Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Although 10th in points, Brad Keselowski might be favorite for 2012 championship

The Sprint Cup Series drivers took to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday to battle a track that makes it extremely difficult to pass. So hard, in fact, that only one driver who started outside the top 12 finished in the top dozen.
That driver was Brad Keselowski, who finished fifth and just might be the championship favorite come Chase time this fall.
Keselowski started 22nd Sunday, but by the time the first caution waved on lap 90 he sat inside the top 10.
OK, that’s wonderful. Several regular front-runners start in the back and make their way through the field each week, right? Yes, that’s true, but none of them did Sunday. New Hampshire races are sometimes like watching slot-car racing when all of the cars are in the same slot. They just ride around one behind another all day.
That was the case Sunday for most everybody except the driver of the #2 Penske Racing Dodge Charger.
It would be easy to say Keselowski had so much success simply because he had a good race car, but sometimes the strength of a car can be muted at tracks such as New Hampshire.
Denny Hamlin came from 14th to second in the final 62 laps, but he also had four fresh tires while the rest of the field had only two. Keselowski did his damage at the start of the race when everybody was on a level playing field.
Part of Keselowski’s success comes from his determination and a mindset that he is going to man up and drive the car as hard as he can for those three or four hours each Sunday. He said as much after his win Saturday in the Nationwide race at New Hampshire.
“It was hot, but that’s racing,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be easy.”
He had similar feelings when he spoke about supplements that NASCAR does or does not ban.
My personal belief that nothing should be allowed. Nothing,” Keselowski said Friday. “I don't feel like you should be able to take Flintstones pills. It's my personal belief. You're race car drivers, you should have to overcome it.”
Keselowski spectacularly overcame a situation that could have easily derailed his 2011 season. He broke his foot in a test the week before the July race at Pocono, and then he went out and won the race despite an ankle that had swelled to the size of a softball.
Whether or not people agree with Keselowski’s opinions, he is a hard-nosed driver with the confidence required to contend for a championship.
He may sit just one spot from falling out of the top 10 in the points standings, but come Chase time he is going to be a major factor.
His three wins will give him bonus points that will propel him to the top of the Chase standings when the order is reset after the Sept. 8 race at Richmond International Raceway. Plus, he has experience in the Chase from 2011 when he made a dramatic run to snag a wild-card spot. He went on to finish fifth in the final Chase standings.
That experience, combined with his ability to knock down wins at several different types of racetracks, makes him one of a small group of drivers that should be considered legitimate championship contenders this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment