Brad Keselowski wins the Indiana 250 as Elliott Sadler gets black flagged

Brad Keselowski kisses the bricks after winning the inaugural Nationwide race at Indy.
Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images for NASCAR
Expectations were high as the NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to the "big track" this year, leaving Lucas Oil Raceway Park to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (A decision I still question!) Today's race created the drama that will have fans and media both buzzing about the race, but for the wrong reasons. We are not talking about Brad Keselowski's win, the thrill of Ty Dillon's second Nationwide start and finishing in 3rd place, instead we are focused on the controversy of the race.

So let's do that now. Let's focus a bit on the race itself: Brad Keselowski's victory is a monumental one for Penske Racing, NASCAR win No. 100. Penske Racing has always been a team to beat at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so it's only fitting that "The Captain's" 100th win in NASCAR comes on such a historic track. Adding to the jubilation, teammate Sam Hornish Jr. also had an outstanding race, finishing in second and claiming his 12th top-10 of this season.

Another surprise of the race had to be the Dillon brothers. No doubt Austin is shaping up to be a strong championship contender but younger brother Ty, in only his second Nationwide race, outshone his brother by finishing in third. There is no question that Pop Pop has a lot of stock in both boys, they will be around NASCAR for a long time coming.

Travis Pastrana had his best race to date after bringing home a 13th place finish.  After the race, Pastrana said, "I felt really good. We learned a lot. They did a great job getting the car working because we just went back to what we had. It took me awhile to get the line on this track just because there is so much speed. This is the biggest track I’ve ever raced.  I’m really excited with a top-15 -- the first top-15 and the crew did a great job."

Danica Patrick's much-touted return to IMS ended in a disappointing 35th-place finish after she tapped Reed Sorenson on Lap. 39, wrecking them both.

Johanna Long qualified ahead of Patrick and looked as if she'd have a competitive finish, but a failed U-joint forced her to the garage. Long finished 11 laps down in 30th place.

And Kyle Busch's on-track woes continue. He ran inside or near the top five all race, but spun on Lap 79, barely missing the No. 12. Busch was able to continue, but didn't regain the ground he lost. His strong run ended in a 22nd-place finish.

In the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash battle, Michael Annett walked away $100,000 dollars richer this week and heading to Iowa will be joined by Hornish, Dillon and Stenhouse.

"We're not kissing the bricks, but we got a big carboard check to lay our lips on," Annett said of his consolation prize.

Questionable calls

From the drop of the green flag, there was an uproar on whether or not there should have been a black flag thrown for Kyle Busch jumping the start of the race. Kasey Kahne started on pole but as the green flag dropped, Busch jumped to the lead. NASCAR did not call a penalty on the start, much to the dismay or fans and media alike. Post-race NASCAR's VP of Competition Robin Pemberton explained in their view, Kahne did not go when the green flag flew.
As the race wound down, the same cannot be said for Elliott Sadler, who faced the dreaded black flag on a restart, told he beat race leader Brad Keselowski to the line. The problem - for one, Sadler was pushed by teammate Austin Dillon.

The outcry was evident on Twitter, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson even chimed in saying "I feel for @Elliott_Sadler... What was he suppose to do with another car pushing him." Sadler's Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick stated, "Holy cow there is a riot in bus 29 that is not right... after the call at the beginning of the race... #reallyconfused."

Although Sadler and crew chief Luke Lambert tried to fight the decision during the race, Sadler eventually served his penalty with a gut-wrenching plea over his radio, saying "That's so wrong. That's so wrong. To penalize me for a mistake they made. NASCAR is taking the championship from me."

After the race, Sadler and team owner went to the NASCAR hauler for further discussion. NASCAR clarified that Sadler did NOT jump the restart, but was penalized for beating the leader to the line. If  he had given back the position, the issue would have been moot. Sadler took to Twitter after meeting with NASCAR and simply said, "After meeting with NASCAR.. They said I DIDNT JUMP START but seems to be my fault the 22 spun his tires... I'm devastated......."

While this is not the way we wanted NASCAR's first Nationwide race at the Brickyard to end, tongues are now wagging and people will be waiting until next year's race to see whether controversy goes with the track. 

My question to you - racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway or at Lucas Oil Raceway Park?

Race results:

Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR

  1. Brad Keselowski  
  2. Sam Hornish
  3. Ty Dillon
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Austin Dillon
  6. Michael Annett
  7. Joey Logano
  8. Paul Menard
  9. Ricky Stenhouse
  10. Jeremy Clements
  11. Mike Bliss
  12. Justin Allgaier
  13. Travis Pastrana
  14. Brian Scott
  15. Elliott Sadler
  16. Jason Bowles
  17. Cole Whitt
  18. Joe Nemechek
  19. Kenny Wallace
  20. Mike Wallace
  21. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  22. Kyle Busch
  23. Timmy Hill
  24. Eric McClure
  25. Kasey Kahne
  26. James Buescher
  27. Ryan Blaney
  28. Tim Schendel
  29. Tayler Malsam
  30. Johanna Long 
  31. Robert Richardson Jr.
  32. Kyle Fowler
  33. Reed Sorenson
  34. Kurt Busch
  35. Danica Patrick
  36. Jeff Green
  37. Scott Riggs
  38. Erik Darnell
  39. T.J. Bell
  40. Kevin Lepage
  41. Chase Miller
  42. Josh Wise
  43. Stephen Leicht
Brad Keselowski wins the Indiana 250 as Elliott Sadler gets black flagged Brad Keselowski wins the Indiana 250 as Elliott Sadler gets black flagged Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, July 28, 2012 Rating: 5