400 Miles to History...Is This Finally the Day for The Captain?
What do all these men have in common? They are all longtime NASCAR owners, and they've all won championships. Do you notice someone missing? Someone who himself has been part of NASCAR for over 20 years? Our long NASCAR season began in Daytona back in February, with Matt Kenseth winning his second Daytona 500. Today, it all comes down to this, 2 drivers, 400 miles, and only one champion with history on the line and perhaps finally a long-awaited crowning moment.
Hello out there in FanIQ Land and welcome to a very special edition of the Blitzburgh Pit Stop. It looked as though Jimmie Johnson was on his way to perhaps a 6th title if he finished right where he was running at Phoenix, another championship for Rick Hendrick...but all of a sudden, it happened. The invincible 48, the car, the driver, the team that didn't falter for 5 years when in this familiar position, SMACK! Into the wall went Johnson off turn 4 and spent 30 laps behind the wall. Brad Keselowski, consistent as he's been all year, earned himself a top 10 finish, and goes to the season finale with history on the line. Johnson is the veteran, Brad is the brash new kid on the block. He's also on the verge of doing something for his car owner for the first time. If you haven't figured out the famous name missing from the list above by now, shame shame on you. The Captain, Roger Penske, has won nearly everything there is to win in motor sports. Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch both won championships, but both won them before driving for Penske. That's right, as hard as it is to believe, Roger Penske has never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Brad Keselowski is poised to change that today.
After qualifying Keselowski wound up 3rd on the grid. Joey Logano crashed in happy hour, relegating him to the rear of the field in a backup car. Clean cup, clean cup, MOVE DOWN! You know the drill, everyone on the inside line now moves up one row. This now puts Keselowski on the pole, Johnson starts 10th. He came into the race needing to finish 15th or better. If he leads a lap, which he now has a chance to do right off the bat, it's 16th or better. If he leads the most, 17th or better. He can deliver the first title to his owner, and can also accomplish something that has only been done once before. Brad won a Nationwide Series championship. Bobby Labonte is the only driver in NASCAR history to win both a then Busch (1991) and Winston Cup championship (2000).
I'll keep this short and sweet, since race day is upon us and there's only so much you can say at this point. My pick for race winner is Carl Edwards. This place has been a perennial House of Roush, and SOMETHING has to go right for the 99 team this year, right? My dark horse starts on the front row, Marcos Ambrose. Is this the day he finally wins on an oval?
Lastly, I say yes, it finally is Roger Penske's time. They say in order to be the best you have to beat the best. Well, Brad Keselowski has done it for 35 races, and I believe he can do it for 400 more miles. When the sun goes down tonight, the Captain will finally have the title that has eluded him since he came to NASCAR in 1991, championship car owner!
Until next time, I'm Bryan Kramer for The Blitzburgh Pit Stop saying it's finally time for the Blue Deuce to be #1!
BK over and out