Brad Keselowski has bounced back in a big way this year.
After failing to defend his 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title in a disappointing 2013 campaign when he missed the postseason entirely, the Team Penske driver has notched a series-leading four wins to enter this season’s Chase as its No. 1 seed.
Along with his wins come 12 bonus points (three per victory) for the first round of the Chase known as “The Challenger Round” and tons of momentum.
Keselowski sent the message to the field that he is the driver to beat in the final 10 races by turning in a dominant performance on his way to the checkered flag at Richmond. The 30-year-old set a course record by leading all but 17 of the 400 laps at the .75-mile short track, recording the 400th win for Team Penske.
“The Miller Lite Ford Fusion was just flying, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to enter the Chase than to win and take the first seed,” Keselowski said.
Five of the 10 Chase events take place at 1.5-mile superspeedways, the type of track that has treated Keselowski kindly this season. Two of Keselowski’s wins have come on 1.5-mile speedways (Las Vegas and Kentucky). He also won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, the location of the Chase’s second race.
“We’re ready,” Keselowski said. “We want to run for another Cup. We feel like this team has it.”
Keselowski is not the only Team Penske driver eyeing a championship. Joey Logano occupies the fifth seed on the Chase Grid. Logano ranks tied for second in the series with three wins and has been a model of consistency the past month. Over the past seven races, Logano has logged six top-10 finishes. He and Keselowski will attempt to bring home the second NASCAR Sprint Cup title for owner Roger Penske.
“We are ready to go man,” said Logano following his sixth-place finish at Richmond. “We had a mediocre night tonight. It was hard fought. We kept fighting with it, but it is over, and now we are going to Chicago and have a shot at a championship this year. I am excited about that.”