There is a saying in professional sports that says “Beware of the sick athlete,” and Brad Keselowski added his name to legends who thrived when they were ill. Battling the flu, Keselowski took the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 last Sunday.
Keselowski was 8/1 to win the race and led the final 33 laps to score his 60th victory, the most of any Penske driver. The win broke a tie with Mark Donohue.
“All wins are special,” Keselowski said. “There’s no wins that don’t mean something, but some just mean more. And this one means more for more reasons, whether it be the win record for Team Penske; that’s certainly very special to me. When you look at the list of drivers, it’s a pretty big list, and it’s big not just with the amount of drivers but big with the superstar power I guess you’d call it.”
But it almost didn’t happen. Keselowski had two IV bags hours before the race to try and generate enough strength to compete. On Saturday he handed over the final practice to Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric.
“I wouldn’t have made this race yesterday,” Keselowski said. “I was nowhere near good enough. I lost 6 pounds in less than 10 hours, and I was going the wrong way quick. Thankfully, it all turned around late yesterday afternoon, and I appreciate the help of those in the care center to make it possible.”
Stenhouse Making More Friends
Unfortunately none of the sportsbooks have a prop bet on how many of his fellow drivers Ricky Stenhouse could irritate, because the number seems to be hitting the over after just two weeks.
The latest is 2018 Cup Series champion Joey Logano, but this feud might be a carryover from the Daytona 500. At that race, Logano was heard on the radio slamming Stenhouse’s abilities.
“Ricky Stankhouse. God, he sucks. He’s awful,” Logano said to his crew.
Word got back to Stenhouse, and he was critical of his fellow Ford driver.
“I don’t really appreciate it,” Stenhouse said. “I feel like I do everything that I have to do to make sure our car stays in the front. We led the most laps of any of the other Ford drivers and yet they all want to run their mouths.”
At Atlanta Motor Speedway he paid back Logano, preventing him from getting close to Keselowski and possibly winning. Logano was livid afterwards.
“I know they’re racing for (a free pass as the first car down a lap), which is all good, but once they got strung out, the 17 had a straightaway and he just wouldn’t let me by,” Logano said. “He just kept hugging the bottom, hugging the bottom, hugging the bottom, and knew that’s where I needed to run. My spotter kept telling him we need the bottom.”
This battle isn’t over and could lead to an escalation as the season wears on.
Two Cars Fined
NASCAR officials issued penalties Monday to two teams after the race in Atlanta. The crew chiefs for Bubba Wallace and Matt DiBenedetto were both fined $10,000 for lug nut violations.
After a post-race inspection, it was discovered that each car had an unsecured lug nut. DiBenedetto finished 26th and Wallace was 27th.
This Week’s Odds, Pick
The drivers are in Las Vegas for the Penzoil 400, and even though the Kevin Harvick has finished fourth and 26th in his last two races, he is the 9/2 favorite to win. Kyle Busch is 5/1, with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larsen, and Keselowski at 6/1.
We like Truex, who finished third at Las Vegas Speedway in September. He also finished second last week.