Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After winning Sunday's race at Dover
International Speedway, Brad Keselowski might just be the favorite to win the
Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Keselowski posted on his Twitter account prior to the start of the 400-mile
event that "whoever wins the race today will be the new media favorite to win
With two victories in the first three Chase races, Keselowski is making a
strong statement that he is the one to beat for the title. But Keselowski
isn't ready to consider as the favorite just yet.
"By no means do I feel like we're the favorite," he said. "Certainly we're not
the underdog probably at this point. But I think there's so much racing to go,
so many opportunities for things to go wrong - or right - for anyone out
there, that it's way too early to point those fingers and say those things. My
perspective is we got a lot more racing to go. Let's just let the racing play
out and go from there."
Keselowski's win at Dover moved him back on top in the point standings. He
entered the race only one point behind Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski is now five
ahead of Johnson, who finished fourth after scoring a pair of second-place
runs in the first two Chase races -- Chicagoland and New Hampshire.
Keselowski considered Dover as one of his weakest racetracks on the Sprint Cup
Series schedule. The Penske Racing driver had finished no better than 12th in
his first five races at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced oval. In fact, his
average finish there was 17th before his victory.
"We felt like we could come here to win," Keselowski said. "We certainly felt
we had a great shot at it, weren't worried about our stats, weren't listening
to anybody that said this track was going to be our weakness."
Keselowski did not have the best car on the track, but he had the best fuel
strategy. He ran the final 89 laps without stopping for gas.
Several other drivers opted to go the distance without pitting but had to
conserve their fuel more so than Keselowski. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle
Busch and Denny Hamlin ran first and second, respectively, before they had to
stop for a splash of gas with 10 laps remaining. Busch had the dominant car
throughout the day, as he led 302 of 400 laps. Keselowski ran in front for
just 14 circuits.
"I feel like any weekend you can run top five towards the closing laps of a
race, you're putting yourselves in position to win," Keselowski's crew chief,
Paul Wolfe, said. "That's what we were able to do (Sunday). Just a great job
by everybody on this team. This was another small step to the 10 races. Just
really proud to be able to come out of here with the points lead."
With seven races to go in the Chase, Keselowski is hoping to give team owner
Roger Penske his first championship in NASCAR's premier series. Keselowski also
would deliver a title to Dodge before the auto manufacturer departs the series
at season's end.
In February, Penske announced that it was switching from Dodge to Ford at the
start of the 2013 season. Penske, which has been with Dodge since 2003, fields
two Charger cars in Sprint Cup and two Challenger cars in Nationwide.
With no other active Cup teams using Dodge, the manufacturer revealed in
August its withdrawal from the sport.
"The greatest thing we could do would be to bring a championship to Dodge this
year," Penske said. "I'm sorry to see them get out of the Cup side. Hopefully,
they might do something in Nationwide. At the moment, we represent them. They
are our partners, and we're going to do our best."
If Keselowski continues on the same path that Tony Stewart took last year, he
would win the championship. Stewart won five races in the 2012 Chase,
including two victories in the first three events, to capture the title.
At this point of the season last year, Stewart was nine points out of the
lead. He had won at Chicagoland and New Hampshire before finishing 25th at
"Tony set a heck of a template last year of how to win the championship,
winning five of the races," Keselowski said. "By no means do I want to infer
that's the way it's going to be this year, but he sent a heck of a message
through the garage last year."
Stewart also won at Martinsville, Texas, and the season finale at Homestead. He
finished the season in a points tie with Carl Edwards but earned the
championship by virtue of his series-leading five victories for the year.
Keselowski has previously won at two of the three upcoming tracks on the Chase
calendar. He won this year's spring race at Talladega and the 2011 inaugural
spring event at Kansas. Talladega is scheduled for next Sunday, while Kansas
is slated for Oct. 21.
While there is a five-point separation between Keselowski and Johnson, Denny
Hamlin trails the leader by 16 points. Clint Bowyer is 25 behind. Stewart and
Kasey Kahne are both 32 back.
The Sports Network