DOVER, Del. - Flyers center Jeff Carter was among the 60,000-plus sun-baked fans who were treated to a rare NASCAR doubleheader at Dover International Speedway yesterday, with enough on-track skirmishes to mangle a garage full of sheet metal and strain at least one team's camaraderie.
"This is wild, this is the best," Carter said from a suite above the start/finish line.
Even the sight of Brian Keselowski's No. 26 black Dodge Charger - carrying the Detroit Red Wings logo on the hood, "Go Wings" on the rear quarterpanels, and "Hockeytown" across the back bumper - couldn't put a damper on Carter's enthusiasm.
"The car looks cool, and I know he is from the Detroit area and is friends with the Red Wings' owner," Carter said. "I have no problem with a fan showing his colors, especially for a great team like the Red Wings."
While Brian Keselowski was showing his loyalties, Brad Keselowski was showing his older brother how to win the Heluva Good! 200 Nationwide Series race - through determination and a lot of luck.
In the opener of just the fourth doubleheader in 41 years of racing here, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano combined to lead all but five of the 200 laps. But on a restart just two miles from the finish, Busch was leading the field into Turn 1 when he appeared to slow because of a deflating tire and was bumped from behind by Logano.
Running third, Brad Keselowski seized the opportunity by driving low through the corner and pulled away to take his first checkered flag of the season in the No. 88 Chevrolet.
"We put ourselves in position to win and caught a huge break," Keselowski said after receiving congratulations from team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Logano, who held on to finish second, sheepishly admitted: "I just screwed up. [Busch] checked up, and I got into him. It's 100 percent my fault; I've got to find him and apologize."
Busch wound up 17th, and his series lead was cut to 40 points. After climbing out of his car, Busch peeled off his driver's firesuit as he headed to the No. 51 Toyota Tundra he drove in the Camping World Truck Series race, which had been postponed because of Friday's thunderstorm. While Busch refused to comment, his Nationwide Series crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, absolved Logano of blame.
Busch "said he could feel the right front [tire] go down as he was coming to the green flag," Ratcliff said. "It wasn't Joey's fault. I think [Busch] was already too committed to the line he had, and when the right front is flat, the car just doesn't turn."
In the AAA Insurance 200 truck race, Busch led 133 of the 200 laps and was at the point with less than 15 miles to go. But his right front tire suddenly shredded, sending him careening into the wall and relegating Busch to a ninth-place finish.