Parks Race Reactions: Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta
It seems as though whenever NASCAR makes the trip to Georgia, in some way or another, excitement comes around.
Sunday afternoon, it was no different. The Kobalt Tools 500 lived up to its billing and was certainly by far the best race of the season. So, why waste time, let's get into my race reactions from Sunday afternoon.
First of all, simply awesome run by the Miller Lite Dodge, the Penske team, and Kurt Busch. He and Kasey Kahne were the two guys to beat all afternoon, leading nearly 80 percent of the laps. It was going to come down to a battle between one of these two for the victory, and it was well worth it.
Late in the race, much like last week, the late pit stop was what made the difference. Two guys elected for right sides, while Busch went with new rubber all around.
On the first of the two green-white-checkered restarts, he won that race. A great jump to get ahead of Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer made the difference. The second restart, he just needed the jump on Juan Montoya, and that is what he got.
A strong run for the No. 2 team, and a great victory.
But, speaking of Kahne, he and the entire Richard Petty Motorsports organization had an incredible afternoon. Three of their four cars finished in the top ten.
Kahne ended up fourth, Menard in fifth, and A.J. Allmendinger was sixth.
That is an incredible turnaround for a team that was going through so many changes late in 2009. The Ford power has certainly been a major difference for RPM and I don't expect much to change in the coming weeks.
Awesome job by the entire Petty camp.
And then, there's the wreck. This will be talked about a lot when people look back at this race. Two laps from the scheduled end of the race, it was Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski getting together.
Early in the race, Keselowski got into Edwards, sending him high and into the wall, which sent the No. 99 team behind the wall. Looking at the reply, Edwards says "That wasn't as malicious as I thought," almost as if he wasn't placing much blame on Keselowski. But then, he ends with, "Brad never gives me any room."
Fast forward to the end of the race, and on the front stretch going full throttle, Edwards gets into the No. 12, and the car hooks. The rear end goes in the air, one complete tumble, and the roof goes into the outside SAFER barrier.
Keselowski got out alright, a bit dazed, but overall good. It was after that the sparks soon flew. Outside the in-field care center, Keselowski spoke with FOX reporters about the wreck.
"To come back and just intentionally wreck someone, that's not cool," Keselowski said.
"He could have killed someone in the grandstands."
Edwards was soon told by NASCAR that he was done for the day. In an act of defiance, went around the short 1/4-mile track used for the legends cars on the front stretch and backwards down pit road.
After parking his car at his hauler, Edwards said he "didn't intend to flip him," but said nothing about intentionally spinning him out.
Now, I'm not one to agree with Keselowski, because we all know he's an aggressive driver, but that was a bit over the limit on the part of Edwards.
I knew when NASCAR decided to take the reins off the drivers and basically say, "Have at it, boys," they had an idea what they were doing. I really don't think this was exactly what was on their minds.
That wreck could have sent Keselowski to the hospital, then what would Edwards have said? He feels bad it ended up like that? He didn't mean to send him to the local medical facility? Seriously, what would Edwards have said?
I really don't know what NASCAR is planning to do, as Edwards had to go to the "Oval Office," as it has been nicknamed, for a talk with Mike Helton.
There's probably a lot of fans that lost some respect for Edwards with his actions, both for the wreck and how he acted following his order from the tower. I know there's a lot of Keselowski fans that are calling for a suspension for him when the series goes to Bristol in two weeks.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, we don't know what NASCAR is going to do until at least Monday. There will probably be a hefty fine, that I can assure you, but as for suspensions, I'm not jumping the gun.
In any case, it's definitely a good time for an off-weekend because there's a lot of guys that need it.
All I can say is that today, we saw good and evil in Atlanta. An exciting race that left everyone speechless when the checkered flag waved.
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