Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski has sustained a major setback early on in today’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway that put him in the garage for a short time.
During yellow-flag pit stops under the Lap 40 competition caution, Keselowski and Kurt Busch were behind Kasey Kahne as he was making his way into his stall. That forced Keselowski to check up and Busch then clipped Keselowski, inflicting serious front-end damage to the former Sprint Cup champion’s No. 2 Ford Fusion.
Martinsville’s pit road, which features the smallest pit boxes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is notoriously tight and incidents such as these are far from uncommon. Keselowski noted this in his comments to Fox Sports, but then pointed the finger of blame at “The Outlaw.”
“Typical Martinsville stuff – it’s Lap 50 and everybody’s got to give and take on the race track and on pit road,” he vented. “The 5 car was pitting in the stall in front of me…I saw him checking up and I started to check up and I barely got in the back of him.
“And then, Kurt just accelerated and drove through us – absolutely drove through us. I tell ya, man, I’m about tired of his recklessness…Kurt tore the whole suspension off the car, so it won’t turn, won’t do anything. So, thanks Kurt, thanks a lot.”
Keselowski would return to the race on Lap 77 but with the entire front end bodywork of his car gone. He came back at 31 laps off the pace and shortly after he hit the track, he rubbed against Busch in frustration before letting him go past into Turn 3.
Bob Fernley will bring his experience as former deputy team principal at Force India F1 to McLaren Racing’s IndyCar effort in 2019.
Fernley will report directly to McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown.
“Heading back to the Brickyard will be a very special experience for me,” Fernley said at IndyCar.com. “I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team. The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”
Fernley’s appointing come of the heels of last week’s announcement that McLaren will create a brand new team to compete in the 2019 Indy 500.
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For now, Fernley’s responsibility is to create an entry that is capable of allowing two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso to win the Indy 500 in just his second start. But speculation has been widespread that the entry will be a jumping off point for a much broader involvement in IndyCar.
In 2017, Alonso qualified on the middle of row two (fifth), led 27 laps and succumbed to mechanical failure. His effort was impressive enough to be name Rookie of the Year for the Indy 500.
“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly,” Brown said. “His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board.”