NASCAR fans got a bonus with the race at Richmond; it was a two for one special. Not only was there one of the best races we’ve seen in a long time, fans also got treated to a little “Saturday Night At The Fights.” The headliner featured a mean right hook by Marcos Ambrose after a shove from Casey Mears; the undercard, a more familiar NASCAR refrain of love taps, finger pointing and bent sheet metal- this time between former champions Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth.
While the scrap between Mears and Ambrose is easily understandable, in this opinion, the sense of indignation felt by Keselowski is another matter- a head scratcher. Why is it that those who race the hardest bellow the loudest when they get raced hard?
Please don’t misunderstand me; I think Brad Keselowski is good for the sport. His pedal to the metal, unsophisticated approach to racing offers a pleasant counter-balance in a sport crawling with drivers too afraid of irking their sponsors. Most of the time, he will find agreement in these quarters. Not this time.
The purpose of racing is to win, right? Matt Kenseth was trying to win a race. Yes, he was blocking. Yes, that opens you up for the possibility of getting turned. Yes, it is a legitimate tactic if you’re willing to live with the risks. As it was, Joey Logano capitalized, slipping by the 2, the 24 of Jeff Gordon and the 20 to take the checkered flag. No problem, right?
Not according to Keselowski, who apparently felt that Kenseth ran him off the track “You race to win and he was definitely racing to win but you hope that when somebody races to win that they at least win the race if they wreck you or run you off the racetrack. It was just a mind-boggling move to me. But I made sure I got him back and made sure my teammate won the race.” Kenseth said “I did drive in there and try to give him the slide job, absolutely. I was trying to watch both lanes and I was trying to win the race. I think that’s what all five of us were trying to do up there.” Is this a problem? Keselowski gave Kenseth a nice shot in the rear, and then there was the brake-checking after the race.
Come on Brad, it’s short track racing, and you would do the same thing! Is it only fair when you do it? It’s hard to follow the logic here. One wonders with a look at the video and with a little reflection, Keselowski won’t see it differently. Perhaps, perhaps not. Were Kenseth or Keselowski going to win the race? Not likely. Blocking- especially trying to block two cars- is not often a winning maneuver, but you have to try if you can’t set sail, right? It smells of the schoolyard bully who can dish it out, but can’t take it.
He says he’ll remember it, and be sure that will work two ways. We know that Keselowski is a hard charger, and you know what, that’s o.k. Just remember that the way you race is the way you’ll get raced. Remember, Kenseth was also known in some circles as “Matt the Brat.” A track announcer from Kenseth’s early days recalls that while some employ the “bump and run,” Kenseth had his “touch and excuse me” technique.
Perhaps when it comes to this little dust up, Keselowski would do well to heed the advice of his former boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Get over it.”