August 6, 2011 in Sports

Broken left ankle doesn’t deter Keselowski

 

Brad Keselowski’s broken left ankle ballooned to the size of a softball, and he needs a left shoe a size larger than his right one.

Stay home? No way.

Not only will Keselowski drive Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., he says no amount of pain from his broken left ankle will force him out of the No. 2 Dodge.

“It’s been easier at times,” he said, sitting outside his transporter.

His week got worse during Friday’s second practice session. He blew a tire, spun and had to slam the brakes, putting pressure on his injured ankle. The Dodge was towed to the garage, and Keselowski was left wondering what else could go wrong.

“It’s just been one of those weeks, I guess,” he said.

The good news for Keselowski was that he had brakes and got the car under control. He wasn’t so lucky on Wednesday when he lost his brakes during a test session and crashed head-on into a wall at Road Atlanta.

He slammed a section of wall that did not have an energy-absorbing barrier and data showed he slowed from 155 mph to about 100 mph at time of impact.

Five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was at Road Atlanta and posted a picture on Twitter of the crumpled car.

“I could tell he was a bit dazed when he got out of the car,” Johnson said. “I spoke to him the night after the wreck and he didn’t remember me being down at the race car with him, so I think he definitely was dazed.”

Keselowski later posted several updates on his Twitter page, including two photos that showed a swollen ankle and an abrasion on his foot.

“I was pretty sure after I hit the wall that I had broken everything that I could break,” he said. “I was hurting pretty good. I feel pretty decent now. Walking isn’t all that easy, but that’s just the deal.

Keselowski won’t run in today’s NASCAR Nationwide race in Iowa. Penske Racing said Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22 Dodge in practices, qualifying and the race.

Roush’s call sold deal

The one phone call from his boss that meant the most to Carl Edwards wasn’t a pitch to stay at Roush Fenway Racing.

Jack Roush simply told his star driver – and the hottest free agent in NASCAR – to make the decision based on what was best for Edwards.

“He said those words to me, and that meant the world,” Edwards said at Pocono Raceway. “It meant that I didn’t have the pressure to do something for any reason other than what I thought was best.”

In the end, Edwards decided what was best was sticking with the only organization he’s called home in his Cup career. Edwards signed a multiyear contract extension with RFR this week because he believed the resources, sponsors, crew and car give him the best chance to win championships.

“Whenever I’d start feeling that pressure start creeping in from the outside I’d think, ‘OK, let’s get back to the basics here,’ ” he said. “Where can I win the most championships? And what would I do if other people’s opinions weren’t a factor?”

There were plenty of opinions around the garage from fellow drivers to the media speculating on his future. Greg Biffle, his teammate, intimated Edwards was leaving the organization. Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said lingering contract negotiations were a distraction to Edwards as he chased his first career championship. Edwards enters Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in first place, a spot he’s held in the No. 99 Ford for the majority of the season.

“I still think it got them a little bit behind, but this will allow them to get back on track,” Gordon said. “I never considered them a non-threat. Carl’s a great driver and that team’s a very good team. There’s no doubt those talks and that constant barrage of questions is hard to get past until you get settled.”

Edwards, who acted as his own agent, said the end of negotiations were a big relief. He kept details private, though he was courted by Joe Gibbs Racing, and insisted money was not an issue. Hard to believe, but Roush said money was never discussed. Edwards had more pressing questions about how the organization is run and what’s ahead for his team.

Roush did the equivalent of opening the books, letting Edwards in on the secrets of every nook of the organization.

“If Carl had made the decision not to come back, I was going to feel really stupid for having shown him all these things,” Roush said.

Edwards refused to say how close he was to signing with another team or how many teams showed interest. Once Edwards was back in the fold, Roush started sponsorship discussions for the No. 99, and he said there’s no shortage of interested suitors. Roush said the company will be “just fine” running four cars.

RFR also has Matt Kenseth and David Ragan under contract.


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