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Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch: a controversial finish at Watkins Glen

Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch: a controversial finish at Watkins Glen

Things were looking good for Kyle Busch, here up through the esses at Watkins Glen, most of the day

   By Mike Mulhern

   Kyle Busch and his crew were not at all pleased with the finish to Sunday afternoon's run at the Glen, and particularly displeased with Brad Keselowski, for the bump that cost Busch the lead, and almost certainly the win, with barely a lap to go.
   Busch, who needs a victory to make the playoffs, left the track without comment, leaving crew chief Dave Rogers to answer questions.
   Keselowski, however, stuck around for some 20 minutes to give his side of the controversy.
   Rogers says oil from Bobby Labonte's car triggered the game-ending mess.
   "He just went by smoking, left oil down all over the track," Rogers said.  "Kyle hit the oil, and it allowed Brad to get to us... and he kind of raced us the way he raced us."
   Rogers appeared to blame Labonte for the controversy: "Instead of getting off the track like he should have, he tried to stay out there and run the extra two laps. And he ran right through the groove. 
    "That was a mistake by another driver -- oil on the field -- and the rest of us had to deal with it."

  Jeff Gordon was more pointed in his complaints, saying NASCAR should have thrown a yellow for oil.
  "Oil all over the track," Gordon griped. "It's pretty ridiculous they don't want to end a race under caution and put that many cars in jeopardy. 
    "I had no idea there was oil out there. I knew there was all kinds of havoc happening all around."
   Gordon was 10th when he hit the oil; he slid back to 21st, which knocks him out of the wild card spot in the playoffs that he'd just earned last week with the win at Pocono. "It's unfortunate that gets taken away from you because NASCAR doesn't want to end the race under yellow.
   "I understand -- You want to keep it entertaining and give the winner a shot at it, but there are a lot of other things going on out there too. I think they completely disregarded that."

   Keselowski's side of it:
   "I would think Kyle has enough racing experience -- he drove through it himself -- that he would understand what happened.  
    "I had a shot to get underneath him, and I took it. I think he knows I had to make that move....
    "No different than the move he had to make on the restart (when Busch, from third, went three-wide on the outside into turn one). He made a very, very aggressive move on the restart that was going to wreck both of us if I didn't let him in.  I could have held the position and wrecked us all, but I didn't.
     "I showed understanding of his situation, and hopefully he'll show understanding of the situation I was in.  I think he will.
     "Certainly not the ideal situation to wreck the leader, no matter what the situation or circumstances.  But it was just one of those unavoidable deals where the whole track was undrivable. The track was complete oil.
    "The last thing I ever want to do is wreck the leader.  That's just not an ideal situation.  But sometimes there are unavoidable circumstances."
   But then Keselowski had to deal with Ambrose: "Marcos was right on my bumper.  We got going through turns three and four (the esses), it was nothing but oil.  We all about spun out. We got to inner loop (at the end of the backstretch) -- nothing but oil.  
     "We both slid off the track.  I knew I had to drive in there hard, if not, he was going to hit me.
     "When I got out in the grass, I thought 'Oh, no, I've thrown this race away.' I looked in my mirror, and he was in the grass too.
    "We got to the carrousel, slipped up again. I turned back down to the bottom to get going; I must have hit the oil spot: I slipped up, he didn't.  
    "He got a run to the 'chute to turn 10. Had position, cleared me. He got to turn 10, slipped again.  
    "I was lucky enough to have him as a brake pedal.
     "Got to 11, and I thought I had him, being on the outside. But apparently wherever the oil was, it was in the high lane in turn 11. "
   Despite the tension of it all, both Keselowski and Ambrose were almost giddy with adrenalin after the race.
   Keselowski called it "fun.
   "We leaned on each other... we bumped each other...we were both cool about it and didn't dump each other.  
   "This is what I think racing in NASCAR is supposed to be -- hardnosed, going for the win, bumping and rubbing...Without any of that intentional wrecking nonsense.  
    "Marcos gets that.  I enjoy racing with him."

