First Posted: 4/14/2013
BC-CAR—NASCAR-Irate Keselowski, 1st Ld-Writethru,778
Keselowski expresses anger toward NASCAR
AP Photo TXFOR209, TMS119, TMS149, VASH107, TMS158
Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Brad Keselowski had plenty of good things to say about his team for all it overcame for another top-10 finish.
As for his feelings about NASCAR, the defending Sprint Cup champion is pretty angry these days.
“The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it,” Keselowski said in the garage area after Saturday night’s race at Texas.
Before the race that Kyle Busch won to complete a weekend sweep, NASCAR confiscated the original rear-end housing from Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford and the No. 22 of Joey Logano, his Penske Racing teammate. That could lead to penalties, including possibly suspensions, the loss of championship points and fines.
Logano was late to the starting grid because of the additional inspections after changes, and he had to start at the back of the field. He charged to a fifth-place finish, four spots ahead of Keselowski, who kept his starting spot of 16th.
“I have one good 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.
Keselowski, who has six top-10 finishes and is second in season points behind Jimmie Johnson, got a penalty a week earlier at Martinsville for pitting outside his stall. He still disputes that.
“There’s so much stuff going on. You guys have no idea … what’s going on,” Keselowski said. “I could tell you there is nobody, no team in this garage with the integrity of the 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 ever seen a team targeted,” he said. “But my guys, they kept their heads on straight and they showcased why they are a winning team and a championship team. We’re not going to take it. We’re not going to be treated this way.”
NASCAR had no immediate response to Keselowski’s comments.
Keselowski met with NASCAR chairman Brian France before the Daytona 500 after a lengthy profile piece in USA Today in which the driver made wide-ranging and sometimes critical comments about the direction of the sport.
After the Texas race, Keselowski said there is so much stuff going on now that he could “make a list two pages long.”
Busch completed his NASCAR record seventh Cup-Nationwide weekend sweep, and second this season, with his Texas two-step at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked track.
After winning the Nationwide race the previous night, Busch started from the pole Saturday and led 171 of 334 laps. It was his 26th career Cup victory, first at Texas, where he became the first driver to win in each of NASCAR’s top three series — also with six Nationwide wins and two in trucks there.
Busch regained the lead from Martin Truex Jr. during the last caution. After a strong restart with 16 laps to go, Busch stayed in front and won by a half-second with an average speed of 144.751 mph. He credited his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew for the victory in his 300th career start.
“They won me the race getting me off pit road first, being able to dictate the restart and just run a hard pace there,” said Busch, who was later asked if he would have been able to catch Truex without that final caution, and if he would have then been able to get around him.
“That’s a lot of ifs, and unfortunately, I don’t really have an answer for you,” he said. “But I’d like to say that we had a shot at him.”
Truex has now gone 210 races since his last Cup victory in June 2007, a span in which he has finished second six times.
His Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota led 142 laps at Texas after not being in front any of the first six races this season. NASCAR discovered a problem afterward, saying that the No. 56 was too low in the front. The sanctioning body said the issue would be looked at further and addressed in the next few days.
“Finishing second is good. I’m not saying that’s not the case. It’s just when you’ve been so close to winning so many times since your last one, it really sucks to run that good and finish second,” said Truex, who did move from 25th to 16th in season points. “Circumstances, the way they play out sometimes, they go that way. … Second is a great accomplishment, but it’s not what we’re here for.”