By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
One thing has stolen the headlines for nearly a week… Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. Well I think it is time we move past the feud of the century, and take a look at all of the things that were lost in the controversy of Atlanta.
First things first Kurt Busch won the dang race, and nobody is talking about it. He’s gotta be feeling like Rodney Dangerfield with all of this lack of respect. The win marked the 21st of Busch’s Sprint Cup Series career, and it was his second straight win in the spring event at Atlanta. The win came at a great time because going into this event Busch was way back in 19th in the point standings. Now after this victory the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion sits tenth in the points and is now on a roll.
We also had a great run by the guy piloting the #98 Menards Ford… yea that’s right Paul Menard. Menard came home fifth and has climbed to ninth in the point standings after four events. This is Menard’s second career top-five finish, and his first since a second place finish at Talladega in 2008. Menard is an intriguing story to follow this season as he is driving for a rejuvenated Richard Petty Motorsports team.
Speaking of RPM, A.J. Allmendinger, who drives their no. 43 car had a heck of a run this week too. He came home sixth, but what’s impressive is how he got there. He was competitively fighting inside the top-ten nearly the entire race, so it was no fluke. This was Allmendinger’s ninth career top-ten finish.
Oh and by the way Kasey Kahne led the most laps during the Kobalt Tools 500. Kahne was out front for 144 laps Sunday, in a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, en route to a fourth place finish… So whatever they are doing over there in that shop, they are doing it right.
Now let’s look at who benefited the most and the least from the Brad Keselowski / Carl Edwards incident taking place.
Goodyear by far benefited the most by the action on lap 323 occurring. Because of this incident just about everyone has just about forgotten about that little tire issue we had Sunday. In all there were at least eight tire issues from the 43 cars in the field… not a good deal for any tire supplier, but luckily for Goodyear Carl Edwards saved their day by ruining Keselowski’s.
Now the person who lost the most because of the lap 323 incident was Juan Pablo Montoya. I know you’re thinking: wasn’t it Keselowski who went from sixth to 36th in the blink of an eye? Yes, but it was Montoya who was the innocent bystander who was the biggest loser in the end.
Montoya had just closed to within half a second of the lead with two to go, and he was turning laps over two tenths of a second faster than Busch, due to a car that was awesome on the long runs. If the race would’ve stayed green we may have seen the first victory for JPM on an oval, and maybe the closest finish of the entire season… but we will never know now.