Keselowski frustrated about final restart of ‘Dega race

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While declaring that he was “happy as hell” that the small Front Row Motorsports team defeated the giants Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski tweeted that race winner David Ragan switched lanes before the final restart, which isn’t allowed under NASCAR rules.

“Me thinks if someone looked at what happened on that restart they might feel differently about that finish…mad as hell about that finish. We were suppose to line up 10th when the 34 [Ragan] switched lanes entering [Turn] 3 before green. That lane won. BS…I’m happy as hell a small team won. Doesn’t change the fact that the restart was blatantly wrong,” Keselowski vented in a series of tweets.

However, NASCAR released a statement that said Keselowski’s own No. 2 machine was not in the proper lane for the final restart and was promptly moved there, while Ragan “was lined up properly all along.”

Ragan, of course, also maintained that he had done nothing wrong and went further by accusing Keselowski of trying to get the preferred lane for himself.

“Obviously, Brad wanted to start on the outside, because he knew the same thing that I knew — that the outside lane had an advantage on the restart,” Ragan said. “But he just didn’t want to listen to NASCAR. NASCAR makes the call on where we line up at and I listen to what NASCAR has to say.

“My spotter told me that’s what they radioed on the NASCAR channel, the crew chief said the same thing, and Brad was just trying to snooker us and get the preferred lane, and eventually, he decided he should do the right thing, and he restarted ninth and restarted 10th, so there’s no controversy.”

Ragan ended his comments on the subject by saying that NASCAR would “set [Keselowski] straight eventually” and that the Penske Racing driver “knows that he lined up in the right spot and I lined up in the right spot.”

Keselowski finished 15th in the race.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.