“We should have stuck to beer.”
Yes, Mr. Keselowski. I think that would have been a good idea.
What happened, you ask? In a classic post-race celebration moment Saturday night, the No. 2 team decided to change things up and brought bottles of champagne to Kentucky’s Victory Lane. When Brad shook up his bottle, he kind of bumped something, the bottle shattered and he ended up with a nasty gash in his hand. It required four stitches, but didn’t ruin his night. If anything, it gave NASCAR Nation something to talk about after the slightly unexciting Quaker State 400. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w0831UeIIE
Sometimes, it is the moments that aren’t exactly dignified in which we connect best with our sport. I thought back on the many years of NASCAR and tried to recall some other victory celebrations that, in concept, were great ideas. But the execution left something to be desired. Click on the links for a more visual representation of our racing hero’s antics.
In no particular order:
The Waltrip Brothers have always been goofballs. Fortunately–or not, depending on your tolerance for goofiness–they personalities and gangly limbs carry over to entertaining us in Victory Lane. Who can forget Darrell’s 1989 Daytona 500 Victory Dance? But not to be outdone, Mikey attempted a headstand after his 2003 Busch Series win at Bristol. I’m not really sure which one was funnier.
On occasion, youthful exuberance will get in the way of enjoying the fruits of your labors. Take Austin Dillon’s slide through the grass at Nashville, after winning the 2011 truck race. Did I mention he did it face first? Ouch.
However, enthusiasm can get the better of even a wide, older gentleman. Rick Hendrick admitted that riding Jimmie Johnson’s door to Victory Lane was probably one of the stupidest things he had ever done. But when you just won the 2012 All-Star Race, excitement may have blurred your judgment for a moment.
Later in the same year, Clint Bowyer wasn’t supposed to have enough gas to get past the checkers in the October Charlotte race. He did. But I guess he wanted to find out how much more he had in the tank, and burned it all up during his victory burnout. Well, why not. Right? It isn’t nearly as damaging to the car as…
Carl Edwards sliding his No. 99 through the grass at Charlotte in 2011, only to have his splitter grab a manhole cover. Ouch! There was not much left to the front-end of his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. And Jack? Despite taking home the All-Star trophy, he was not impressed with Carl’s unexpected departure from his usual back flip.
So, you would think that a simple burnout would be a better choice, after all is said and done. Back in 2001, Jack Sprague thought so. Except they had just sealed Richmond that year. The combination of hot tires and hot pavement erupted into flame while he was doing donuts. And it’s fine when your tire burns up a bit, but when the rubber gets caught up under the wheel well, and catches you entire rear end on fire? Ooops.
And sometimes you aren’t trying to simply celebrate. Sometimes you’re trying to hide a little bit of doctoring to your not-so-legal machine. In 2000, Jeremy Mayfield brought his No. 12 to Victory Lane at Fontana. He climbed from the car, and then jumped on his roof. Over and over. Denting it. Such that it failed post-race inspection. When his team argued that the roof height didn’t meet the minimum 51″ requirement because of Jeremy’s exuberance, well, NASCAR took a closer look. It was argued in some circles that the team had lowered the roof height and then directed their driver to make sure an accurate measurement couldn’t be taken post-race. It took a little futzing with the rule book, but as time passed, NASCAR made certain that no driver would ever WANT to dent the roof of their car. We don’t see the drivers up there anymore, do we?
Last but not least, we bring you perhaps the worst attempt at celebrating with supposedly the best intentions. June 9th, 2009, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Race at Nashville. He was awarded a beautiful, hand-crafted guitar as a trophy. Which he then proceeded to smash to pieces. He tried to explain that he wanted to share the parts with his winning team, but unfortunately his actions were seen as another example of his sterling personality. I like to think he has grown up since then. But I’ll have to wait until he wins another guitar to find out.
Do you have any favorite Victory Lane celebrations? Send them to me! I’d love to hear them.
2014 Sonya Strictly by the Stats
Top Three Rookies for 2014 Quaker State 400
1.) No. 3 Austin Dillon Started 16th Finished 16th
2.) No. 7 Michael Annett Started 32nd Finished 18th
3.)No. 51 Justin Allgaier Started 28th Finished 24th
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.