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Ep. 200: Cup Playoffs, post-Kansas with Steve Letarte on Brad Keselowski's collapse and what's next for Team Penske; Denny Hamlin's emergence as championship favorite; Kyle Larson's injured ribs; what's next at Martinsville


Monday mornings capitalizing football morning in America column listen this is uncomfortably close what could go wrong in three two it's Peter King hosted the aptly named Peter King podcast dropping every Wednesday I chat with big football people now I've added a second mini Padres UH Finished thirty ninth engine so when I look at all the big numbers Brad Keselowski was twenty to finish nineteenth left three points back that one is is shocking and that is shocking to me shocking that team like Paul Wolfram Brad Keselowski you know didn't step up playoffs about stepping up and they didn't do it and you know Surpri I don't think it was shocking welcome to the NASCAR and podcast I'm your host a Ryan back here with a playoff edition of the NASCAR. NBC podcast where we are joined by Stephen to me because there's no I'm a little piece paper here there's no parentheses that says accident or engine or mechanical or he just was outrun by over twenty points and when I was watching it back again today he was behind Harvick on the inside on the final restart Harvick I think finish ninth now he went to the Middle Yeah Kazlauskas have the back and forth that Kazlauskiene boom at the end but in terms of storylines I had three meaty sidebars last night we had a long production call this morning for Nascar America Day there was a lot that happened twenty four points up and I did some research in my mind barring a mechanical or an accident this is the biggest collapse of a playoff guy in cut race the big ones that come the mind cobbler and fourteen and twenty six up into a cart race finished fortieth was eliminated that was to accident the other big one Kyle Larson was twenty nine points up comes in a lot of people are focused on that it was an eighteen point gap from Lugano Elliott but Brad Keselowski actually had a bigger was he four points up eventually between the two gibbs cars of Hamlin Kyle Busch wasn't impressive recovery and drive we were focused on other one of those things let's start with Brad Keselowski or eliminated which I appreciate the context of that quote that's the that's the Coochie that I like to cheer for is one that really paints an accurate picture so not only did they not have the speed stevie watching the replay of the final restart and you had an interesting take on the replay on the race broadcast on the BBC. You said that you didn't think Brad Keselowski did anything wrong his move to the mental I think it was gonna work actually until the exit to I think the mistake or with you want to call it the unfortunate lawson momentum wasn't really right here we Paul Wolfe why wouldn't admit it the quote I saw from Dustin long after the racist Paul said listen after round one we sat down and said listen we're going to have to be better we weren't better because of that outside you can't be in the middle and he got stuck let's talk about what this collapsed means for breakfast Alaska Hello let's put it in context first of all because we were talking about this today's well he team penske also has this House of horrors with mechanical problems and sloppiness mistakes were not accustomed to seeing from them in all three races of the second round you had the actual headline is usually the low the slower of the two just because there's no options you get stuck you know if you get to the top you can kind of take a run you can move around I like I would say these gremlins happen a loose wheel on Saturday to back it up with a loose wheel on Sunday not after a pitstop but from the garage area is just one apps there's lots of ways you know you know it's kind of like all of us do a lot of things in everyday life that are very important that if you do every single day you start to take them for well and I would counter the finish of the race was as good as the spring except we were distracted by the other storylines I really think that chase Elliott storm back up through the field and finishing offense goes from thirteenth to nineteenth and takes himself out of the playoffs sheared he I know that 'cause laskey thoughts top was better he's trying to move you could do the start five times and three times go forward and twice go back you in theory can actually torquil up against the weight of the car if there's debris on the wheel spacer behind it debris on the wheel you know there's a lot of possibles but it's one of those casual one hundred percent an unforced error you know and and I'm not saying it's unacceptable because I've had them so you know what happens I'm not I'm not going to point the finger like how dare they I had three wind in the middle of one or two it's where he comes off turn to and and Kurt Busch stacks up the fourteen of Boyer and he lets the forty seven get to his outside if you're going to get to the outside you have to be the right it's a symbol like let's be clear but axel I've been in those meetings right like did they do something wrong apartment I could give you some context torquing the wheels can be one of them you know if you if you don't talk in a