They were going for broke, Jimmie Johnson had the strategy to maybe get by for a sixth Sprint Cup Championship. For five-time, it wasn’t meant to be though.
After a long, stellar season, Brad Keselowski stayed strong especially in the postseason and survived the final two weeks to capture the 2012 title among the NASCAR elite. Jimmie Johnson, who was trying to win on fuel mileage at Miami, definitely had the fuel strategy and better mileage to keep Keselowski on his toes.
However, Johnson’s crew left a lug nut off the left rear tire on his final pit stop, forcing the #48 Lowes Chevy back to the pits for a penalty. That pretty much gave Keselowski the championship unless they could pull out a miracle, but instead just a few laps later, something in the drive train broke on Johnson’s car.
Thus, it’s long time Sprint Cup owner Roger Penske’s first title in the sport and Keselowski’s too at the age of 28.
Keselowski was aggressive all year long until Sunday in trying to protect his double digit margin. However, there is no doubt Keselowski has earned the right to be champion, driving the No.2 Miller Lite Dodge this season. He posted five wins, 13 top fives and 23 top tens in 36 races this season.
Ever since losing the race at Charlotte during “The Chase,” Keselowski put up four straight finishes of eighth or better and ended the year with a 15th, while Johnson was in the garage finishing 36th.
While funny that Dodge is pulling out the sport in a championship year (the first of which in 37 years), the chemistry crew chief Paul Wolfe and Keselowski have is undeniable. His team was underestimated all year until halfway through the postseason and they proved that they belong at the top of the podium with the likes of the Hendrick, Roush, Michael Waltrip and Richard Childress teams. And to think, this was just Brad’s third full season on the Sprint Cup circuit. Just something to wonder about come 2013.
Congrats to the Chesnee High football team after making it to the semifinals of the AA Division II South Carolina high school playoffs. Abbeville is all that stands in the way of a trip to the title game. Chesnee finds themselves here after pulling away from Blacksburg last Friday at home. The connection from Darrius Proctor to Markell Hill has been a strong tandem to contain all year on the gridiron as Chesnee won this past week, 47-28. I hope a sellout crowd comes to watch the Eagles host again on Friday against the Panthers.
Speaking of football, here is my All-Rutherford County Football team for 2012.
R-S Central (6): Devante Austin, Tyler Lowery, Hunter McSwain, Jared Foster-Smith, Turandus Hampton and Matt Atchley.
East Rutherford (11): T.J. Watkins, Donald Wilkins, Jaman Edgerton, Ty’ree Lindsay, Charlie Perez, Jordan Strickland, Lovell Robinson, Griffin Stamey, Harrison Wilkerson, Jabari Cash and Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez.
Chase(8): Josh Wright, Shevon Logan, Tray Watkins, Dillon Parris, Avery Hollars, Michael Short, Steven Holland and Tario Young.
Thomas Jefferson (5): Mac Martin, Will McCraw, Coty Flynn, Anthony Helton, Efrim Borders.
Injuries to Dustin Atchley, Elric Ruff, Jaharri Miller and Marquis Cash were tough names to leave out since they didn’t see the field much this season. There were probably 5-10 names that I was on the fence about, but I am going with the 30 kids that I felt like should be chosen.