At the end of a thrilling victory in Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway, race winner Brad Keselowski’s first thoughts sped to the truck owner who helped further his career.
“I just want to dedicate this win to Mike Mittler,” Keselowski said of the man for whom he drove for two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races in 2006. “You know, he helped a lot of guys in their career, and I was one of them. He passed away yesterday. It’s just a huge loss to the NASCAR community.
“He was one of those unsung heroes that works in the garage. He gave his whole life to this sport, and there’s so many of those guys and so many of those fans. It hurts to see those guys go away.”
Keselowski’s other emotion was joy. In a two-lap overtime shootout, he beat Alex Bowman to the finish line by .205 seconds, as the race went four laps beyond its scheduled 267. The victory was Keselowski’s third of the season—matching Kyle Busch for most in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series—his second at Kansas and the 30th of his career.
With fresher tires, thanks to a pit stop under caution on Lap 241, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford grabbed the lead from Alex Bowman on Lap 261, building momentum down the backstretch and passing the No. 88 Chevrolet to the outside through Turns 3 and 4.
“What a great day. On the (last) restart, I just got a great launch and Alex Bowman—he’s going to win a race. He did a great job today. We had a little bit of fresher tires than he did (to facilitate the lead change before overtime), and we were able to make the move on the outside there and caught everything perfect.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Both Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head and David The Mudslinging Throttle Jockey were riding shotgun with “Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski Saturday night at Kansas. “Bad” Brad’s victory gave The Cheddar Head and The Throttle Jockey 44 points.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
The top scorer of the week was not the players who were supporting the Kansas race winner, “Bad Brad”, it was in fact, Jim, aka Chiefy, who was sitting tall in the copilot seat with Chase Elliott. Elliott, through his race finish and his segment points, deposited 52 timely points into Chiefy’s column!
Meanwhile, Karen The Highly Opinionated Southern Belle and Snoopy Dawn figured that this was a good time to pull their Alex Bowman choice out of the hat. Bowman The Showman nearly won the race, and for the third race in a row he was the “bridesmaid”, rewarding these two ladies with 42 points.
Linda R. The First Segment Winner and Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, who is now raiding cities in Europe for the next six weeks (I have notified Interpol to be on the lookout for this stealthy, and somewhat sneaky Italian and her partner in crime- a former defense lawyer that she has kidapped, and I might add, he is currently suffering from “The Stockholm Syndrome”)! Nevertheless, both of these ladies racked up 40 points but from different drivers this week. Whereas The Bandit was rooting for KuBu, The Lemonade Lefty was betting the farm on Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Rounding out he top five scorers for the last race of this segment is Lonna The Quilt Angel. The Quilt Angel was all in with Clint Bowyer this week, hoping that he could log his first win at his home track, Kansas Speedway. Even though Bowyer did not win the race, he did delivered 38 points for The Quilt Angel this week.
It surprised me to see quite a lot of movement throughout the scoring pylon for the last week of the segment. Usually, the rankings are fairly well defined by the last race of the segment. That was not the case this time around. The standings had pockets and/or groups that were tightly contested.
The biggest mover to close out this segment was our resident accountant, Dan The Numbers Cruncher. The Numbers Dude stumbled right out of the gate at Daytona, but then steadily regrouped through the early part of this segment moving up in the standings. However, as the Sun set on this segment so did it set on The Numbers Dude chances of getting a 1st Segment paycheck! Dan dropped like an extremely bad habit, plummeting six (6) spots to reside in 15th place!
Almost not outdone this week is Bobby Blue Crush. Likewise, Ol Blue Crush did not enjoy a very successful Kansas race. It appears that Kilmanjaro Bobby stubbed all of his toes on both feet and stumbled down five (5) places to end this segment in 12 place!
However, Snoopy Dawn and Jim, aka Chiefy, came through at the end of the segment. Both players ended the segment on a very positive note bounding up four (4) places to reside in 8th and 10th places, respectively.
Falling from grace at the most inopportune time was Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. The Sheriff was sitting high atop the leaderboard, apparently beginning to count his 1st segment money when the green flag flew at Kansas. However, when the checkered flag waved, and the dust cleared at the end of the race, The Sheriff had experienced a monumental choke, waking up in 4th place!
Rounding out the top five movers the last week of this segment are six players, Karen the Highly Opinionated Southern Belle, Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, Carole, aka Rudy, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, Bobby Blue Crush, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, as well as David The Mudslinging Throttle Jockey that moved two (2) positions. The Highly Opinionated One, The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, The Bandit, and The Throttle Jockey all stepped up two spots to end the segment in 2nd, 6th, 11th, 13th places, respectively. But Rudy and The Vegas Super Star were not as lucky and dropped two spots to end up in 7th and 13th places, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
This week the race for “The Crappiest Pick of The Week” has resulted in a four-wide race of all take and zero give! Those four players who will be sharing this award this week are Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff, Linda B. The Cookie Mom, Wild Bill The Pretzel Man, and Dan The Numbers Cruncher. All four players were stowed away in the back of Ryan Blaney’s hot rod at Kansas. Needless to say that these players had a very bumpy and “crappy” day at the races, only logging a microscopic 5 points for the day!
Next week is the All-Star race and the Truck race at Charlotte, and we all can take a little breather before we get back after in on Memorial Weekend.
For those of us who stumbled and fell this week, some out of the money, and some to lesser money amounts, these words may be bouncing around in our heads as we are trying to lick and console our wounds:
If I fall, can you let me down easy?
If I leave my heart with you tonight
Will you promise me that you’re gonna treat it right?
I’m barely hangin’ on
If I fall, can you let me down easy?
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT, AND LET’S GO RACIN’!