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On The Gas, On The Brakes In Richmond

Who found themselves on the gas pedal and which drivers spent too much time on the brake pedal at Richmond? (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Who was on the gas pedal and who spent too much time on the brake pedal at Richmond? (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

NASCAR hit the quarter point of the 2017 season at Richmond, wrapping it up with the final short track race until September.  The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers took to the hot and slick three quarter of a mile Richmond International Raceway. As expected, it was a little wild at times.

Before we head off to the biggest track on the schedule, Talladega Superspeedway, we’ll look back on who ran away at the front of the field, and who just ran to the hauler.

On The Gas…

5) Denny Hamlin – “We’ve got work to do (with) finding speed,” Hamlin said. You’d have thought he came home 20th. However, he scored a solid third place finish. Guess he’s still not used to being at the front again.

4) Matt Kenseth – See a theme here? Kenseth, another Joe Gibbs Racing driver, had a solid weekend, hoping for a change of fortune. While he was fast, sitting on the pole, pit strategy and changing track conditions cost him a solid finish that he probably deserved. Interestingly, he finally scored stage points.

3) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Props for this stat goes to the producers of the Morning Drive on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. Since his April Fools Day “fake” proposal to Danica Patrick, Stenhouse has three top ten finishes, all on the short tracks. He may hate the middle part of the season.

2) Brad Keselowski – While Keselowski finished second, he will fall in to second in this week’s rundown. In summary, he had the fastest car early in a run.  By all accounts, he was on his way to another win. Meanwhile, Logano should be glad it wasn’t the Toyota Owners 410.

1) Joey Logano – Edging out his teammate this week, Logano observed that he enjoyed seeing his teammate in the rear view mirror, except when the car is getting bigger. It was growing in the mirror rapidly over the last handful of laps. Ultimately, Logano was able to hold off his teammate for his first win of 2017.

Those five prospered at Richmond.  Now, let’s review how was on the other end.

On The Brakes…

5) Chase Elliott – The sophomore driver has been so good this year, you had to wonder when the No. 24 team would really struggle. It was this week. Elliott said his Hendrick Motorsports team never hit on anything all weekend. The good news for Elliott was that a teammate didn’t stuff him in to the SAFER barrier.

4) Ryan Blaney – Richmond was less than kind to the young guns this week. Blaney fought through the field after early handling issues, looking for a solid top-10. Unfortunately, the No. 41 Mobil Ford of Kurt Busch took a bite out of the right rear tire, promptly sending Blaney into the turn 3 wall.

3) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – It’s hard enough announcing your retirement. When you get to work, you would think your friends and co-workers would take it easy on you.

That was not the case for Dale Earnhardt Jr, as Jimmie Johnson’s spotter missed the No. 88 running on the high side off turn 2. As a result, the two teammates wound up a little closer than they wanted.  At least Earnhrdt laughed about it, tweeting to his teammate that he made his CD skip. He’ll be happy to skip on to Talladega.

2) Kyle Busch – When asked about the commitment line violation, Busch simply said, “Ball and strike.” It’s a bright orange box. Maybe he could blame the other drivers that drove over it, marking it up and making harder to see. Or maybe he should not get close to it and take the fastest car to Victory Lane. Logano probably sent his gratitude to Kyle Busch.

1) Erik Jones – As Jones said, “It’s lap 4, and they’re racing like it’s lap 400.”

Sorry, Erik. It is called a race and people have places to go. Unfortunately, you were in the way. The only consolation for Jones was that he probably had a much cooler view of the race.

Short track racing is in the rear-view…for now. Unlike Brad Keselowski, it’s not getting bigger. Now, it’s time to shake those hands out and get them loosened up.  White knuckles are on the horizon.

As Barney Hall would say, “They don’t race them anywhere in the world like they do at Talladega.”

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera. I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO. The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth. Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras. My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports. See you at a track soon

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