After losing the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 200 yards from the finish line at Gateway International Raceway in July, it was fitting that Brad Keselowski drove his No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge to Victory Lane on Saturday in the 5-Hour ENERGY 250. He swapped the race lead with teammate and event polesitter Justin Allgaier late in the race, but was able to pull ahead in the final six-lap stretch after a late-race caution. Allgaier, a native of Riverton, IL and a area fan favorite, finished third, while former Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Bliss took runner-up honors. Jason Leffler and three-time GIR NASCAR Nationwide Series winner Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. Despite the final straightaway bump from Edwards during the race here in July, Keselowski said in Victory Lane that he had moved on. “I try not to hold grudges. I try not to think of that and just focus on our next race. That was key about winning today. You can’t panic about what happened in the last race. You have to move forward and move on with your life. Our team did that today.”
Allgaier won the pole with a speed of 135.131 mph, circling the 1.25-mile in 33.301 seconds earlier in the day and appeared to be the class of the field during the 200-lap race. A call on pit road for four tires after the sixth and final caution, however, doomed the No. 12 Dodge team’s chances for a victory in the final NASCAR event at Gateway.
Some of my favorite shot’s from the ADRL Drags at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL. The winners were Alex Hossler – Pro Extreme, Shannon Jenkins – Pro Nitrous, Chuck Ulsch – Extreme 10.5, Brian Gahm – Extreme Pro Stock, Ashley Owens – Pro Extreme Motorcycle and Alexander Oppen – Pro Junior Dragster.
Alex Hossler a Canton, Il native captured the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Pro Extreme title Saturday night in Madison, IL. It was one of the most exciting races of the weekend as he crossed the finish line with his car on fire. With more than 100 friends, family and co-workers looking on Alex captured his second career ADRL PX win. His ’71 Camaro went a Saturday-best 3.69 at 203 miles per hour, beating Gaylen Smith before a massive overflow crowd at GIR. ”(The 3.69) put quite the exclamation point on the coolest win I’ve ever had,” Hossler said. “I don’t know how I could have made it any better. “There is no race I would rather win. This is definitely the highlight of my ADRL career. This has been great, to share this experience with all the people I care about.” You can check out more on Alex at Chris Duncan Race Cars.
The pyro show at the conclusion of the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway wasn’t the only fireworks display in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski came out of Turn 4 on the last lap side-by-side, but at the finish line, it was Edwards getting the checkers and Keselowski needing the wreckers. The win was the third for Edwards at his home track, making him the only driver to win more than two NNS races here. It was the 27th career Nationwide win for the 2007 series champion and his second this season. Two-time GIR winner Reed Sorenson earned runner-up honors for the second-consecutive year and polesitter Trevor Bayne rounded out the podium with a third-place finish.
“We had a great restart,” said Edwards while addressing the media during his post-race press conference. “My guys built me a great car. We came to the checkered flag, and I hate to see stuff tore up, but we came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1. Just an awesome race. … I’m sure some of them don’t like that win—Brad Keselowski fans and stuff—but, man, I just couldn’t let him take it from me. I had to do what I had to do.”
Keselowski started third and dominated the race, leading five times for 136 laps in his No. 22 Dodge and appeared to be headed for victory lane. But a caution involving Keselowski’s teammate Justin Allgaier at Lap 196 forced a four-minute race stoppage and bunched up the field on the restart. The two swapped the lead back and forth in the remaining two laps and it was coming out of Turn 4 when contact was made, putting Keselowski into the wall and creating a massive pileup. The wreck became even scarier when Shelby Howard, with nowhere to go, smashed into the helpless Keselowski at full speed. Fortunately, all the drivers involved were evaluated and released from the infield medical center, but the incident relegated the Penske Racing driver to a 14th-place finish and dropped his points lead over Edwards from 227 points to 168.
“I was really proud how we were racing each other,” Keselowski said after the race. “He was holding me tight and getting me a little loose which was cool. I was rubbing on him a little bit. It was just great racing. I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn’t happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool whether it’s at 200 mph or 120. I’m sorry that’s the way it had to end.”
Here are a few shot’s I put together taken before and during a Nascar race. From time trials to pre race festivities and then the actual race there are numerous things happening that the average race fan never gets to see. I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look and hope you enjoy my snapshots.