Another runner-up at Watkins Glen for Keselowski

3 Comments

With no wins so far this season, reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski could have gotten himself one if he had wrecked Kyle Busch in their last-lap battle today at Watkins Glen International.

But while wins are certainly the top priority for Keselowski – one of several trying to break into this year’s Chase – he wasn’t going to take Busch out.

“Even if you don’t end up in the Top 20 [in the championship], I’d rather be a wild card with four or five wins than be a guy in the Chase with zero wins,” he said after finishing second in the Cheez-It 355.

“I guess I don’t look at it that way, but I could have definitely dumped Kyle and won the race. That stuff goes back and forth. I’m sure someone in the tabloid side of the media will make a big deal about that, but it won’t be me because I know I did the right thing.”

Keselowski admitted that the temptation was there to take out Busch in the final corners, but “there’s a level of respect and a code of honor that you have to have as a man.”

He also referred to their last-lap incident last year at the Glen, when both drivers ran across some oil on the track and Keselowski wound up punting Busch to take the lead. Marcos Ambrose would then hunt down and pass Keselowski for the win in a dramatic finish.

“I felt like last year was a racing deal – [Busch] went off the track, I filled the hole and he came down,” explained Keselowski on Sunday. “If I would have wrecked him today, in my mind, it wouldn’t have been a racing deal. It would have been just wrecking and there’s a huge difference.

“When somebody blocks you, that’s different. When somebody runs off the track and pulls down in front of you, that’s a racing deal. Those are all just racing deals. When you just run in the back of someone and drive them head first into the wall, that’s BS racing and I just don’t like it.”

Keselowski was in position to race for the win despite an early spin while trying to battle with Jamie McMurray for a spot on the track. He gave credit to crew chief Paul Wolfe for the strategy that got him back up front.

“Paul just saved my butt after I tried to screw up the day,” he said. “We’ve had some races where strategy has bit us in the butt royally and today was one of those days where we caught a good break. That’s just being quite frank about it.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize on it, which is disappointing – capitalizing on it in the sense of a win – but this is the first race in a long time where I can say we caught a break.”

MRTI: Sunday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Mother Nature intervened heavily on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires both completed their second races of the weekend on a wet track.

Indy Lights saw Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward complete the weekend sweep – he won Race 1 on Saturday – while Pro Mazda had a wet and wild race of survival that saw a pair of leaders go off, giving way to another first-time winner in Pro Mazda at the end of the day.

Reports on both races are below.

Indy Lights: Race 2 Victory Completes Dominant Weekend for O’Ward

Pato O’Ward celebrates his Race 2 victory at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward completed a perfect weekend at Barber Motorsports Park by claiming victory in Indy Lights Race 2 on Sunday.

Officials were forced to move the race up to 10:45 a.m. local time (11:45 ET) due to weather, and Race 2 began under a rain shower.

However, it did not deter O’Ward one bit, who rocketed off into the lead from the pole, and was never headed on his way to winning by over five seconds.

In addition to winning both races, O’Ward led every lap in both races, completing a weekend of utter dominance for the 18-year-old native of Mexico.

Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni came home in second, his best finish since moving up to Indy Lights this year, with Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta rounding out the podium.

The Belardi Auto Racing duo of Aaron Telitz and Santi Urrutia finished fourth and fifth, with Telitz finally finishing a race after only completing a combined four corners in the first three races of the season.

Urrutia, meanwhile struggled somewhat and faded to fifth after starting third.

Andretti’s Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman and Juncos’ Alfonso Celis Jr. rounded out the field in sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Results are below.

Pro Mazda: Harrison Scott Survives the Rain to Take First Pro Mazda Win

Harrison Scott and RP Motorsports celebrate victory in Pro Mazda Race 2 at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott managed to survive a track that started out damp, began drying out, and then became very wet during a downpour in the final laps to win in Pro Mazda Race 2 from Barber.

Scott, who started second, was able to pass Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson, the polesitter and Race 1 winner, on the inside entering Turn 5 on Lap 2, with Thompson running slightly off track on corner exit and falling back to third, with Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez going through into second.

Scott, Gutierrez, and Thompson stayed close the rest of the way, and Gutierrez even managed to make a nifty outside pass on Scott in Turn 5 on Lap 9 to take the lead.

However, rain, which hit the track briefly and stopped about 30 minutes before the race started, returned in the second half of the race, and progressively got heavier.

It all came to a head on Lap 21, when the slick conditions sent Gutierrez off course in Turns 7 and 8. He rejoined the track, but fell back to seventh, allowing Scott back into the lead.

Race Control quickly threw a caution as a result of the conditions, and the race finished under yellow, with Scott taking the checkered flag for his first Pro Mazda win.

Behind Scott, Thompson came home in second, with Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunhas in third. Cunha’s teammate Rinus VeeKay was fourth, with BN Racing’s David Malukas rounding out the Top 5.

Of note: Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew was one of a couple drivers who pitted for rain tires under the late yellow, gambling that the race may go back to green – he was running tenth at the time. However, because the race never went back to green, Askew was relegated to 12th at the end.

Results are below.

Note: Check back later for driver quotes.

Follow@KyleMLavigne