January 30th, 2015
Brad Keselowski made one heck of a move to get between the battling cars of Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick to pick up the win in the MyAfibStory.com 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway. With the win, Keselowski is guaranteed to move on to the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The term driving the wheels off a car is thrown around a lot, but Kyle Larson did a heck of a job to try and get his first career Cup win. He threw that car all around, up high and low to try and get victory. It was cool to see Jeff Gordon stop by to give Larson some words of advice, rather than yelling at Larson for being so aggressive.
The Cinderella story that most latched onto during this first Chase race was Aric Almirola busting some brackets out there. Almirola was stout, hitting fifth place at one point, but his day was busted when his engine expired on lap 232. It’s worth noting he tested at Chicagoland, which could have been the secret to his success, whereas he did not test at New Hampshire or Dover.
Those in trouble after the first of three races include Almirola (41st place finish), Greg Biffle (23rd), AJ Allmendinger (22nd), and Carl Edwards (20th). Ryan Newman dodged a bullet after losing three laps due to a blown tire and finished 15th, but has to pick it up to move on. Biffle, Almirola, and Allmendinger I had pegged as dropping out after the first round, I just thought Edwards would have more to open with.
Larson finished third and his teammate Jamie McMurray was ninth, while leading 32 laps in the race. This goes to show Chip Ganassi Racing is for real and will be a force moving forward.
Despite pit road spins Kurt Busch (8th) and Matt Kenseth (10th) were able to recover for good finishes. They were both better than the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (11th), Jimmie Johnson (12th), and Kasey Kahne (13th).
Fun times for families as Kurt and Kyle Busch got into each other, eliciting name calling over who was at fault. There was also the run in between Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and girlfriend Danica Patrick which will lead to a fun plane ride home.
Not sure about this pitch to make drivers into nations as part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup promos. NASCAR would be better served copying the other football, the American version not soccer, in the promo department. Although, with the NFL’s recent trouble of players being less than stellar citizens, maybe they should go the soccer route.
History note, Brad Keselowski led enough laps to pass two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Joe Weatherly for 56th on the all-time list during this race. Up next for Keselowski is Marvin Panch for 55th.