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Brad Keselowski's crash at Road Atlanta should be wakeup call that NASCAR testing rules may be need to be changed, to safer Cup tracks

  The remains of Brad Keselowski's Watkins Glen car, destroyed in a crash this week at Road Atlanta (Photo: Jimmie Johnson)

   By Mike Mulhern


   POCONO, Pa.
   In light of Brad Keselowski's savage crash while testing at Road Atlanta for next week's Watkins Glen tour stop, maybe it's time to rethink NASCAR's pre-race testing rules.
   Keselowski must certainly think so, after hitting a concrete wall – no SAFER softwall barrier – head-on at 100 mph after his brakes failed while he was slowing from 155 mph to make the corner.

   Keselowski, like other Sprint Cup drivers, was testing at the Atlanta road course in preparation for the Glen race….and NASCAR bars teams from testing at NASCAR's Cup tour tracks. That rule is ostensibly an economic measure, but one that teams get around by testing at other tracks around the country.
   And those other tracks – remember Greg Biffle testing at Texas World Speedway a while back, hitting 218 mph, testing for Michigan – don't have all the safety measures that NASCAR tour tracks have, like soft walls.
   Jimmie Johnson was at Road Atlanta:  http://bit.ly/o3LWIQ
   There used to be something of a testing routine, before the testing ban – teams would race at Pocono in June, and then drive the two hours or so up the road to the Glen and test there Monday and Tuesday.
   There were other similar routines – teams would race at Chicagoland on Sunday and then drive the three hours down to Indianapolis to test for the Brickyard.
   Those test sessions were more than just technical outings, but in fact marketing games too, bringing drivers to those communities for some pre-race promotions.
   Keselowski injured his foot in the crash; he was taken to a local hospital for treatment. He will run here this week, but he may have problems at the Glen, where shifting is so key.
   Dr. Jerry Petty, who attends many NASCAR drivers when injured, says "After meeting with Brad Keselowski today it became clear that, despite an avulsion fracture of the left ankle, he would be able to compete this weekend at Pocono Raceway without any limitations. Mr. Keselowski saw an orthopedic surgeon this afternoon who indicated that he would be able to put weight on the foot as necessary and should not be inhibited in any way."
   However Keselowski will not run in Saturday's Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway. Parker Kligerman, another Roger Penske driver, will practice the car on Friday, and Sam Hornish Jr. is expected to qualify and drive the 250-lapper.

   On the plus side of NASCAR life, the Brickyard 400 drew some good numbers on ESPN.
   ESPN earned a 4.6 household coverage rating – meaning an average of 6,377,000 viewers. That's up from last year's 4.2.
   Plus, the male 18-34 demographic was up 20 percent from last year's race.
   And across town at Raceway Park last weekend, ESPN's telecast of the Nationwide race Saturday night earned a 1.5 household coverage rating – an average of 2,059,000 viewers. That's down from last year's 1.7 rating (which was the highest the race has earned since ESPN returned to live NASCAR race telecasts in 2007). Across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, ratings for Nationwide telecasts in 2011 are up 11 percent from this point last year.

   Bruton and Marcus Smith, who run SMI's racing empire, including Kentucky Speedway, will apparently be putting another $10 million in the Kentucky Speedway pot for infrastructure improvements. Not much word yet, through, from that meeting between Bruton Smith and the Kentucky governor over the highway situation.

   And, not that anyone really needs it, but here's some more on Danica Patrick:
   -- She will likely run the full 2012 NASCAR Nationwide tour for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick-engineered operation;
   -- she will likely run the 2012 Indianapolis 500, possibly for a team with Tony Stewart as part-owner;
   -- she may run six or seven Sprint Cup races in 2012, possibly for Tony Stewart's Cup operation.


Thank God Brad wasn't injured

Thank God Brad wasn't injured any worse than he was.

Yeah right. How will it be

Yeah right. How will it be policed? Should NASCAR stop drivers from competing in other non-NASCAR racing series then? What would stop teams from building cars that aren't certified by NASCAR but follow the rulebook to a T and take them to tracks under a false business name?

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thank god u are ok get well soon good luck this week end

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