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Kyle Busch! A Texas sweep, with victory in the NRA 500. But NASCAR busts Keselowski and Logano in pre-race inspection, Truex flunks post-race, and Keselowski explodes

Kyle Busch! A Texas sweep, with victory in the NRA 500. But NASCAR busts Keselowski and Logano in pre-race inspection, Truex flunks post-race, and Keselowski explodes

No guns in Texas' victory lane for NRA 500 winner Kyle Busch this time, thanks to cranky Washington politicians (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   FORT WORTH, Texas
   Give Kyle Busch the inside of the front row for a restart and it's usually all over.
   The best pure driver in NASCAR? Well, it may be a toss-up between Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
   But the best driver on restarts in this sport is Busch, without question.
   Busch polished his rep with another victory in Saturday night's Texas NRA 500, leading half the race and rarely challenged on the track for the lead.
   "When that caution came, my boys stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam, 11.7," Busch said almost gleefully.
  Two years ago here, remember, Busch was suspended for the weekend after an altercation. So sweeping this weekend's Nationwide 300 and Sprint Cup 500 was sweet indeed.

  "Kyle is the fastest man in Texas," crew chief Dave Rogers said.
   However now the next great NASCAR drama will be played out back in North Carolina in a few days, before the Sprint Cup tour heads to Kansas City for next Sunday's Kansas 400 – NASCAR officials will be sitting in judgment of the Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano teams and crew chiefs, after finding some parts they didn't like under the rear ends of those two cars in pre-race inspection Saturday afternoon.
    Major suspensions and fines could be looming for the sport's defending champions.

   And runnerup Truex may face penalties too, after NASCAR inspectors said his car was "too low" in post-race inspection. Any penalties would come next week.

    Keselowski was angry at NASCAR's actions pre-race, and said he felt NASCAR officials had "targeted" the Penske team for some reason. He called the actions "shameful."

   And, without indicating all the areas he was displeased with, Keselowski said bluntly "We're not going to take it. We're not going to be treated this way."

   Keselowski said he "very worried" that NASCAR would suspend Wolfe.

   Brad Keselowski (L) and crew chief Paul Wolfe. Will NASCAR suspend Wolfe? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Though Busch was strong all night, he needed a great pit stop the last time in to regain command late, as evenly matched as he was with Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Gordon.
   Truex was leading Busch by a comfortable five seconds when the caution came out with 75 miles to go. That was right at the fuel mileage window, and Truex was pitting just as the yellow was called. Truex' right-front had worn into the cords, so that stop was timed about perfectly.
    The stop went smoothly for Truex, who had the lead for the restart with 44 laps to go. And Truex jumped back to a quick lead. But Busch's crew was banking on tires being a late-race issue, so told Busch to save his tires for a final sprint. Busch began that charge with 21 to go….but then got a big break with the final caution of the night, for debris.
    As much of an advantage as fresh tires are here, all the top drivers pitted. And Busch won the battle off pit road.
   "The race was over when we got beat out of the pits," Truex said painfully, the heartbreak obvious.
   "The bottom was so fast.
    "We should have been able to beat him out. And it wasn't all pit position (Busch had the best pit, because of winning the pole)…
   "Then I was really worried about losing second (to a fast closing trio of Fords).
   "We've had a tough season….tired of finishing second. That's getting old."
   Truex' first and only tour win was in 2007.
   "When it's been that long since you won, to run this well and not win, it sucks," Truex said. "It hurts when you give them away. It takes so much to have a car to beat Jimmie Johnson and those guys.
   "That's where we've got to get better."

    Carl Edwards has the victory backflip, Jimmie Johnson the victory burnout, and Kyle Busch has the victory bow to the crowd, which he's performed twice now this season. This time Busch didn't need a miracle comeback as he did three weeks ago at California.
    So it was a one-two night for Toyota, with Ford, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, taking the rest of the top five in the 3-1/2-hour race.
   Chevrolet? Johnson was off, though finishing sixth. Gordon ran third most of the night, in one of his best performances of the spring – only to go behind the wall with a broken right-front wheel hub with just 30 miles left.
    Toyota's runs were expected. Ford's runs weren't, even though this has long been a Ford track, particularly a Jack Roush Ford track.
   And it didn't look good for Ford men most of the evening.
    "It was pretty eventful," Ford's Edwards, third, said in understatement.
   "I was ready to pit and stay in there for a lap early and fix whatever we needed, as bad as we were running. Fortunately we stayed out.
   "Then we had a problem with the exhaust system….then my seat belts came loose and I had to retighten them.
     "I know Martin isn't happy with second but I'm real happy with third. We're in the dart-throwing stage, maybe with a blindfold. We've got to get better. Maybe the tire threw us for a loop. I don't feel confident we could come back here next week and pull off another third."

