In a night of total dominance by Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, Brad “Special K” Keselowski came from out of nowhere and stole the race.

Earlier in the evening, the Blue Deuce left pit road dragging his jack and had to come back in and have the team remove it from the underside of his car. You would think that kind of thing would really throw a damper on a team and make it difficult for them to overcome racing in traffic. Racing in traffic seemed to be a common problem for many cars Saturday night. But Keselowski and team overcame such adversity and got the no-win monkey off of his back.

 

Now we have to see if he can sustain the momentum or if he will falter again. Two tough tracks are coming up that could erase any gains he made with this win. At least the team knows it still has what it takes to win.

 

Kenseth did himself a huge favor by finishing just in front of Johnson to retain his points lead. It looked like Johnson would take over the lead early in the evening when Kenseth was struggling. But then, as usual, Kenseth’s car came to life and he charged to the front.

 

The rest of the race was dominated by Hendrick and Joe Gibbs racing. Kasey Kahne led 138 laps, Jimmie Johnson 130, Jeff Gordon 26 and Dale Jr. led 19. Matt Kenseth led just 1 and Kyle Busch just 4, but the Gibbs teams were racing up front with the Hendrick cars. But you don’t get to kiss the pretty girls after coming in 2nd.

 

The Chase point standings did not shake up much either. With Kenseth and Johnson finishing ahead of everyone else, there was little room to make ground on the leaders, just ask Kyle Busch. On a night that you would call a 5th place finish a decent showing, that was not enough for Busch after his terrible finish at Kansas last week. When Kenseth and Johnson place 3-4, it’s hard to make up ground. Frankly, even a win for him does little when those two place that high. But it proves that Busch needs wins and bad luck for those two in order to have any hope at catching up.

 

While it is still anyone’s title at this point, it looks like it is down to the top 5 that would have any chance of wining it all this year. After Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle is way back at -58 points. That is a lot to overcome with just 5 races to go without the leaders having major issues in a couple of races.

 

This weekend is Talladega, a thrilling race that could have a huge impact on the standings. It could tighten things up dramatically and finally end some teams’ chances of catching up at all.

 

This week WINNERS:

 

Brad Keselowski gained more in bragging rights than anything else. But a win is a win, you take them in any fashion.

Kasey Kahne (-81) led the most laps but succumbed to Special K. He is still last in the Chase.

 

Matt Kenseth (0) retains the points lead by finishing ahead of Johnson, which did not look possible earlier in the race.

 

Jimmie Johnson (-4) continues to lurk, even after losing the race lead on the final restart.

 

Jeff Gordon (-36) continues to prove that he has what it takes to compete.

 

Kevin Harvick (-29) is just waiting for the Matty K and JiJo to mess up. But he is running out of time.

 

Kyle Busch (-37) bounced back, but not enough.

 

Denny Hamlin gained his first top 10 in….well, forever.

 

Ryan Newman’s (-78) top 10 kept him from replacing Kahne in the last Chase position.

 

 

This week’s LOSERS:

 

Travis Kvapil for being arrested for spousal abuse and false imprisonment.

 

Dale, Jr. (-66) led laps, looked stout and then lost it when his car tightened up. He even lost a Chase position to Clint Bowyer (-63).

 

Kurt Busch (-59) and Greg Biffle (-58) sandwiched Earnhardt and did nothing to help them in the Chase.

 

Joey Logano (-75) finally had a mediocre finish. He still has a lot of positions to overtake but I think they are just happy to be in the Chase this year.

 

Mark Martin has had nothing but bad luck in the 14 since replacing Smoke. He lost an engine early on at Charlotte.

 

Kyle Larson had a nice top 20 debut going until his engine puked.