Deuces Wild: Jeff Byrd 500

Would an off-weekend after three races kill the momentum for Kurt Busch and the Shell Pennzoil team? Would Brad Keselowski be able to bounce back after less than stellar performances in the opening events? 500 laps at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile was the test these two drivers were faced with. One fared well while the other dealt with problems. Neither emerged the victor; however, one did leave Bristol atop the points standings.

Kurt Busch (#22 – Double Deuce)

Credit: Whitney Richards
Bristol is a track where one driver can dominate race after race. During their hot-streak they are unbeatable. Drivers like Waltrip and Wallace were dominant forces in the past, but over the last decade the name Busch has been on top the scoring pylon at Bristol. Between June 2002 and 2006 Kurt had five victories at Bristol. Since then the other dominant driver has been, you guessed it, younger brother Kyle. Over the past few races at Bristol the Double Deuce driver has been average, but with a great start to the 2011 season Kurt’s luck was about to change.

Busch started Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 from the 20th position but it didn’t take long for the double deuce driver to find the top-10 where he stayed for most of the day. A strong car and consistent pit stops (save overshooting the pit stall during the seventh caution) kept the #22 out of harm's way and led to a solid top-10 finish.

Busch is the only driver who has earned top-10 finishes in all four events in 2011 and is the Sprint Cup Series points leader, though just barely.

Brad Keselowski (#2 – Blue Deuce)

Credit - Whitney Richards
Thus far 2011 has been all about the tires for Michigan native Brad Keselowski. From cutting down a tire on the last lap during a Nationwide Series race while leading to having tire wear issues during practice, the driver of the Blue Deuce has seen his share of potentially good cars gone to waste. Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 started out rocky but as the day progressed the team was able to make strides, even with a crippled race car.

Keselowski started his third Bristol Cup race from the 23rd position and waited patiently for the competition caution to come out on lap 50 to check for tire wear. Unfortutnately for the Blue Deuce driver, lady luck wasn't on his side and he was caught up in an accident that occurred when Jeff Burton slowed on the track. Keselowski’s car suffered significant damage to the nose and fender but that did not stop the team from keeping their cool. Later a flat tired caused the Miller Lite Dodge to go for another spin and cost the team a lap. Never giving up, the team got back on track, earning the lucky dog and holding on to finish 18th.
Deuces Wild: Jeff Byrd 500 Deuces Wild: Jeff Byrd 500 Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 Rating: 5