By Patrick Rall
While the announcement that Dodge will leave NASCAR after
the 2012 season has seemingly made any discussion of success pointless for some
– there is still a matter of pride put forth by those of us who will watch
Dodge race in circles until the very end.
Luckily, those faithful Dodge NASCAR fans have been rewarded with a
chain of strong finishes over the past few weeks and while the Sprint Cup and Nationwide
Series each went their own way this past weekend, it was another good overall
weekend for Team Dodge.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
in Montreal and there were a surprising number of Dodge Challenger race cars in
the 43 car field. In addition to the
normal #12 and #22 Challengers owned by Penske Racing, there were four other
Dodge stock cars in the field although none of the non-regulars did very
well. Sam Hornish Jr continued his run for
the Nationwide Series championship with a 2nd place starting
position that resulted in a 2nd place finish in his #12 Alliance
Truck Parts Challenger. Rather than Brad
Keselowski behind the wheel in the #22 Challenger, Jacques Villeneuve piloted
the Challenger on the track that wears his father’s name and Jacque has a
strong run – finishing in 3rd spot.
Other Dodge racers included Joe Nemecheck in the #70 entry who finished
30th, the #126 entry driven by John Young finished 31st,
Andrew Ranger finished 32nd in his #27 Dodge and Eric Curran was the
worst finishing Dodge with his #153 car coming through in the 37th
position. With his strong finish, Sam
Hornish Jr is now tied with Ricky Stenhouse Jr for the second spot – both just
22 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
Over in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the drivers took to
the oval of Michigan International Speedway which saw just the normal two Dodge
entries from Penske Racing with Brad Keselowski in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge
Charger while Sam Hornish Jr flew down from Montreal to continue his new
campaign in the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Charger.
Hornish started the race in the 17th spot and during the
course of the event, he was able to work his way up to a 12th spot
finishing position. AS for Keselowski,
he started in the 19th spot but as has been the case for most of the
2012 season – “BK” worked his way to the front of the field, battling for the
win and settling for a 2nd place finish as Ford driver Greg Biffle
took home the win. With his 2nd
place finish, Keselowski continues to sit in the 5th place overall
in championship standings, 47 points behind leader Greg Biffle.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series rejoins the Sprint Cup this
weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for a pair of night races.