team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Keselowski is only scheduled to run seven races this year, as he prepares to replace Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports in the coming years, as Martin plans to retire.
This also is the first win for James Finch, the car owner. This car is currently not even in the top thirty-five in owner points and has different drivers scheduled all year. Keselowski attempted to qualify this same car at Daytona last February, but failed to do so.
There is a topic though that NASCAR has to open their eyes to, and that is the yellow line rule.
On restrictor plate tracks (Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway), drivers are not permitted to drive below the yellow line to improve their position.
Today, we saw that rule backfire, big time!
Not only could Carl Edwards have gotten seriously hurt, but fans could have been seriously injured or even killed. Keselowski did not go below the yellow line while passing because he knew he would get penalized if so; and Keselowski did absolutely nothing wrong.
“We’ll race like this until they kill somebody and they’ll change it,” said Edwards, after flipping his car in the fence.
But if it wasn't for this rule, Keselowski would have used the extra room on the apron and this very dangerous crash could have been avoided.
NASCAR needs to take a second look at this rule, because it has caused other crashes in the past where a driver will spin a guy out instead of going on the apron to avoid the wreck.
The rule has also caused confusion, like last year when Regan Smith passed Tony Stewart under the line to win, after Stewart forced him down there. But if Regan didn't go below the line, the same wreck we saw today could have happened last October, putting more people at risk.
We also remember Dale Earnhardt Jr. once passing Matt Kenseth below the line and going for the win, but to everyone's surprise, Earnhardt wasn't penalized.
In my opinion, let's end this confusion and let's scrap this rule altogether.
And speaking of this yellow line rule, why wasn't Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, penalized today?
In the driver's meeting, drivers were clearly told that if any passing was made under the yellow line, they would get penalized, even if they were forced down there. But when Vickers made a pass below the line, NASCAR gave him a warning.
Wake up NASCAR!
I will give a big thumbs up to Carl Edwards, who was a real class act at the end, handling the situation very professionally.
So to all you NASCAR fans out there, see you next week in Richmond!
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