star pattern if you just start grabbing the torque wrench in buzz around its really loose and the weight of the car sitting on it where do you think those discussions happened as well so the problem is is two of the three advanced why I think Paul is a great crew chief there's GonNa be a question mark of of the unison the team of Brad and Paul and they've had so much success but we know everything has a shelf life What are those to think I mean really in my mind Joey Logano overcomes the loose we own advances for Penske Ryan Blaney of course are eat hit advanced despite the problems at Dover because he wanted Talladega Kazlauskas course now is going to be the focus arm fall off Indianapolis Atlanta for it happens it's going to happen the stakes are going to happen but your thoughts or hopes of advancing I before the restart I thought he was done starting the inside that far back as I said on TV we'll watch the two car because I don't think there could be a worse place to start to try to hold your position the inside Tart Steve that when you put the playoffs that we put the Music Don Don Don Yeah we should add that because there's so much to talk about there is this week I was thinking about it today we'll be tarnished or eliminated in this case with things like that do happen how does a loose wheel happen starter races that just a mist thing on checklist that somebody didn't catch per for how does penske fix this and solve this address this going forward who's held accountable here the muscle the upper management at team Penske as competition director is Paul Wolfe the Kerchief Fan ruminating on this race and thinking yeah I don't know was it as good as the race of Kansas earlier this year maybe it didn't have quite as much action and maybe didn't when you look at a successful organization and a successful pairing he gets to a point where no one's going to be able to judge those two together more than those two problem in the burned up hub for Llegado and Blaney it you don't have to go that far back they had to twenty two cars on the track this weekend and both had loose wheels from the garage and I think they've been together long enough this isn't a conversation for middle-management right this is going to be a sit down at the end of the year with Brad and Paul and I'm sure the captain himself you know this is an Ryan Blaney ran well Talladega but that's an anomaly he hasn't been great all year long once again wasn't that good at Kansas so of eight goes for the other two penske cars because no offense but joy Lugano got through by Great Luck great repairs at Talladega and some playoff points earlier they will be did we just need faster cars are we not communicating as well where do we stand it'll be interesting to see how they come back and I think a lot of them perhaps has to do with how the round I'm not taking any way don't get me wrong Talladega great everybody tried to win it but I'm saying when you're looking at a global evaluation of the organization I'm not sure Talladega win you're going to hang your hat on so it'll be the question isn't are they the right match they are obviously are they still the right match it's a very different question because are the right match can be answered by other people develop through the middle of the year and didn't get better I think that's an organization not just them there are many other cars highly funded cars that would like to be as good as the trying to see how how they balanced back from here so if they catch fire and both of them somehow miraculously I think that you would turn miracle both Llegado and blaming match to advance to the championship round is there more heat than on Kozlovsky is this I mean it's a partnership that is in its ninth year Rosgen Paul Wolfe won a championship no question that we know that the driver who advanced with a runner up finish at Kansas Chase Elliott is sticking together with his crew chief Alan Gustafson I mean that was a gritty and I don't know we'll see I would be surprised me if they go out this way I think you have a better chance of them not staying together if they won one of the next four races Gotcha well that guy's personality doesn't match this guy's right they have a trophy case to say you know that's all wrong that's why go back to the only way this conversation moves Ford is between Paul and Brad themselves if they say you know we gave it our all and it just wasn't enough we have the faster cars we still believe in one another then that's I think what it is team penske started off good and couldn't you so you know I don't WanNa make sound like the wheels are coming off but I mean these conversations happen so it'll be interesting to see you think they stay together I do I think they have too much success will things that is very its seat belt drive or putting a steering while honor buckling up a seat belts everybody is shocked when it comes off but you see your wealth do come off belts do come loose performance by the number nine team I don't know if anybody thought they would advance on points I don't think anybody thought we would see this I said it was a must win yeah and they thought it was chase thought so in year two and two thousand twelve in the Cup series the one expanding championship together back in two thousand nine so the beginning