“Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.” When it comes to racing, even I’m not sure if that is true or false. Here’s why, I think in racing, you have to be both lucky AND good.
Any driver is lucky to get a ride, but the talented drivers are the ones that get the good rides. When a wreck is in front and there’s little time to get through it, the lucky drivers are the ones that slow up and wait for it to clear up before moving forward. The good drivers are the ones that drive through it, using their skill to avoid the accidents.
In racing, being lucky and good go hand and hand.
Sunday’s race at Las Vegas had both luck and good skills involved, just in different ways. Near the end of the race, it came down to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. With a few laps left, the concern was the fuel left in Junior’s tank, as if would he have enough to make it to the end. He conserved, and let off, but that brought Keselowski into the fray. With 10 laps to go, the holding off was done, it was go-time. White flag in the air, and only two cars were gonna battle to the end.
But, Junior’s car sputtered, with low fuel, and to the bottom he went. Keselowski would go by to get his first win of the season, while Junior recovered to get the car restarted and make it to the finish, finishing second.
So where’s the lucky part, and what was good? Keselowski was lucky that Junior was low on fuel, because if he did not run out, as fast as the No. 88 was in the final laps, he was able to pull away from Keselowski when it mattered, and that would have likely meant the finishing order would have been reversed. But, in order to be in that lucky spot, he needed the good help of his pit crew, specifically crew chief Paul Wolfe.
Last week, Wolfe missed the race due to the birth of his first child. He came back, and it was almost like not one thing was different from the week before. Wolfe made some key calls during the race when other teams did the opposite. Whether it was staying out on a caution following pit stops, or going fuel only, or anything that would put the team back in a spot where their driver could win the race.
It was a good team, making good calls, that led to a satisfying victory.
Some gambles pay off, especially in Las Vegas, but it also helps to have some good colleagues to help make those gambles worth trying.
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Earnhardt Jr. 3-Menard 4-Logano 5-Edwards 6-Johnson 7-Newman 8-Kahne 9-Gordon 10-Kenseth
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Kyle Busch 12-Hamlin 21-Patrick 33-Stewart 41-Harvick
CAUTIONS: 4 for 18 laps. Lap 18-22 (Fluid on track), 46-49 (Debris-T3), 156-160 (Debris-BS), 222-225 (Debris-FS).
LEAD CHANGES: 21 among 10 drivers. Logano 1-19, Keselowski 20-21, Logano 22-46, Johnson 47-76, Kyle Busch 77-95, Earnhardt Jr. 96-97, Kyle Busch 98-129, Harvick 130-139, Kyle Busch 140, Keselowski 141, Kenseth 142-143, Harvick 144-156, Keselowski 157-195, Johnson 196-198, Menard 199-204, Johnson 205, Earnhardt Jr. 206-210, Edwards 211, Keselowski 213-222, Earnhardt Jr. 223-266, Keselowski 267.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 24 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 154.633 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.53 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS: 1. Earnhardt Jr, 133 points; 2. Keselowski, -1; 3. Johnson, -16; 4. Logano, -17; 5. Gordon, -18; 6. Edwards, -28; 7. Kenseth, -28; 8. Hamlin, -32; 9. Newman, -36; 10. Kyle Busch, -38.