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NASCAR Cup: Michigan International Speedway garage becomes soap opera

Brad Keselowski leads the field to the green flag in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 13, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Brad Keselowski leads the field to the green flag in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 13, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

As pressure mounts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with the regular season winding down and the playoffs on the horizon, the garage at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn ahead of the Aug. 13 running of the Pure Michigan 400 played host to a real-life NASCAR soap opera, highlighted by Brad Keselowski accusing Toyota teams of sandbagging, Kyle Busch calling Keselowski a moron and a the circulation of a fictitious rumor.

In multiple interviews throughout the race weekend in his home state of Michigan, Keselowski claimed Toyota teams may not have brought their best equipment to Michigan, since NASCAR was supposedly going to take more than the usual number of cars after the race to inspect wind-tunnel-test them thoroughly and possibly make rules changes in the name of parity.

“We’ve seen the last two or three weeks that the Toyota cars are pretty dominant,” Keselowski said. “We had a strong suspicion that those guys would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition, and potentially, that’s right, because our team hasn’t done much differently, and those guys are just not as fast as they’ve been the last few weeks.”

Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano, Ford drivers, qualified on the front row at MIS, and the race was won by Kyle Larson, a Chevrolet driver. But Larson’s win came after an overtime restart pass of Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. Toyotas driven by Furniture Row Racing teammates Truex and Erik Jones finished second and third.

Keselowski led just over half the 200-lap race, running up front for 105 laps. Truex led 57.

Keselowski’s comments rubbed at least one Toyota driver, Busch, the wrong way.

“Brad’s a (expletive) moron,” Busch said. “We don’t just turn it down. We actually have a new engine package here this week. He’s a moron.”

NASCAR usually takes the race-winning and second-place-finishing cars, along with a randomly-chosen car to its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., after each race. The sanctioning body snookered its competitors at Michigan, though. leading teams to believe more cars would be taken after the Pure Mighican 400 for thorough inspections that could lead to changes in the name of parity.

After the race, though, NASCAR took three cars, as usual.

“We actually found it kind of comical this weekend,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said of the rumor during his weekly visit on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “We put a little bit of the rumor out there, and candidly, it worked. If anyone would have done some serious research, the wind tunnel that we would use for this is under construction this week, so it would have been impossible.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 16, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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