Brad Keselowski thrives on pressure and the next four weekends should provide plenty of it.
The reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion continues to pursue his first victory of 2013 and fight for a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. Keselowski has bounced in and out of the top 10, a third consecutive second-place finish at Watkins Glen International boosting the competitor to eighth in the standings – a gain of four positions.
A victory is primary for Keselowski, especially this weekend when the Rochester Hills, Mich. native drives the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford in front of hometown fans. He’s yet to win at Michigan International Speedway finishing second and third in the last two August events at the two-mile track.
“The repaved style of track hasn’t been one of my favorites or go-tos, but we’re very optimistic that we can at least get a solid finish like we did in the spring there,” said Keselowski, who finished 12th in Michigan’s June race. “I really see no reason why we can’t sustain our position in the points if not improve it before the Chase starts.”
Many would take a Chase berth through any means – race in or qualify with the help of other competitors. Keselowski is not among them, believing his team must show it can be a contender and not just take up post-season real estate.
“I would rather have a win or two and be a Wild Card than finish seventh or eighth and squeak my way in without any wins because the momentum of a win and the confidence builder it instills in both yourself and the fear that it puts in your competition is more than worth it,” he said following last Sunday’s runner-up finish.
Still, there’s a matter of pride in qualifying for the Chase as the reigning series champion. Only 2005 champion Tony Stewart has failed to make the following season’s post-season competition during the Chase era.