Season Review: Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski

"This has definitely been a dream season for me in my first year driving the 'Blue Deuce.'" (Photo: Getty Images)

This season wasn't a sophomore slump for Brad Keselowski, but rather a breakout year for the Penske Racing driver.

In his second full season of Sprint Cup Series racing, Keselowski recorded three wins en route to claiming one of two wild card spots for the Chase.

Brad KeselowskiSitting 21st in points after the 20th race of the season at Indianapolis, Keselowski overcame the odds and made a torrid run to the Chase by scoring six consecutive finishes of ninth or better, including wins at Pocono Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Keselowski went into the Chase in the first wild card slot based on wins, in 11th, after missing the cutoff for 10th-place by 21 points. He finished fifth in the final standings after recording 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in his first season behind the wheel of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

“This has definitely been a dream season for me in my first year driving the ‘Blue Deuce,'" Keselowski said. "We were able to show progression as the year went along and that was one of the most important things for me. This was basically a new team and for us to compete for the championship in our first year together Brad Keselowskireally bodes well for our future."

After winning his first race with the No. 2 team in June at Kansas Speedway, the hot summer streak for Keselowski actually got started at Pocono when he went to Victory Lane just days after fracturing his ankle in a testing crash at Road Atlanta. He ended the month of August with his Bristol win, which vaulted him to the 11th spot in the standings.

"I've gotten a lot of questions about the effects of my ankle possibly helping our performance as a team," Keselowski said leading up to the Bristol race. "I think that it certainly looks that way, but you know, when I look at it, to be quite honest, it seems more or less that the team and I are just executing well together, and that's probably the bigger story and the bigger reason for the successes that we've seen over the last few weeks."

Along with the memorable victories this season, another one of Keselowski's highlights was helping his brother secure a spot in the Daytona 500 by drafting with him in their Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

Brad Keselowski“You know starting with Daytona and my brother, getting him in the Daytona 500. That was a great moment for my family," Keselowski said. "And then moving through the season, winning at Kansas, first win in the Miller Lite car, then Pocono, obviously, to win after getting hurt. Bristol was amazing. I’ve always dreamed of the night race there and that’s such a special race. You know the wins always stick out, but getting my brother in the 500 felt like a win.”

After a successful year with the No. 2 team led by crew chief Paul Wolfe, Keselowski hopes he can pick up where he left off when the 2012 Daytona 500 takes the green flag.

"We want to fire out of the box strong next season, compete for wins early, and show everyone that we are going to be a legitimate team for years to come," Keselowski said. "I’ll take a little time to myself over the off-season, but I’m already excited about going to Daytona next year.”

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