Heading into todays race in Hampton Georgia, nobody could have predicted the outcome we witnessed. A dozen caution flags, including two attempts at a green flag finish, brought another wild end to the fourth race in this young NASCAR season.
Finally, the dominant car of the day, Kurt Busch's #2 Miller Lite Dodge, went to Victory Lane. It's the same place he found himself last year in Atlanta. The Blue Deuce was battling for most of the day with Kasey Kahne's #9 Budweiser Ford.
Only one other car might have had something for Busch in the late going , and that was the #42 Target Chevrolet of Juan Pablo Montoya. Unfortunately the late race caution caused by Carl Edwards' need for payback, sealed Juan's 3rd place finish.
This isn't the first time Carl Edwards has been involved in a late race accident. We all remember last year's incident at Talladega with Brad Keselowski. Fast forward to today at lap 40. The #12 Penske Dodge and the #99 Scott's Ford Fusion came together going into turn one. According to Keselowski and from what I saw, Carl came down on Brad.
Keselowski says he tried to lift and let him in, but it was too late, and after Edwards saw the initial replay, didn't place blame on anyone. One of them racin' deals I guess. Keselowski continued to race with some minor cosmetic damage and was well on his way to a top 5 finish. The #99 crew went behind the wall and made the nessesary repairs to get Carl back out, but almost 170 laps down.
Everyone was getiing ready for another close finish between Busch and Montoya, when Edwards decided to send Keselowski for a little spin. He admitted in the interview following, that his intention wasn't for Brad to get airborne. Thankfully these racecars are built strong, and BK wasn't hurt. Thankfully, racetracks build fencing strong enough to stop cars from entering the grandstands, and thankfully there was a SAFER barrier along the wall where BK hit.
In my opinion, and I hope NASCAR does something to prevent this from EVER happening again, Carl should sit out a few races to consider his actions. Intentionally wrecking a competitor is uncalled for. Sure NASCAR wants drivers to show some emotion on the racetrack, but when it could kill somebody, a line needs to be drawn.
Wait two weeks, Bristol's coming up. Wrecking someone there never looks intentional. It's just Bristol. I'm glad NASCAR stepped in right away and parked Edwards.
As for the rest of todays action, there was plenty of it. Tire issues among three of four Hendrick cars proved near fatal to all but Jimmie Johnson. Without those last cautions, Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. would have finished out of the top 20. Mark Martin got caught up in the last wreck and wound up 33rd, Gordon hung on for an 18th place finish and Junior, who looked promising early, then found himself two laps down, somehow managed a 15th.
The surprises of the day were the top ten finishers. Names we normally don't see up there. Paul Menard, A.J. Almindinger, Brian Vickers and his Red Bull teammate Scott Speed, all had solid finishes. Atlanta never fails to produce some excitememt, and today's Kobalt Tools 500 was no exception.
Everyone now gets a week to cool off, or for some, a chance to stew over todays happenings. In two weeks we will see if cooler heads will prevail. For some reason I think the fireworks might just continue.
Time for some Thunder in the Valley at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.
See ya all in Bristol.
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