Saturday, August 15, 2009

Out of nowhere: Brad Keselowski wins CarFax 250 at Michigan & ESPN2 has all champions in booth.

Earlier today at Michigan International Speedway, there was a shack up going on in the ESPN TV Broadcast booth. Gone is the play by play announcer (sort of speck) and in is four NASCAR champions doing what I call a round table discussion while watching/covering the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Speaking on the round table discussion in the TV booth for a moment, normally when I watch either the Nationwide Series or the Cup Series ESPN TV Broadcasts, it looks like its scripted coverage.

ESPN, one thing you must remember is, “NASCAR races are NOT scripted, no one knows the outcome, yes not even NASCAR. “ So with that said, earlier today’s race was a welcome change, change in some ways is good and this was better.

The whole concept of covering events: whether it’s a sports event, a concert or in this case a NASCAR race is to show the entire thing and not favor one person or in the case of racing the lead battle only. NASCAR fans want to watch the entire race, know what is going on through the entire field.

Full field rundowns are a great thing. In NASCAR especially, fans route for different drivers, I am a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart. I also like to see how the rest of Hendrick Motorsports as well as Roush-Fenway Racing are doing throughout the race.

Fans want to see battles throughout the field and at least a through the field on how each driver is doing every 100 miles, the driver -- are lose, tight, did they take tires on the last pit stop and not just who is leading or who is in the top 5 or what Kyle Busch is doing. Sometimes I will look at the results following the race and see a driver on the list and say, where was that driver all day long…he wasn’t covered, he wasn’t on television.

While the round table discussion (that was a welcome change, of course three champions might have been better) was going on in the booth, the action was heating up on the racetrack in the CarFax 250 from the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Normally a 2 mile d-shaped oval – Michigan International Speedway is known for boring, long, drawn out, single file racing that sometimes has a few moments of excitement, well this was one of those days. But with every long and drawn out race, especially in the middle of the race comes an interesting finish and today had just that surprise ending.

A race is broken down into three parts, first the start, second the middle and third the finish. In the case of most races, the fans know that the start and the finish are going to be the most exciting and it was. As one NASCAR fan said to me, “it’s about two hours of long and drawn out racing followed by 5 minutes of excitement.”

So that brings us to earlier today’s final laps. After the final double-file restart (double-file restarts are cool to watch, fans want side-by-side racing and to be able to follow who is racing who), two drivers got out front, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch.

Busch and Vickers battled back and forth for the lead. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski was closing on the lead two-car pack. Vickers had the lead and was trying just about everything to stay in front, block Busch on track. And then it happened, coming to the white flag, Vickers came off the corner lose and pushed Busch (who had a run off turn 4) all the way to the grass. What a block, I thought Vickers was going to run Busch into the grass and wreck him.

Keselowski had a head of stream and on the outside, made it three wide for the lead going into turn 1. Vickers was still all over Busch (and not knowing Keselowski was there), Keselowski made his move, grabbing the lead off turn 2.

Brad Keselowski would go on, holding off both Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch to win the CarFax 250, his first victory at Michigan International Speedway and in of his hometown fans.

What a finish and he most fans who were watching the race (including me) thought this race was going to be a 1-2 Toyota finish and Toyota would have their first Michigan win, however it wasn’t going to be. I don’t know what Brian Vickers was thinking, but he cosseted Toyota there victory by trying to take out Busch in the final laps.

After the race, while Keselowski was “speechless” in victory lane after the win saying “Oh my God, I won at home", "I'm terrible here [Michigan], and to win here is a major accomplishment. It's so cool to win in front of your hometown fans.", on pit road, Kyle Busch was pissed, he slid his car right in front of Vickers Toyota (almost hitting a NASCAR official) to get out and tell Vickers what he thought. Busch said what he said in Vickers window and walked away. Vickers got out and went after Busch…personally I waiting for a fight.

I personally loved the comments after the race, Kyle Busch said "I'm sure I'm complaining and I'm whining and I'm a crybaby, but that's uncalled for," Busch said. "That's just stupid. I would have ran my own line instead of giving it to the third-place car and battle it out between the top two who deserved to win and deserved to battle the race out at the end. He [Keselowski] didn't deserve to win."

Busch had every right to be upset, Vickers was just stupid with forcing Busch down to the grass, but Busch was wrong, Keselowski was smart, stayed out of the mess and deserved to win the race.

Then Brian Vickers responded by saying "I am so sorry. I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show. I thought we were out there racing for the win. I thought it was my job to hold him off - maybe not.”

"He came over to the car after he knocked our fender in and started crying like a little baby. I asked him if he would just give me a minute to get out, we could talk about it like men. If he wanted to fight, that's fine with me. As soon as I got out, he ran off." – Comments from ESPN2 TV broadcast and the SceneDaily article. I used the Scene Daily to check the comments, good job.

What a race and as I said on Twitter after the race “Congrats to Brad for winning the NASCAR Nationwide race -- while Vickers tries to wreck Busch, to finish 2-3. Chevy wins, Toyota 2nd again.”



At his hometown track, Michigan-native Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 88 GoDaddy Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag as he crosses the start finish/line ahead of Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 32 Dollar General Stores Toyota, to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images via NASCARmedia.com)