TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brian Scott, the pole-sitter for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, said he felt like a pinball in that multi-car wreck that involved 14 cars on Lap 136.
That analogy made Brad Keselowski the spring-plunger that fires pinballs into traffic. Trying to make up laps he lost early in this race, Keselowski’s Ford got loose in the middle lane of three-wide racing. What followed was quite a mess.
Reigning Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth was among those drivers whose day was ruined. He was none too happy with Keselowski.
“He was driving really, really, really aggressively,” Kenseth said. “Just spun out in front of all of us and tore up a bunch of good race cars. Really unfortunate”
Keselowski was laps down because he aggressively tried to pass Danica Patrick for the lead 13 laps into the race. He hadn’t cleared Patrick’s car when he changed lanes and was tapped into the infield. Attempting to steer back onto the track, he was tapped again, suffering a flat tire and water-pump damage.
“Brad made a pretty bold move early – mind-boggling move, I guess you could say in going in front of Danica. (He) spun out in front of the field and got away with it,” Kenseth said.
Keselowski was apologetic about the second crash, but only to a point.
“I was trying to get a lap back and those guys are trying to lead laps,” he said. “I was racing really hard for that, but for some reason the car took off on me and I spun out. I don’t know why, but I feel bad that we tore up a bunch of cars.”
Jeff Gordon, whose Chevrolet sustained major damage, saw it differently, suggesting Keselowski should have been driving more cautiously when already six laps down.
“I’m not exactly sure why he was driving the way he was driving,” Gordon said. “I guess he was trying to get back his laps. It’s unfortunate what happened to him early. More unfortunate what happened” in the second wreck.
Gordon added that while his car can get fixed, his team’s performance at Talladega was already ruined.
Rookie Scott, a surprise winner of the pole Saturday, was more diplomatic and philosophical.
“It’s Talladega,” Scott said of the track known for “The Big One” crash. “You’re kind of a pinball out there. I hate it. We won the pole and we wanted to finish this out. A shame.”
Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell