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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.