There’s now one race left between a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title and Brad Keselowski. It would be the first for Keselowski’s team organization Penske Racing and the first for the young driver. The title would put a happy ending to what was otherwise a torturous year for Roger Penske and his group.
Penske brought back the IZOD IndyCar Series to Belle Isle in getting a group together to get the funding to stage the race. After a great weekend, the high of getting a race back was turned to embarrassment as the track had major issues and crumbled. The embarrassment caused a two-hour delay in race action as the race was taken off ABC to ESPN News for the final few laps. Due to darkness the race was shortened from the scheduled length and put a black eye on the event.
Then, almost exactly a month later, Penske had yet another terrible problem when his NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger failed a drug test at Kentucky Speedway on June 30th. The announcement of the failed drug test came just a few hours before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July and Penske had to scramble to get Sam Hornish Jr. down there from Charlotte to race the car. The circus following that took a toll on him and the team.
If those two weren’t bad enough, Penske had to deal with a messy incident where his two sons were arrested in a country club in the New England area for urinating on a woman and public intoxication. It was a huge embarrassment for him and his family and yet took another toll on the Penske patriarch.
Finally, a month later Penske was facing his first IndyCar title since 2006 Hornish, as Will Power was protecting a good lead going into the final few races. Bad luck would put a 40+ lead with three races left to a 17-point lead going into the season finale. All Will Power had to do was just run near Ryan Hunter-Reay all night and he’d be the champion. Unfortunately, Power lost control of his car just over 50 laps in and wrecked in Turn 2. The team showed great effort to get him back out, but couldn’t prevail in heartbreaking fashion.
That was four horrible things to happen in one season for a great man and Keselowski could finally bring joy with a title this weekend in Miami.
Photo courtesy of NASCARmedia.com
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