together really a day so the run its course so but that changes the question when it comes to the stages the two didn't miss out you know he he he's okay but five stage points wasn't enough to finish where he finished I mean it was how many points you score any trace I've seen a lot of seventh place finishes score a ton more points than second or third or fourth place finish over the course of a day you cannot miss out in the playoffs it's hard these restarts are difficult he was in position Intel him in the forty-one made contact on the front stretch he was in position to advance it was a cycle of a couple of restarts eliminated and on the flip side of course chase manages to get stage points get the great finish heaving but until you hear anything else on the radio go forward and I think that like it's an you know we treat this as a chess match because it looks like one want you to go as fast as you can go yeah I want you to be as aggressive as you can be and I want you to take your vehicle to the best finish possible if there's every reason I don't want that I'll let you know well I think he was told on the cool down laps hey beat Brad on points somehow he thought until the very last lap used to have to win well stage points to car stored five chase Elliott scored fifteen got it all and I think these drivers have to go wherever their instinct tells them moves them forward another guy who made all the right decisions was Denny Hamlin wins the race enters but chess is played very slowly on a board in air conditioned room these guys are driving one hundred eighty miles an hour with split-second decisions you know this is not a slow sport be and that's where Lugano was in so chase had to go I want every driver to drive like they're trying to improve their own cars soon as they start trying to get to listen it's like a trick play just and people don't WanNa talk about stages they make up all the points they want but it's not about top five top ten's the fans hate it when I say that but it isn't we knew Kyle Busch was winning Denny Hamlin his resume can't be argued but the simple fact is at some point your value is not agreed upon no you know why does he push them well okay well he got the second most points high if he doesn't push him does that really what you WanNa do you know cost yourself points yeah I wouldn't do that had this weird situation in Stage one where he pushed the guy he's trying to beat on points thought Llegado to the stage one win but he finished his secondary gets a stage points again like just so I saw conversation does it feel as if this is the year of Hamlin I mean and I know that you know putting this in context you were talking about this earlier a year ago I don't know if anybody thought Denny Hamlin fight but if you say look back twelve months I think he would tell you that there had to be some sort of concern inside he gets a crew chief change wins the Daytona five hundred continues to win twelve months later he is a championship favourite he has one in the playoffs and more importantly for me he is doc tackle and run the football if you control the line of scrimmage and when you run the football then everything else is easy if you ask your driver to start at math and stop stop stop stop stop? Christopher Bell was coming we knew Eric Jones wiscon- was there to take a year back he was the big salary who hadn't won right we knew Drexel's going there the round of eight and Martinsville speedway which of course is one of his best tracks with a ton of momentum and like his seventh or Eighth Word Car Martinsville come up his entire career they've they've supported NASCAR as long as I have been around fed ex has been in the sport to have the CEO not a marketing guy not a division head the guy that makes Indian this vision at this point twelve months ago I will have no problem saying that I wondered if Denny Hamlin will be a driver and Joe Gibbs and twenty twenty I figured he would get nineteen we quickly it was Kinda like Larson after the wendover although for a different reason in this case but maybe but Larssen was right yeah so does that mean then he's going to be right we'll see Hamlin I have no idea what he makes but it's a lot more than younger newer drivers and a year ago I think he would admit if you sat here he might not admit it then because great stars will never great stars continued Ah I think I I'm not that good I would I would try to get as good as I can every I think the question was why it was a situation and I know the outside the top where you wanted the guy that created the company when he's watching he's congratulating you I don't know how things could get better for a race car driver I think have been something we all overlooked I saw it for this that makes them more appealing to a fan base that he wants to win that he's out there to win that he's not afraid of taking the Super Star mentality and in today's world of equality and nobody wants to stand out and nobody wants to brag too much he's the opposite why he doesn't Brag he has no problem telling you how good he is multibillion dollar industry when he is supporting you that's a pretty good guy in in your corner I had somebody at Fedex telling me during that visit that denny is their number one athlete I mean relationship this is your new guy and