Cars and fists fly in Vegas
It was week number three in NASCAR world. It was Vegas, baby! This time what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas!
The Cup event had a dominating performance, a late-race pass for the lead, mechanical failures, crashing coming to the finish and a fight/beat down after the race. Excitement in Las Vegas, this all happened in the Monster Energy Cup series race! The Xfinity Series also ran there so we will look at that race first.
The Boyd’s Gaming 300 was run Saturday afternoon with picture-perfect weather. Kyle Busch took the pole position and appeared to be class of the field. This could have made for another snooze fest but this time Kyle had some issues that cost him a good finish. Kyle did win the first stage of the event.
Cup drivers kept regular Xfinity drivers from winning very many points or any of the playoff points available. This needs to be addressed by NASCAR. It’s not fair to those competing for a championship to be denied the chance to earn these points.
Brad Keselowski won the second stage. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. was treated before and after the race for flu-like symptoms and was able to finish sixth in the event even though he was not feeling well. Joey Logano drove his Penske Racing Ford Mustang No. 12 to its third win in as many races as this second team has entered. Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez were second and third. Justin Allgaier was the first Xfinity driver finishing fourth ahead of yet another Cup driver, Austin Dillon.
This event was rather calm. It was a good race with drama and multi-groove racing and passing.
This was the quiet before the storm, however.
Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 was crazy at the finish! Martin Truex Jr. proved that his domination at Charlotte last year was not just a one-hit wonder. He was fastest in practice; however, Brad Keselowski captured the pole. Martin sprinted out to the early lead and captured both stages. There was great racing, sometimes three and four wide.
As the final laps were winding down it appeared Keselowski had the car to beat Truex. The cars came to the white flag and Keselowski began to falter. Truex swept by him to take the lead.
As Keselowski drove down the back straight at a much-reduced speed, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano caught up with him. Kyle didn’t realize the speed difference until the last second and he veered to the left. At that point he made contact with Logano’s right front corner. They raced on to turn three, where Logano got in a little too hard and the back end stepped out. He chased it up the track and hit Busch’s car in the left rear, causing him to spin.
They were racing for fourth and Kyle wound up finishing 22nd. He was not happy!
After the race Kyle went to Logano’s pit and punched him once before Joey’s crew carried Joey away and jumped on Kyle. Kyle was pulled away by NASCAR officials with a visible cut above his right eye.
NASCAR stated Monday the incident was under review but felt it was nothing intentional on the track and they would probably not get involved in the fight incident.
As all this was taking place in the pits, Martin Truex was celebrating his victory with his Furniture Row Racing team in victory lane. Kyle Larson came on strong at the end and raced to second. Chase Elliott had another great run, finishing third. Logano barely beat Keselowski for fourth. The Keselowski team stated it was a wheel hub problem on the right front that caused him to loose brakes at the end, which caused the erratic finishing speeds. Brad held on to fifth at the end.
This week it’s off to Phoenix for both series again. Local racing will only be a few weeks away. Practice starts at the end of April and the season kicks off the first Friday in May at Elkins Raceway.
Remember, at the end of the straight there’s Another Left Turn!