   And the racing with Busch?
   "On the restart he tried to outbrake us, and he did," Keselowski said. "If I wouldn't have let him in line, all of us would have wrecked.  
    "When he made that move, I can't fault him.  You look at his situation -- it's win or go home.  I would do the same thing.
    "I hope he respects my position that I can't just let him win either.  
     "I had a chance to pass him...it just ended up badly.  
     "I hope he respects that, like I respect why he had to make that move.  
     "Same thing with Marcos on why he had to race aggressively.  And I do respect that.  
     "I would respect that even if he didn't have anything to win, because I think that's the core of this sport, why people come to watch -- because people know we're going to give it our all."
  Keselowski again referred to Busch's daring move on the restart: "He's a smart racer. He put me in a situation where it was either I let him go or we both wreck.  It didn't make any sense to wreck out of this race for me.
     "I can respect that.
     "He knows that gave him a shot at winning the race.  Had Bobby not blown an oil line, he would have.  
    "The dynamics of restarts have changed racing.  It would have been interesting to see what happened had we had another yellow there at the end (with a green-white-checkered finish) -- That would have put me (on the restart) in third, where essentially it would have been my responsibility to dive the hell out of turn one and hope that Kyle let me in.  
     "It would have been interesting to see what mentality he had then.  
     "I'm guessing he wouldn't have let me in."

   On another issue here, a crash last year in this event led to some major changes in the track, to improve safety.
   Keselowski says that's good. But then he was asked if those safety changes were enough.
    "That's a tough question to answer without being offensive," Keselowski said.  
     "There's no doubt improvements have been made.  But in my opinion there are no road courses in America that are up to the safety standards they should be.  
    "You look at the road courses in Europe, how much better they are.
     "There have been improvements... but certainly not enough to where if you polled the whole garage they would say it's satisfactory."

   Richard Petty (L) and winner Marcos Ambrose. Petty says he's got a new contract right in his pocket for Ford to sign, for 2013 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Keselowski has exposed himself as a guy who is full of himself. I'm sure that when he was a kid he heard the words dirty driver. That's why he dumped Kyle.


I found myself yelling at the tv the last two laps...it was exciting..although I didn't know about oil on the track at the time. I will say however, I'm getting pretty darn tired of Brad and his "expertise" on practically EVERY subject imaginable! It must be nice to be young and think you have all the answers! Sometimes, however, it's better to keep your mouth closed, ears open, and learn a few things from those who just might be able to teach you a few things!

Confusion And Chaos

Did Gordon et al feel NASCAR should have thrown the caution as they approached the white flag - or after the checkered flag?

Keselowski seems to think road courses in Europe are safer - I'm trying to think of one that is and offhand I can't think of one.

If this win gives Petty Motorsports momentum down the road here, it will be even bigger than it already is.

WGI Sunday Race

Here\'s where NASCAR looked like the WWE to a few people again. Tony Stewart spins himself out, right off the track and on to pit road. He\'s not on the track, he\'s pointed straight down the pit area with room on both sides of his car, but NASCAR throws a full course caution. He even gets the car fired up and moving pretty quickly. I don\'t think they needed a caution there. Although without benefit of replay at my disposal, I don\'t know or remember if he dropped any parts or debris when he clobbered the fence.

The end of the race is a little more complicated. Normally, at any other track, if any car shows engine smoke they\'ll throw a caution to see if that car has laid oil down. So what happened on Sunday? Why did they swallow that flag?

You could say it\'s because it was too close to the end of the race, I suppose. Conspiracy theorists have a few reasons to speculate. There were some special guys back in the pack that needed to get their track position back. NASCAR normally loves a dash to the end, a GWC if they can get it, it seems. Did they want Kyle to win??

I just had the feeling that NASCAR made themselves look kind of wishy washy if you put these two together. But how many people do besides me? Probably not many.

It\'s all moot now, and to be honest after that last wild lap I\'m glad for whatever reason they sat on that yellow flag. \'Cause we aren\'t gonna see a last lap like that for who knows how long.

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