Showing posts with label Brad Keselowski. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brad Keselowski. Show all posts
Kevin Harvick

Lock it in Kevin Harvick. The 2014 Champion will join Jimmie Johnson in the Round of 8 after a win in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The No. 4 jumped in front of then-leader Carl Edwards on a late race restart, and held on through the final 30 laps for his fourth win on the year. "These races are hard to win and these guys are so good at the details," said Harvick, "When you put their backs against the wall they're even better. I'm so proud of them." Harvick has never been eliminated under the current Chase format, racing for a Championship at Homestead each of the past two seasons.

Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch

Carl Edwards will just have to wait a little longer for a win at his home track, after losing the lead to Kevin Harvick on a late race restart. "That last restart Kevin and Jimmie (Johnson) just lined up on the bottom and they got far enough ahead to where I couldn't hang on the outside," said Edwards after his second place finish on Sunday. "And I ended up having to race Kyle (Busch) really hard there for a few laps and it let Kevin get out ahead." Rather than try and chase down the No. 4, Edwards spent the rest of the afternoon fending off Busch for the final 30 laps. "That's racing I guess," said Busch of the back and forth. This isn't the first time we've seen the JGR teammates race one another hard. Edwards famously bumped the No. 18 on the final lap of the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway to secure his second win of the season.

Brad Keselowski

It'd been nearly two years since the No. 2 hadn't finished a NASCAR Sprint Cup event, but for the first time since the 2015 Daytona 500 Brad Keselowski suffered a DNF in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. Heading into the cutoff race in Talladega, the 2012 Champion is sitting 11th and eight points behind Joey Logano in the 8th position. On the plus side, Keselowski took home the May race at 'Dega, and is the only repeat winner in the last 11 races at the track. After a strong season racing on superspeedways (two wins in three races), he's got as strong a chance as any to race his way into the Round of 8.


Five races down, five to go. We've reached the midway point in the Chase and there's plenty of intrigue as the postseason makes the turn down the backstretch. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, who were so dominant in the regular season, have been consistent but unremarkable through the Chase's first half. The only exception would be Martin Truex Jr, who is one of three Chase race winners we've seen along with former champions Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. Two of the Chase newbies are gone, and the two remaining are in danger of missing the cut come Sunday. The cutoff race in Talladega looms large as we move one step closer to crowning the NASCAR's 2016 Cup Champion.

As the 2016 NASCAR regular season hits the final stretch, eyes turn towards who'll be racing for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship come November. We're hoping back on the Road to Richmond to paint the complete Chase picture, examining each driver as they clinch their spot in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski was the first driver to clinch his spot in the 2016 Chase following his July win at Kentucky.
2016 Rearview
After winning just one race all of last season, Brad's 2016 campaign might be one of the best of his career. With four wins through 20 races, the No. 2 driver is averaging a top-10 finish every time he rolls out onto the track - a testament to his ability considering the number of driver's who've fallen prey to wrecks this season. He's been a spokesman for the new downforce package since it's roll out last season in Darlington, and with the success he's had it's easy to see why.

2015 Chase
Keselowski was half of the Penske equation that dominated most of the 2015 Chase, but a wreck in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 dampened his chances to advance past the round of eight. But that still didn't stop him from leaving his mark on the Championship race in Homestead, leading a race-high 86 laps. 

Cup Career at Richmond
One Win (2014 Federared Auto Parts 400)  |  Five Top-10's  |  15.9 Avg. Finish
Brad Keselowski wins back to back

Back-to-Back Brad
For the third time this season we've seen a driver make back-to-back trips to Gatorade Victory Lane. Brad Keselowski followed up his Coke Zero 400 victory with a win at Kentucky this season, marking the fourth win in 2016 for the Penske driver. "These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough. This was a hard-fought battle, and I'm really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place." With the victory, the 2014 Federeated Auto Parts winner became the first driver to officially clinch a spot in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kasey Kahne

As the weeks keep ticking away, so do the opportunities for drivers to race their way into The Chase. Only eight races remain in the regular season, and with eleven different winners just five Chase spots open through the point system. MRN's Pete Pistone takes a look at some drivers who might be feeling a little extra heat under the summer sun.

