Keselowski’s Mid-Season Resurgence Going Unnoticed
This season has been an odd year for Brad Keselowski.
In the first six races, he captured two wins and five top-five’s and seemed poised to be a serious championship contender. However, after being involved in two early accidents at Charlotte and Dover, his Team Penske No. 2 team appeared to fall off the map, only finishing in the top-five twice in the following six events.
Now, fast forward to present time where he seems to be getting back on track.
After their mid-season struggle, it appeared Keselowski was on the verge of a huge breakthrough in the form of a Brickyard 400 win. Unfortunately for him, that wouldn’t be the case as he’d finish second.
Two weeks later at Watkins Glen, after running top-five all day, he looked to be in great shape leading late. Again, things did not go his way, and he ran out of gas, got penalized on pit road, and had to settle for 15th.
Most refer to this as just another bump in the road in a rough season for the Michigan-native, which is an entirely understandable thing to think. But, that may not be the case; in fact, these runs may be this team needs going forward.
Having wins slip through your fingers can be frustrating. Though after the weeks Keselowski had, being in contention for a victory is an accomplishment within itself as it brings momentum back to the team.
For example at Indy, the No. 2 wasn’t of a factor early on. However, with all the craziness going on in the Brickyard 400, the 2012 Champion was able to use his skill and not only just survive, but strive and become a threat to win. The result of that one race? Suddenly, he’s back and running towards the front at Pocono and Watkins Glen.
If Keselowski can continue to build off this, it could not only massively turn around his season, but also possibly put him in place to battle for the championship at Homestead. As much as wins are emphasized, points still matter and which he has a lot of virtue of playoff points. Running top-five on a consistent basis still has value as somebody will make the Championship 4 by points, regardless. Not to mention being able to avoid trouble as he did in Indy, would help given his struggles in the post-season previously when incidents cost him big.
So, while the focus remains on the dominance of the Toyotas and how in Keselowski’s words the Penske cars “need a lot of speed to keep up” with them, he may not want to sell himself short, as many have as this is not a driver to sleep on.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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