  NASCAR inspectors didn't like everything they saw under Brad Keselowski's car. Penalties may be coming (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   However the biggest story of the night might have come even before the green:
   Keselowski and Logano were in deep trouble before the 500 got started.
   NASCAR inspectors confiscated the rear ends and related suspension parts from the two drivers' Penske Fords during final pre-race inspection.
   Keselowski managed to get his car through inspection and onto the starting grid in time to hold his 16th starting spot. But Logano's crew was slower and didn't get to the grid in time, and NASCAR put Logano at the rear of the field, because his car wasn't on the line yet when the command came 'Gentlemen, start your engines."
   Yet Logano made an amazing run to finish fifth, in contention late. Keselowski managed to finish ninth.
   "It was a little too close for comfort," Logano conceded. "If you'd have told me I'd finish fifth, I'd have given you a hug."

  Joey Logano's car got the same scrutiny as his teammate's...and the penalties may be just as severe (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   NASCAR said it would take the parts from the two Penske cars back to the R&D center in Concord, N.C., for further consideration, and any penalties would be determined next week.
   Usually those penalties are announced Tuesday, but with Keselowski scheduled to meet President Obama at the White House Tuesday, any penalties could be delayed till Wednesday.
   Speculation in the garage among rival crew chiefs focused on the possibility of six-week suspensions and $100,000 fines for the two crew chiefs, Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Todd Gordon (Logano). That would be in line with other penalties for similar violations. A six-week suspension would cover the Kansas, Richmond, Talladega, Darlington, Charlotte All-Star and Charlotte 600 races.
   Any points penalty levied could be even more devastating. Keselowski went into Saturday night's 500 second in the Sprint Cup standings, just six points down to Jimmie Johnson; Logano was 11th.
   However NASCAR executives have wide latitude in such judgment.
   The apparent issue: modifying the rear end in order to make the car run better through the corners. Last year Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, came up with some rear end tricks to accomplish that, and Johnson went on a mid-season tear. Rivals, when they finally understood what Knaus and Johnson were doing, questioned NASCAR, and NASCAR said it was all legal. That didn't really set well with rivals, who then cranked up an expensive research program to develop their own similar rear end tricks.
   At the end of the season NASCAR officials decided to eliminate that rear end stuff and changed up the rules considerably, to eliminate teams 'skewing' the rear end to get better bite.
   However rivals here Saturday night said Wolfe and Gordon had come up with a way to get around that, with some type of 'floating' rear end. One top crew chief, asking not to be named, said "They are in deep doo-doo. There is no way to explain that away."
   It was not clear why NASCAR inspectors did not discover the rear end issues during Friday inspection here.


   Joey Logano, Keselowski's teammate at Roger Penske's (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Joey and Brad busted

All the crew chiefs do work that gray area.

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Mike have you heard about Brad Keselowski

Mike have you heard about Brad Keselowski basically saying that NASCAR is rigged? This is what I have read.


"I have one good thing to thing to say and that was my team and the effort they put in today in fighting back with the absolute (expletive) that's been the last seven days in this garage area, Keselowski said. The things I've seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything I believe in. I'm not happy about it. I don't have anything positive to say and I probably should just leave it at that.

"There's so much stuff going on you guys have no idea, you have no (expletive) idea what's going on. That's not your fault. I can tell you there's no team in this garage with the integrity of the No. 2 team. And the way we've been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful. I feel like we've been targeted over the last seven days more than I've seen a team targeted in my life.


I think the people who currently run NASCAR are the worst "runners" of any sport in the history of American sports. But I wouldn't say they are rigging NASCAR against the 2 team. If anything they would want to hurt Jimmie and help Dale.
But still I'm not a fan of what Brad is doing. But than again I'm not backstage like Brad is.