Jeb Burton

Richmond-based Estes Express Lines is teaming up with local driver Jeb Burton for two NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2016. Burton will pilot the No. 98 Estes Ford at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23 and Richmond International Raceway September 9. Estes President and CEO Rob Estes weighed in on the sponsorship. "We're proud of our association with this Virginia native who has gone on to gain national recognition. It's exciting to once again support him as he takes to the track in the No. 98 Estes Ford in Indianapolis and Richmond."

Matt Kenseth

It's been a tumultuous season for Matt Kenseth, who has more laps led (431) than four-time race winner Keselowski (329) - but just two top-5 finishes to show for it. It's been a far cry from his 2015 campaign where only Joey Logano had more wins than his five. However, this weekends contest in New Hampshire might be as good an opportunity as any for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver to even the ship. With two wins and an average finish of 12.7, Loudon is one of Kenseth's stronger tracks on the circuit. Look for the reigning Federated Auto Parts 400 champ to find some stability heading into the season's final stretch.

It took him 15 tries, but Brad Keselowski finally raced his way into Daytona's Gatorade Victory Lane in Saturday's Coke Zero 400. The No. 2 Penske Ford driver managed to avoid "The Big One" on Lap 90, which saw over half the field (22 cars) suffer damage, and scored the 100th win for Team Penske. “We had two great cars here with Team Penske and worked together really well,” Keselowski said. “Joey (Logano) has won here and he’s really a pro, especially on that restart. He gave me that push I need to get to the front and here we are at Daytona in Victory Lane. I don’t care if it’s not the 500. It’s Daytona. This is huge. I love this place and here we are in Victory Lane.” Brad's 19 wins for Team Penske trail only Rusty Wallace's 37 for most in the team's history, and his 2014 win in Richmond's Federated Auto Parts 400 marked the most dominating win in Sprint Cup Series competition for the team.

Keselowski wasn't the only one making headlines in Central Florida. We went to the "World Center of Racing" to announce our Fan Appreciation Weekend program for September. It's an entire weekend devoted to showing our gratitude to race fans near and far for the enthusiastic support they have given our sport throughout the regular season, and the NASCAR industry jumped on board the hype train.

Our friends over at Sprint helped kick off the announcement by sending one lucky fan from Daytona to the Federated Auto Parts 400 in September! Orlando native Ashley Miller, will experience Fan Appreciation Weekend firsthand and in style, with all expenses paid, a view from the TORQUE Club and “the works” of passes and credentials for an unforgettable weekend. "I’ve been attending the Daytona races with my Mom for the last eleven years, and I’ve never been to a short track so I’m very excited to go to Richmond," said Miller. "I’ve been a Tony Stewart fan for close to 15 years, and I’m ecstatic to go to the track where he got his first win.”

Through 17 Sprint Cup races, we've seen 11 different drivers in Victory Lane. If history is any indicator, that number might not grow after this weekend's Quaker State 400. Through five Sprint Cup Series events at Kentucky Speedway, only three drivers have won at the 1.5-mile tri-oval: Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (2) and Matt Kenseth (1). But the speedway underwent a facelift earlier this year - with a repave and reconfiguration in Turns 1 & 2 (increased banking and narrower track), and this weekend marks NASCAR's first crack at the new-look track. Maybe this weekend is the chance for someone like Chase Elliott or Austin Dillon to earn the first win of their promising young careers.
Matt Kenseth

The 2016 season has certainly been an uphill battle for Matt Kenseth. Fast cars have put the No. 20 driver in the lead for 11 of the 12 races this season, but monstrously (get it?) bad luck has kept him from finishing in the top-10 in eight of them. No doubt he'll be sleeping a little easier after Sunday's win in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism. "It feels good to get this one for sure," Kenseth said. "We were tight all day on restarts. And on that last one, I got so loose, I thought Kyle (Larson) was gong to get by me. ... Kyle gave me all I wanted that's for sure." Kenseth held off a late race charge from Larson to join JGR teammates Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin as 2016 race winners and Chase-eligible drivers.

