Carfax 250: Winners and Losers

Patti RodischAnalyst IAugust 16, 2009

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 15:  Brad Keselowski, driver of the #88 GoDaddy Chevrolet, celebrates with his crew cheif Tony Eury Sr. in victory lane after Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2009 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

The Nationwide boys headed into the big track in the Irish Hills this weekend. Many of the drivers described the track as hot and slick and with multiple racing grooves.

With drivers racing side by side check out which drivers were the winners and which drivers were losers in this week’s edition were.


Winners

Brad Keselowski

You know Brad Keselowski reminds me of the youngest child, always there, always wanting to be like the older siblings. Taking advantage of when the siblings get in trouble. Keselowski though hasn’t been able to take advantage of Busch and Carl Edwards until Saturday.

With Edwards crashing out Keselowski needed to take advantage of Edwards misfortune and that he did. Quickly moving up into the top five and then getting a break when the caution came out before he made his first pit stop.

Keselowski continued to run in the top five for the rest of the day. On a late pit call Tony Eury Sr. took a gamble only two tires and came off pit road leading. Keselowski lined up in second as Justin Allgaier did not pit.

Keselowski fell back on the restarts but hung tough in third. While a very loose Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch battled in front Keselowski came from nowhere and ran the perfect lap when it counted.

Taking the outside line and using that momentum to not only take second but to take the checkered. Like every driver winning at their home track is huge, and Keselowski gets another chance tomorrow in the Cup race.

Busch said Keselowski didn’t deserve the win, but I think a few thousand fans in the stands and at home would beg to differ.

Points: Third


Brian Vickers

Brian Vickers loves Michigan. Taking two poles this weekend and dominating the Nationwide race. While he didn’t win, he made the headlines. Vickers started up front and stayed up front.

He struggled on the restarts but was able to reel in Busch after a few laps on new tires.

Vickers car was wicked loose over the final runs of the race. At times he was turning right more than left. He lost the race because in attempt to catch the car after Busch made him loose on a pass attempt.

He didn’t realize Keselowski was coming and was unable to hold off Keselowski with such a loose car.

Vickers and Busch got into a war of words on pit road and tempers heated but cooler heads prevailed. Vickers defended his actions on the track admitting he didn’t realize Keselowski was closing in.

Vickers gets to do it all again Sunday when he starts on the pole.

“I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show," Vickers said, But Vickers has put on a show all weekend long with fast race cars and finishes to back it up.

Points: 21st


Austin Dillon

Austin Dillon 19th place finish is spectacular, but for this young driver finishes like this is exactly what he needed, to not only get seat time but gain some confidence in this series.

Dillon started 37th on Saturday but quickly started moving forward and found himself within the top 15 after pit cycles. Dillon battled a loose race car but was able to maintain position late in the race.

Dillon and his crew had solid pit stops and he gave good feedback throughout the race. Michigan is a big track and if you’re not careful it can tear up your race car and Dillon left in one piece.

Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress, looks like the driving talent continues in that family.

Points: 70th


Losers

Carl Edwards

Well Carl Edwards said that Michigan was his first race to charge Busch for the championship. Well that ended in two laps. As Edwards and Trevor Bayne got together in turn two and Edwards took the brunt of the crash.

Hitting the wall hard and all but ending his day before it even started. Edwards looked to have just gotten a bit too loose, and came down on Bayne before they cleared each other.

Edwards finished 40th.

Edwards who has won twice in the Nationwide series in 2009, but can’t seem to carry that momentum from week to week. With Kyle Busch running up front, Edwards couldn’t afford finishes like this if he really wants to be a threat for the championship.

Edwards watched the replay of his championship hopes crash in front of him.

Points: Second


Brendan Gaughan

It has been a rough couple weeks for Brendan Gaughan, after a hot start to the summer Gaughan has watched his gap between himself and the top five drivers in the standings grow each week.

Gaughan had a good run going; he was struggling with an extremely loose race car and was running in the top 20 for most of the day.

His crew battled the loose conditioned when they thought it was getting better, Gaughan blew a tire and watched his day literally fall apart. He finished 29th.

Gaughan is looking for some of his early season success that solidified his position in the top 10.

Points: Ninth


Brad Coleman

You know Brad Coleman has a lot to live up to driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing. When Joey Logano was running that car, Logano won and ran fairly well every time. Coleman hoped to carry that success when he was driving the car.

Coleman though has not found that success. He had a strong run going today, starting fifth and ran well within the top 10-15 for most of the day.

His team really focused on getting Coleman seat time this weekend and really focusing on getting on and off pit road at the speeds they are running coming off turn four.

Coleman though hit the wall late and watched his day go from good to bad in just a few laps.

Coleman has the talent to bring the car home with good finishes but he doesn’t seem to have the luck. His finish of 23rd doesn’t really show just how good he ran.

Points: 47th


Lucky Dog…

Brian Keselowski and Michael McDowell are one of my favorite stories this year is the unlikely pairing of this race team. McDowell lost his ride at JTG Daugherty when the money ran out earlier this season.

McDowell just looking to race and Keselowski trying to save his race team, teamed up and with Keselowski as his crew chief and earned a 17th place finish on Saturday.

McDowell ran a smart race, and the team worked on the car and battled the same loose conditions that everyone else did. Keselowski called a great race from atop the box.

McDowell moved up to 10th in the drivers’ standings and Keselowski is saving his race team.


Final Lap…

Once again fans were treated to some of the best racing we have seen. The Nationwide series is living up to its reputation, week after week drivers are racing hard and for every position. The drivers are putting on a great show.

Even though Busch has all but run away from the field for the championship every driver out there is driving hard and for every point, which is what the fans pay to see.

I have to give ESPN credit, I was a bit hesitant with the trial format of “backseat drivers” but it actually turned out pretty good.

They seemed to cover the field very well, and were able to explain the racing all around the track without it becoming a battle for which announce got the final word.

Say what you want about Rusty Wallace but he is not afraid to speak his mind and he is not afraid if you don’t like what he says.

This week he has spoken out against start and parks and in the past voiced his opinion about Busch and double duty drivers.

That’s refreshing, so many drivers and crew chiefs and announcers don’t want to say the wrong thing and finally to hear a driver say what fans are thinking is great to hear.

Next up the bull ring, Bristol!

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