Too Low

I find it hard to believe that being too low would be any advantage to Truex. During the race I noticed that most cars' splitters came up to the regulation height during the cautions, but were almost rubbing the surface of the track not just on the corners, but even on the straights during green flag runs. How could you get any lower?
Who cares if the cars don't come back up for cautions and the post race inspection when that has no effect on the height they are when racing?
They should ditch the splitters and make the cars run on the springs instead of sagging down on the stops when in competition. Use a monitoring system to make sure the rule gets followed.

Silly, this ought to be interesting...Todd and

Silly, this ought to be interesting...Todd and Paul need to have a meeting with Cheatin' Chad..he will tell em' how its done...:)

Looks Good

Maybe now Brad will realize he might be the current CHAMP but he does not run NASCAR :)

And to get caught doing what he whined / cried about the #48 doing last season well that looks good on him.

And again he proved he has no CLASS with his foul mouthed comments after the race.

Another joke

They inspect these cars several times a weekend, week in and week out, yet they find something just before the race starts. This is laughable, a joke. And they wonder why the fans are deserting the sport. It's called integrity and NASCAR officials never display it. Just reading Mike's column would lead one to believe that Hendrick teams seem to get away with items that other teams don't. Remember the #24 Jurrassac Park car in the Winston way back when. Jeff won the race and Ray was told not to bring that car back to any more races. Same happened with Chad Knaus with a #48 car. Built to perfect, don't bring it back But you can keep the wins.

When a car arrives at the track the initial inspection should be the only inspection it goes through. If it fails it goes home, and if the back up fails it goes home. Simple game. And if you can't produce a legal car for the race, you don't race that weekend. What difference does it make. If you get through all of the inspections and are found illegal after the race you get to keep the win anyway. Now that is bright thinking.

I say let's bring in Hulk Hogan, Rick Flare and the Killer Bees into this dog and pony show. They are starting to make the WWF look like the most honest show in town.

I think Brad is full of himself but I'll take his honesty and emotion anytime over the slobbering pro-NASCAR buubleheaded drivers Brian wants us to see. In fact this latest move may be a payback for previous Brad comments. Don't ever put anything past the Gang Of Three(Brian, Mike and Robin).

Talk about black helicopters!!!

I can't be the only one who listened to Brads's rant and wonder if he stepped out of his car and went straight to drinking Miller out of his Championship Cup again! The guy ...who by the way has been deemed Nascar's new poster boy...really wasn't making any sense!! All the drivers rant and rave at times....but Kez's tirade was straight out of "One Flew Out of the Cuckoos Nest"! And he kept saying his team
had been picked on in the garage the last seven days??? Does he not realize he wasn't in the Texas garage the last seven days?? Well maybe he was abducted by the Mother Ship and dropped off in Texas...who can say for sure?!!! He said if NASCAR keeps picking on his team he's going to run to Big Daddy's (Penske) desk and tell on those bad men....ha! and here all this time I thought Bad Brad prided himself on being a "real racer"..... "man's man" .... "tough as nails"!!! Whoops...looks like there's a chink in this knights armor ...

Keselowski Is NOT NASCAR's New Poster Boy

The heavily political and often murky world of NASCAR politics and cheating (or to use the old Sam Moses line Cheatin' or as Bill Gazaway put it Fudgin' or as Richard Petty put it Jes Tryin' To Get An Edge) makes this issue complex because one can buy both sides of the argument - that the Penske Fords were caught red-handed, yet that NASCAR is cracking down on them harder than others for political - aka personal - reasons. No question other teams have used these floater rear ends and will try to beat the inspectors - the teams are, after all, ahead of NASCAR in the technology arms race. That it's Keselowski and Logano getting busted after Keselowski got hosed by Brian France over his USA Today piece, one can see spite by NASCAR against this group coming into play. Dismissing this controversy as Keselowski screaming black helicopters is wrong.

I back Brad 100%. Robin Pemberton is an

I back Brad 100%. Robin Pemberton is manipulating...

Brad never said NASCAR did anything. It was an

Brad never said NASCAR did anything. It was an artful rant. There is a rumor out there saying Hendrick teams may have busted the Penske teams.

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