Any time the NASCAR Nationwide series hits a short track we are guaranteed some excitement. Friday night was no different after a wild finish at Talladega, would Richmond be able to duplicate the excitement?
Check out the winners and losers of the Bubba Burger 250.
It didn’t take long for Brad Keselowski to quiet the naysayers who questioned the validity of his win at Talladega. Keselowski came out and dominated the race on Friday night, he led 189 laps enroute to his eighth victory in the NNS and first this season.
It was pretty impressive what Keselowski did on Friday night. Not only was the setup on his car near perfect his crew was getting it done on pit road. A late race caution saw him hit pit road only Kyle Busch stayed out along with Justin Allgaier. In the end four tires prevailed, as Keselowski passed Busch, Allgaier and Greg Biffle who only took two tires.
At Darlington Raceway Keselowski will be looking to make it three wins in a row. He will have some work to do as his average finish is 20.7 in his three previous starts at the track. Keselowski is more than capable to run well at Darlington if he can qualify well.
It was only a few weeks ago that Kelly Bires was released from JR Motorsports he was back in a ride with Braun Racing.In 2009 while he was not running full time he ran a couple races for Braun Racing and admitted to working well with the team.
On Friday night he started 25th and quickly moved forward and ran just outside the top 10 for most of the night. Bires and the team did a good job of keeping up with the track, he finished 11th.
It’s a shame Bires doesn’t have a ride early this season he got caught up in wrecks not of making and then found himself out of a ride. Bires has the talent to run well and contend if he can just find the chemistry between himself and a crew chief.
It’s not easy to focus on racing when the small things have your attention. On Thursday, Willie Allen’s father passed away the night before the race. Allen drove with his wife overnight from Tennessee to Richmond just in time for practice.
Early in the race he was moving forward after starting last, but when Michael Annett got loose underneath him, Allen spun out and had to hit pit road for tires. On the very next caution he got the lucky dog. He ended up going another lap and finishing 27th.
The finish might not have been what he wanted but he drove for his father and finished the race. That alone gives him a nod on this week’s winners.
Of all the drivers doing double duty I thought for sure that Clint Bowyer would be up front early and often. Instead a poor qualifying run had him battling from the very beginning of the race. It was not the race Bowyer was hoping for.
Bowyer really struggled in traffic and the long green flag run after the tow quick cautions cost them. Unable to hit pit road to make adjustments and the leader Keselowski lapping the field at a torrid pace, Bowyer was one lap down early and actually ended up two laps down. At a track where he has found success he finished 23rd.
At Darlington Bowyer’s numbers are pretty decent. In fact his average finish is 8.5 and his average running position was 9.4. Bowyer runs up front at Darlington and I think if this team can get the setup right he could be a contender Friday.
I had a lot of high hopes for Trevor Bayne. I really thought he would have a strong run tonight. After starting in sixth he quickly dropped back and what looked promising early turned into one to forget fairly early.
Bayne just was never able to get his hands around the car and with the long green runs he was unable to work on the car he fell two laps off the pace and finished 21st. Not what he was looking to do especially after his strong qualifying lap.
Bayne will be heading to Darlington Raceway for the first time. It is not an easy track to run and we have seen veterans struggle on the track. Welcome to the Darlington.
We are seeing a different Justin Allgaier this season, in fact I think we’re seeing a very hungry driver. Allgaier has not been afraid to beat and bang with the Sprint Cup drivers and he doesn’t back down.
On Friday night that was no different, he was the most aggressive on the restarts taking it three wide. He made no apologies and is showing there is no sophomore slump in his future. It was the final caution and restart that hurt him the most. After running in the top five all night long he opted to stay out on older tires, on the restart he paid dearly getting shuffled back to 15th.
Not the finish he was hoping for or deserved. At Darlington this weekend it will be his second visit to the track. Last season he had a solid run and finish of fifth. It was very impressive run and finish at a track that has been known to test the best this sport has ever seen.
Friday night’s race was a great race. Keselowski dominated that race and showed just why he is a championship threat. Now they head to Darlington which will be no picnic for the many of these drivers.
Looking in from the outside the egg shaped oval doesn’t look difficult to drive. The track is aging and the drive off the corners means it feels like you are driving into the walls and for some they do exactly that.
My picks to watch on Friday are Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Brian Scott.
The Royal Purple 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts is Friday at 7 ET on ESPN2.