Tradition runs deep in NASCAR. Two of the most popular events on the schedule took place over the past week as Eldora Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted their annual summer races.
Each event produces captivating competition that make them one of a kind each year. This season’s editions didn’t disappoint as the racing featured plenty of action, thrilling moments, and unpredictable results. These characteristics along with many others contributed to the best and worst moments discussed on this week’s list.
- The MudSummer Classic always provides a variety of drivers competing for the victory. @CBellRacing21 (Christopher Bell) was the most dominant on Wednesday night. In addition to leading 106 laps, he showed his dirt track racing expertise by making incredible moves to hold and regain the top spot. In the race’s late stages, the 20-year old battled fellow dirt racing driver @BobbyPierce32 and was able to hold him off to capture his first career NASCAR victory in his third start.
- When the action returned to the asphalt in Indianapolis, it was all @KyleBusch. He has accomplished many feats since returning from his injury. By sweeping the weekend, it has become evident that the accident gave him a drive to succeed unlike any he has experienced before. His win total since returning to competition reached six and he was rewarded with two opportunities to kiss the famed bricks. The 30-year old’s success on Sunday all but placed him inside the top-30 in the standings. The question going forward will no longer be if he can reach Chase for the Sprint Cup eligibility, but what he can do with it once September rolls around.
- Bobby Pierce was a name known by few fans going into Eldora. However, following his incredible performance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, his name will be brought up each time the series returns to dirt. After qualifying on the pole and winning his heat race, the 18-year old remained up front throughout each of the three segments. His truck control impressed many as he made daring moves that allowed him to close in on the leader. While the No. 63 RPM Services Inc./Roofix Inc. Chevrolet team would have liked to finish one position better, the underdog group celebrated their second-place result.
- A win at the Brickyard can help propel a young driver’s career. Ryan @Blaney nearly added a win in Indianapolis to his resume on Saturday afternoon. He led when the white flag was displayed. However, after dominating the closing portion of the race, he was passed when Kyle Busch closed in. One wrong lane choice in Turn 2 led to a loss of momentum by the 21-year old and an opportunity for the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota heading down the backstretch. Busch went on to capture the victory, leaving Blaney disappointed. However, his strong performance throughout the day didn’t go unnoticed. This will lead to more opportunities moving forward.
- Brad @Keselowski’s MudSummer Classic debut didn’t go as planned. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion struggled to find a technique that worked, leaving him back in the field. A strategy call put him near the front for a portion of the race. However, contact with the wall late sent his night from bad to worse. He finished 28th, a result he would like to better if he competes in the event again.
- Expectations were high for @JeffGordonWeb heading into Indianapolis. The defending race winner was making his final appearance at the speedway where he has found tremendous success. However, the race didn’t go well for the No. 24 3M Chevrolet. His day went downhill after a Lap 51 crash put the car behind the wall. This team is in need of a major turnaround going forward as they haven’t shown the speed capable of reaching Victory Lane. Quickly correcting the problem could salvage a run at the title as the playoff’s approach.
Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway appear on the schedule for a second time this weekend. Seeing which teams improve and which don’t will be a telling factor going forward and will make up next week’s best and worst moments.
Jason Schultz is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
EMAIL JASON AT email@example.com