This weekend marked the first race of The Chase at Chicagoland, and 1.5-mile flat oval that has been known to come down to fuel mileage. Although it was the kickoff to the playoffs, here are some headline-worthy events that have happened in the past week.
Ryan Blaney Wins Iowa, Becomes Youngest Truck Series Winner
There is a feeling you get when you’re watching someone race that tells you, “This kid is going somewhere.” It resonated with me Saturday night while watching young Blaney cross the finish line in first place. At 18, he is the youngest winner in the series, and he also delivered the first win for Brad Keselowski Racing.
As many drivers and racing veterans noticed, Ryan is the real deal. I wholeheartedly agree, and I can’t wait to watch his career grow.
Brad Keselowski Snatches Win, Now Points Leader
A controversial blend into the track after a green flag pit stop made Keselowski the leader, taking it from Jimmie Johnson. Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, immediately went to a NASCAR official and complained.
Boo freakin’ hoo. Chad and Jimmie only freaked because they knew Brad had the better car. At least Five Time admitted that afterwards.
So, Keselowski and Johnson were big gainers this week in points, as were Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer. Big losers were Matt Kenseth, who lost a shock, and Jeff Gordon, who hit the wall after the throttle stuck. This gives Brad a whopping three-point lead over the #48.
It’s still early, so everyone is still a factor. The next race is at New Hampshire, where Chase contender Kahne won earlier this season. Look out for the #5, the team coming off a third place finish from this Sunday.
Tony Eury Jr. and JR Motorsports Part Ways
If the NASCAR world wobbled after Tony Eury Sr. left JRM, then it experienced an earthquake when Eury Jr. exited Monday. Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JRM, released a statement, stating that he thought of the younger Eury as a brother and that he wouldn’t speak badly of him. Ryan Pemberton will be his replacement at New Hampshire as Danica Patrick’s crew chief.
Some are relieved that he is out as Patrick’s crew chief, yet I am not one of them. Apparently, he was the reason they have lacked success? I don’t think so.
But, I don’t make the decisions. I hope JRM is happy with their decision.
Allmendinger Reinstated By NASCAR after Finishing Road to Recovery
It was announced Tuesday that, after finishing the Road to Recovery offered by NASCAR, A.J. Allmendinger has been reinstated. The rehab-like program was chosen by Allmendinger after he failed a random drug test after the Kentucky race. He claimed in an interview that a friend gave him a pill while out on the tow
As I type, rumors are swirling on Twitter that he will get a low-tier ride in NASCAR soon enough. That will probably not be the case. Although I am pleased he overcame this obstacle, he has damaged his image in this series, repelling sponsors and a few fans.
If he is offered a ride, it may be with Penske in the IndyCar series, which has been mentioned many times, or in Grand-Am.