Brad Keselowski won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, making him the most winningest Penske driver ever. The win broke his tie with Mark Donohue, who held the record previously. The race came down to the final laps where a faster Martin Truex Jr. failed to surpass Keselowski.
“We had the best car we probably should have won that one,” said Truex Jr. after the race. The 325 lap race had a restart with 43 laps to go, with Kurt Busch and Joey Logano on the front row. The race had many leaders, as Kyle Larson won Stage 1 and Kevin Harvick won stage 2.
Keselowski was battling sickness during the weekend in Atlanta, even missing the final practice session because of it. He had a backup driver ready for the race on Sunday but was able to participate himself.
The race did not have many cautions. Besides the stage ending cautions there was only three other incidents that made cars slow down. The first one was a competition caution which occurred on lap 36 due to the rain the night before. There was a caution on lap 223 because of Kyle Busch’s car smoking, and another one on lap 274 after Ryan Preece collided with B.J. McLeod while exiting his pit box. 27 of the 37 cars finished the race within a 5 lap gap behind the leader.
Kyle Busch started from the rear after needing a backup car and made a charge up the field throughout the race. Busch finished in 6th place.
NASCAR heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on with a triple header lineup. On Friday the Gander Outdoors Truck Series holds the Strat 22 in the evening at 9 PM EST. On Saturday at 4 PM EST, the Xfinity Series will hold the Boyd Gaming 300. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will hold their third season race on Sunday at 3:30 PM EST, with the Pennzoil 400.
Let’s look at this week’s RAW, which included an unannounced return, an announcement from Roman Reigns and much more.
Monday Night RAW started with a video package about when Roman Reigns came out in October to announce that the was battling leukemia. After that, Roman Reigns’ music hit. The crowd was very loud and supportive of him. Reigns looked like he was on the brink of tears when he first saw the crowd. He went around the border of all of the front row high fiving fans. At first he said thank you to everyone. He said that he was scared before his announcement in October. He was overwhelmed by all of the support he got after the announcement and that he will use his platform to raise awareness and help others who were in his situation. Reigns eventually said he will give us his long awaited update. The update was that he is in remission for his leukemia. The crowd started cheering and chanting because of this. He said thank you one more time and then left. This was genuinely great news and a great way to start the show. Roman Reigns is truly inspiring because of this. You could tell that the support from others had him in high spirits through his battle and even moreso afterwards. I can’t wait to see him return.
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet
In another one of these NXT versus main roster matches we had Aleister Black and Ricochet face The Revival. Before the first break both Black and Ricochet were diving all over the place. Black ended the match with Black Mass. Like I’ve said before, these matches are good but I don’t like that they take up so much TV time since they have nothing to do with any storylines. Like I understand squash matches but it took up so much of the show last week. Also, they should focus on the dudes they called up earlier in the year before they focus on a new pack.
After a break we saw backstage a red carpet for Ric Flair’s Birthday Celebration. We also saw a video from Snoop Dogg wishing Ric Flair a happy birthday.
Elias Can’t Get A Song Going
Elias was in the ring to play on his guitar but then was cut off by Lacey Evans and Dean Ambrose. When Dean came out he issued a challenge to Drew McIntyre in a No DQ match. Poor Elias can’t get his own part of the show. Elias tried playing his guitar but Ambrose asked what he was doing. Elias tried surprising Ambrose with a guitar shot but he dodged it and was hit with the Dirty Deeds.
Sarah Logan & Ruby Riott w/ Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Ronda Rousey
The next match on this show was two members of the Riott Squad versus Natalya and Rousey. Rousey and Natalya did a double team on Morgan on the outside. Natalya got beat up for a long time and then Rousey got a hot tag. As Ronda was on a roll the match got called off because Becky Lynch came from the crowd and hit Natalya. Ronda and Lynch tried fighting but got separated. Lynch was handcuffed and brought away. After the break Ronda got on a mic and called out Vince McMahon. Vince didn’t come out, but Stephanie McMahon came out. Ronda begged for Becky to being reinstated but Stephanie refused to do so. After more arguing and a semi-good promo from Ronda (at points it seemed like she stumbled but a lot of it was good), she left Stephanie with the decision.
Jinder Mahal vs. Kurt Angle
After commercials, we saw a video from Stone Cold Steve Austin wishing Ric Flair a happy birthday. In the ring we saw Jinder Mahal issue an open challenge to anyone who was invited to Flair’s party. Kurt Angle took the challenge. Kurt Angle won after hitting a ton of spots and whatever. Cool, but why?
A Moment of Bliss w/ Finn Balor
Alexa Bliss started her talk show by talking about how she is available for the Wrestlemania main event. I think she was under the assumption that Ronda was out of the Wrestlemania main event or something? Anyways, Finn Balor is her guest this week. He was dressed in in-ring attire, so I assumed his match was next. Bliss was about to make a deal that if Balor showed his abs she would show something but she got interrupted while talking. Why cut a deal when he’s going to fight? His abs are gonna be visible in like seconds. The thing that cut off Bliss was Lio Rush coming out. Rush said something about Balor’s IC title. Balor interpreted this as Lio wanted a title shot, so he gave it to him.
