Keselowski Set for Title Stretch Drive

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski has 14-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson in the series standings. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Brad Keselowski leads the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship heading into Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway but is not taking anything for granted.

The Penske Racing driver has 14-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson as the NASCAR playoff schedule hits the halfway mark this weekend. However, Keselowski knows there is still a lot of racing left before the title is decided and truly anything can happen.

“The way I look at it, we’ve run four races of the 10 and if you do the math that’s forty percent of the way but still a long ways to go,” said Keselowski. “But certainly a great start for our whole team to have won two races and finished sixth and seventh in the other two. That’s certainly the start that we all dreamed of as a team.

“We just got to keep that run up which we know is not going to be easy. There are certainly a lot of great cars in the field. The 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) are going to run really well here this weekend. Jeff Gordon has run really well over this stretch as well so nothing is going to be given to us, that’s for sure.”

Keselowski and the Miller Lite Dodge team won three races in the regular season and have taken two of the first four in the Chase. That success has given Keselowski both confidence going forward as well as pride in what’s been accomplished so far.

“I’m certainly very proud of where our team stands as of now,” he said. “We’re hoping to keep that run up and all signs point to a great group of guys that I believe can get the job done. So, I’m really looking forward to this stretch.”

“Charlotte is a good week to prove ourselves again. I felt very fortunate to get through Talladega with, you know, the outing that we had and to have the points lead. We’re going to take advantage of it and capitalize off it."

Keselowski finished fifth at Charlotte in last May’s Coca-Cola 600, by far the best effort of his Sprint Cup Series career. He also won the pole for that race but will need to come from deeper in the field on Saturday night after a 20th-place qualifying effort.

While his overall body of work at Charlotte may not be that impressive, Keselowski believes the team’s performance this weekend will be a major factor in what lies ahead for the remainder of the championship run.

“Charlotte is a place where the results don’t necessarily show how much this Miller Lite Dodge team has improved there,” said Keselowski. “We were finally able to break through with a top-five finish back in May. We should be even better this time around.

“Our record this year on the intermediate tracks is very solid. With 1.5-mile tracks making up the majority of the rest of the Chase schedule, I’m pretty happy that we were able to come out of Talladega with a nice lead because I think we are set up for a good second half to the Chase.”

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