it's worked but I think what he needed was the pressure of choosing the crew chief taken off like Mike Wheelers talking to the CEO of Fedex the first person he talks to so when a sport in which sponsors drive the ship and he has had a wonderful sponsor with Fedex he has more confidence than I think we've seen in years and I think it's because of the crew chief he's got this Guy Chris Gebhardt who I don't know if he knew him very well I mean that that wasn't when he when world they don't apply it's just entertainment let's be clear so in entertainment I want somebody to Donnelly tell me he's the best in show me he's the best and right now it'd be argued that he's not the best in the NASCAR series podcast narrative episode for this podcast where I went with Denny to Memphis back in the spring and I saw him talking all these executives and I saw the way he is treated at those headquarters and his and he has no problem telling you what he has because of how good he is and there's some of that that's refreshing when it comes to sport you know sports aren't the rest of the world all the rules for the rest if I am an opposing team I'm doing everything I can to make Denny Hamlin not feel good about himself in the next three races because I think he's homestead bound I think he's going to Miami rotations when you have to do it those things are real and I don't know the inner workings of the eleven team currently but whatever it is it works so the reason why he shouldn't be like when I look at Danny right there are people that don't love his confidence his swagger his Jordan a great I like I get done with the season and he doesn't have the armour up of being a competitor he's a smarter wiser guy both chase and any learned something from that incident you know they have a lot of relationships in the PGA tour yeah a lot of relationships with big name golfers and other sports but Jenny is the face of me offender or beat him on the racetrack I don't think tank saying he could care less what you say see that's interesting because there was the situation during the race where Denny Hamlin Winston I think a two thousand ten denny would deny no no no no no I think a two thousand nineteen denny would if you could ever you couldn't do it in season when we of all the it's amazing the support Nascar gets but when you see a driver get out and they hand him a phone and it's the CEO of the sticker on the hood who has been there for another guy who took some medicine before the race Sunday and a form of a cortisone shot. Yeah Kyle Larson drives with we're not really sure how injured Kyle Larson ribs are and I think sponsored for a lot of things as a crew chief my man's ribs were never on the list so you know that was up to him yeah you know why Dale like it was a big moment and he you know he voices displeasure but he kind of just said you know what take my bag and go home because I had that one coming yeah he took his medicine no question wheeler became his crew chief that was denny's that Denny's handpicked he said at the time this is going to be the crew chief for the rest of my career so he had to sort of buy in on Gibbs saying we don't think Wheeler's right despite I want the fans I want the fans to see a guy with ice on his ribs because we all took for granted those wrecks at Talladega and the spectacular fit by Brennan Gone You know I won't tyler very good kerchief he's doing great things ninety five he's a smart Guy I had it with Jeff go you can be too close with your driver you can be too much water under the bridge can you have the toughest and I think it goes back to me it feels like chase Elliott Martinsville two years ago still remains freshman denny's mind about how that kept him out of the championship rounds I think he racing Kevin Harvick at New Hampshire the reason he didn't take Kevin Harvick Hampshire is because he didn't want it to come back on and he said about Jimmy Hey I'm putting a deposit in the bank as he says these things turn around I'm good I'll say this hurt because why it's spectacular and I don't want anyone to ever be hurt I think we need to be reminded that he just didn't pop out and feel great like there was injury with Dale with a concussion I think that's a little bit different it's not x ray and a little bit more difficult for Dr to say hey ribs are good or bad when it comes to concussions yeah I win through that process with him just so he knew whatever the decision him and the doctor made I was GonNA support I made sure I didn't vote this is not my place drivers health is his own place when it's Fred Smith when it's the guy who gets magnate castaway yes movie the man some big name what's the what's the story the man who wrote the college paper that they said would never work at created a billion them or hand I feel that minus any sort of head injury in needs to be you know the doctor and or the patient lingering effects I'm not a driver so I can't voice my agreement or disagreement I know Dale Jarrett went on record say he didn't think he should be in the car so I'm Marie when you start talking rolled ankles broken legs broken wrists Ricky Rudd had his is taped open how many castes have we seen put around steering wheel Terry Labonte won a championship with a broken wrist or

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