RICHMOND, VA – Saturday night at Richmond reminds me of that Waylon Jenning’s song “Just good ol’ boys, Never meaning no harm, Beats all you ever saw, Been in trouble with the law, sInce the day they were born.” Short track racing certainly can bring out the tempers, and last Saturday night was no exception with Brad Keselowski waving his finger at Matt Kenseth and Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears throwing punches in the garage. “Those 43 NASCAR drivers gave us some aggressive driving” commented Darrell Waltrip, “there is an old saying ‘kick the tires and light the fires.’ Well, they didn’t even need to kick them for the fires to happen!”
Joey Logano seemed to be able to stay out of trouble the best and was awarded a hard fought win with Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch taking 2nd and 3rd. Following a late caution period for JJ Yeley’s engine failure, the restart with only seven laps to go resulted in a four way fight between Kenseth, Keselowski, Gordon, and Logano. Kenseth was on top at the restart with Keselowski hard on his tail. Keselowski was running fast at the top of the track, but Kenseth was no way going to let him by, putting some blocking moves on the Ford. Keselowski didn’t appreciate Matt’s move and gave him a hard check to let him know. During the melee, Logano was in the opportune spot able to pass the duo with four laps to go. Gordon and Busch came up strong also getting around Kenseth and Keselowski. Kenseth ended up fifth behind Keselowski.
But it didn’t end there. Keselowski still upset that he was not able to win the race, slammed on his brakes in front of Kenseth causing contact with Gordon and Earnhardt. “The extracurriculars,” Kenseth said, “pushed the confrontation over the line.“ Of course Kenseth and Keselowski weren’t the only hot tempers at the track. Mears was upset following a move the Aussie made during the race when he dove down under Mears going three wide in a corner. Mears felt that was an unwise move, and when they saw each other in the garage, they became heated with Ambrose throwing a punch resulting in a black eye for Mears. The two have talked it out since, and NASCAR is reviewing the incident.
Tires were the other big topic for the weekend with several tire failures that ended in fires. Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Cole Whitt, and Reed Sorenson all had their tires go up in smoke. Goodyear brought out a new multi-zone tire combination. The tire had a 10” section of a known compound, with a 2” inner section of a new, high temperature compound. It appears that the tires were coming apart, and as the treads came entangled in the wheel and suspension, caught fire from the heat of the brakes. Kyle Busch commented “(It’s) really tough for all of us to, for one, keep the tires under our cars, and for putting a harder compound on the outside edge (and) having it cord and come apart, and actually it's supposed to be more durable, I think was just not the right way to go obviously for Goodyear.” Goodyear commented that the well balanced cars did not have issues. I am sure this won’t be the last we hear of this.