Keselowski Continues Climb in Loudon
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on September 26, 2011 | 1:36 P.M. EST
Keselowski has worked his way from a Chase wild card entry to third place and is only 11 behind leader Tony Stewart. (Photo: Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski’s second-place finish in the Sylvania 300 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway helped him move further up the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.
With two races in the book, Keselowski has worked his way from a Chase wild card entry to third place and is only 11 behind leader Tony Stewart.
But Keselowski’s not surprised with the ongoing success of the Penske Racing Miller Lite Dodge team and sees no reason why it won’t continue.
“Yeah, it's funny because ten races ago, we left Loudon 23rd in points. Whoever thought we would be third in ten weeks,” Keselowski said. “I'd like to see some kind of stat for that, that's for sure. But it's been a good road here to travel down the last few weeks.”
Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have hit on the right chemistry in the team’s surge to the top of the standings including being able to play the fuel mileage game as well as anyone.
It paid off last week with a fifth-place run in the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and was also beneficial in Sunday’s runner-up performance behind Tony Stewart at New Hampshire, a track where Keselowski had struggled in the past.
According to Keselowski, everything goes back to hard work and perseverance by his team.
“This particular weekend compared to the last time we were here is no different,” Keselowski said. “We focused on what I needed to do better. I thought that I could do a lot better job, hit on some things. I felt like the car could be a lot better. We might have got a little bit better; we certainly made some adjustments in the race that made us a lot better.
“It takes all those things to get better and get a result like what we got today. As a team, that's what it means to be performing at a high level, it's to hit those things. My team's doing that.”
And Keselowski thinks things will continue to improve looking down the Chase road, where there are tracks he considers favorites as well as opportunities to win races and in the process gain points to stay in the championship picture.
“But I feel like our best races in the Chase are going to be our last five or six races, to be quite honest, maybe with the exception of Texas,” he said. “We'll have to see how that one goes. So to me if we get through these first four or five, I think we've got a really good shot at it. To get through Chicago with a fifth and here a second today, it's a huge boost of morale for my team and momentum for Penske Racing. I just hope we can continue to capitalize.
“I think we've been able to capitalize with good execution on pit road, good adjustments on our car, not getting caught up in somebody else's mess. That stuff can go the other way just as it's gone the right way for us over the last few weeks.”