Finn Balor vs. Lio Rush (Intercontinental Championship Match)
Early in this match Rush was getting tons of moves in. He did a Moonsault off the apron and then two Tope Suicidas. In fact the match felt like it was meant to make Rush look really good. Like, nearly on Balor’s level type of good. Balor eventually ended the match after reversing a move and then landing a Coup de Grace. After the break Lashley was behind the curtain scolding Lio Rush. He said that he was supposed to get a title shot for him, not Rush. He then forced a beaten up Lio Rush to come out with him.
Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush vs. Braun Stroman
Stroman fought Lashley next. Well, he was going to, but their match never started. Lashley tried jumping Stroman but ended up losing the brawl. I could easily be wrong, but I get the feeling that Rush is turning babyface soon and Lashley will turn against him.
Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre (No Disqualification Match)
Dean Ambrose called out Drew McIntyre earlier in the night. Later in the show he got his wish. During this match Elias came down and attacked Ambrose. This was of course because Elias was interupted by Ambrose earlier. After that, McIntyre gave him a Claymore Kick to end the match. After the match it was Elias, McIntyre, Lashley and Corbin all beating up Ambrose. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns came out to save Dean. Reigns landed Superman Punches, and Seth landed a Curbstomp. Reigns did a Spear to McIntyre.
Bayley w/ Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax w/ Tamina
To preview what is most likely the first rivalry for the women’s tag belts, Bayley fought Nia Jax. The finish of the match was Nia Jax being distracted by pulling Banks’ hair, giving Bayley the chance to kick her and land an elbow drop for the win.
Ric Flair’s Birthday Celebration.
The finale of the show was the Ric Flair Birthday Celebration of course. This has been promoted for weeks. Now. The ring had a cake, balloons and a table with something covered. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon came out while the rest of the roster stood on the ramp. They brought out Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, Kurt Angle and Sting. After seeing a video package about Ric Flair, they unveiled a custom World Heavyweight Championship belt. When he was finally introduced, he didn’t come out. Backstage we saw Batista storming into Flair’s dressing room, most likely beating him up, and then dragging him out. He said “Hey Hunter, do I have your attention now?” HHH then ran backstage to attend to Flair. The show ended with HHH shouting for a doctor. Not going to lie, this was a big surprise to me and I’m kind of hyped because of it. It’s been a long time since Batista last wrestled, and I’m so ready to see it again.
While the ending of the show was good, the whole show wasn’t amazing. There was lots of just plain boring segments. My favourite match this week is easily Rush versus Balor.
Kyle Busch broke Ron Hornaday’s record of NASCAR Truck series wins on Saturday after winning the Ultimate Tailgating 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch also won the first two stages of the race, making it a full race sweep, similar to the one in the Xfinity Series earlier in the day.
Despite being billed as “Hotlanta” by many, today the speedway was under misty and foggy conditions. The 130 lap race had two 40 lap stages, with the final stage being 50 laps.
The race had two red flags at the end. The first was to clean up after a crash involving Spencer Boyd, Austin Wayne Self, Chad Finley, Stewart Friesen, Parker Kligerman and Jesse Little. The second one was thrown up after the cars had just started rolling again, this time due to weather. The race was able to get back going with five laps under green. The finale of the race had rookie Harrison Burton and Kyle Busch on the front row.
There were three incident cautions in the race. Two were from Natalie Decker going into grass, and the third was John Hunter Nemechek spinning out.
The Gander Outdoors Truck Series returns next Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Strat 200. Kyle Busch will be racing once again tomorrow in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 for the Monster Energy Cup Series. The broadcast for the race starts at 2 PM Eastern Time.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell got a sweep of all three stages on Saturday, winning the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The win becomes the ninth for the 24-year-old driver in the series. Bell lead 143 of the 163 laps, giving up some after a pit stop where the team struggled on the right side. “Running the yellow line is so hard. I don’t know, I would just struggle on the longer runs there,” said Bell after the race.
While Christopher Bell held the lead, Cole Custer was on the behind him for most time. After a restart with three laps to go there was a close battle between the two cars. “If he ran the bottom I think I would have had him,” said Custer, reflecting on how Bell went to the high side of the track on the final lap.
The conditions during the whole race were foggy, with mist coming down throughout the race. The grid for the race was decided off of points because the qualifying was rained out. Early in the race many cars nearly went sideways but recovered. Despite the less desired weather the race only had one caution for on-track incidents. The incident came with 8 to go when John Hunter Nemechek spun out on his own. The race restarted with a three-lap shootout.
The race was the first win for the new Toyota Supra car that will run the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year. The car debuted last week at Daytona.
Later today in Atlanta the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will hold a 200 mile race, with the Monster Energy Cup Series having their Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday at 2PM Eastern Time.