Despite having a broken left ankle, Brad Keselowski won at Pocono Raceway. With this win, Keselowski has 2 for the season, putting him atop the wild card standings, with the second spot going to Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch finished 2nd, and his brother Kurt finished 3rd. After what Kurt did in Richmond, things started to turn around for Penske Racing. Brad won at Kansas and now Pocono. Kurt Busch had 3 straight poles before winning at Sonoma.
Many surprises have occurred this NASCAR season. Here are my rankings in order of the most surprising things this season
1. Multiple first time winners
Who would have thought Trevor Bayne, in the first race of his career, could win the Daytona 500?! No one. But he wasn't the only one who won their first race of their careers. Here is a list:
Regan Smith (Darlington)
David Ragan (Daytona 400)
Paul Menard (Brickyard 400)
Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500)
2. Dale Jr. a Chase contender?
Yeah, we all waited for him to win a race. But good news for Junior fans, he is in Chase contention, 23 points ahead of 11th place Denny Hamlin. After making the Chase in 2008, he had never finished above 20th in points. This is a significant improvement after Hendrick Motorsports switched crew chiefs for Mark Martin, Dale Jr., and Jeff Gordon. It worked for Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon, not so much for Mark Martin.
3. Former Chase contenders without wins or are not in Chase contention??
Some drivers that looked good last year could not repeat this year, such as Greg Biffle, and Clint Bowyer. Greg Biffle had 2 wins last season, as did Clint Bowyer. Clint was really good early in the season, but fell into a slump lately. Greg Biffle changed crew cheifs, but that didn't work out either.
4. Red Bull pulling out of NASCAR?
Red Bull hasn't been as successful in NASCAR than in Formula 1, with Sebastian Vettel. Brian Vickers made the Chase for Red Bull once, but ended up last. Before this season, he had blood clots, and missed 2009-2010, and was replaced by Scott Speed, who did not produce. This is bad news for some drivers such as Mark Martin, since this was a possible destination for him after he was told he will be replaced by Kasey Kahne.
Remember to watch the Chase to see if JJ gets knocked-off!!