Who's Hot and Who's Not Coming Out of Dover

Every NASCAR season has it's ebbs and flows, and 2016 has been no different. Last weekend's race in Dover punctuated some of the driver streaks that have developed over the year, and FOX Sports' Tom Jensen takes a look at who's hot (race-winner Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, and a pair of rookies) and who's not (Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and others) heading into the Sprint All-Star Weekend.

New rules for All-Star Race

A few weeks ago, NASCAR announced the new rules for the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race and Sprint Showdown and they have a fast fan in driver and All-Star race contender Brad Keselowski. "What you're going to see is the modern-day format of excellence for that type of race," Keselowski said. "We've seen aerodynamics come into the sport and make it so much more difficult to pass than ever before, and this format is meant to combat that challenge." You can check out all the details on the new format here.

Kyle Larson, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Danice Patrick are the top five leading vote getters in Sprint Fan Vote.
While 15 of the 20 slots in the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race have already been decided, fans have the chance to vote not one, but two drivers into the race this weekend. With Jeff Gordon's retirement, both the Sprint Fan Vote winner and the Sprint Fan Vote runner-up will earn a chance to compete for the $1 million purse. As of last week, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Danica Patrick (in alphabetical order) were the leading contenders. Click here to cast your vote now.

Brad Keselowski wins in Vegas

Not wind nor (dust) storm could keep Brad Keselowski out of Victory Lane on Sunday. Keselowski passed Kyle Busch to take the lead with six laps to go, and held on the rest of the way to earn his first win in 33 races. Teammate Joey Logano, who led 74 laps on Sunday, was happy for the 1-2 Penske finish, but admits he's anxious to get back into the winner's circle himself.  "Gosh, we finished second so many times, Daytona and qualifying. We will go get them next week. … I know we are only three races in, but I am getting antsy." We remember Logano feeling similarly earlier this season.

Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new fire suits

You've seen what they'll be driving- and now you can see what they'll be wearing. Hendrick Motorsports released images of the Batman and Superman-themed firesuits Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson will be wearing for the #HeroFaceOff at Auto Club Speedway later this month. 

NASCAR chimes in on Peyton's retirement

The sports community bid adieu to one of the all-time greats this week, as Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL after 18 Hall-of-Fame caliber seasons. The NASCAR world took notice, as current and former drivers took to the Twittersphere to pay their respects to the two-time Super Bowl Champion and five-time NFL MVP.  “He’s somebody I really admire and look up to and have the utmost respect for. I’m glad he’s done all this on his terms," said Tony Stewart, who plans to retire from driving full-time at the conclusion of the 2016 NASCAR season.

Kevin Harvick

If you bet against Kevin Harvick at Phoenix, odds are you're going to lose. But despite the fact he's won five of the last seven contests in the desert (including four in a row from 2013 - 2015), Harvick is keeping things in perspective as he prepares for this weekend. "You go there with a fresh start, like you’ve never won there before," said Harvick, who's currently tied for second place with Jimmie Johnson in the early-season standings - seven points behind Kyle Busch. "The hardest thing about having success is that you must have an open mind to try new things and keep moving forward. If you don’t, and aren't willing to try a fresh approach, it will get stagnant. You’re going to become stale and get left behind."

Jimmie Johnson ties Dale Earnhardt for all0time career wins 

The career accolades on Jimmie Johnson's Wikipedia page already rivaled that of the all-time great athletes. Six-time champion (territory Michael Jordan is familiar with), five-time Driver of the Year (Mickey Mantle had three MVP awards) and he's the only driver to have qualified for the Chase every year since it's inception in 2004 (the kind postseason run Bill Belichick is familiar with). But with his win Sunday, Johnson found himself in truly hallowed company- tying Dale Earnhardt Sr. with 76 career Cup wins. "I don't have a problem calling him the best of this generation even as a competitor of his and having to go out there and race against him,"said Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Drivers had glowing reviews of the on-track action in Atlanta

NASCAR debuted its new low downforce package at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in Atlanta on Sunday- and the drivers loved it. "We were sideways, sliding around, the cars were moving," said Joey Logano, started 27th but raced his way into the top five without a caution. "This is real racing. We're driving hard. That's a tough race and just a lot of fun," said Carl Edwards, who finished fifth on Sunday.

The new downforce package reminds Brad Keselowski of the 70's

Almost every driver had glowing reviews of how their cars handled with the new downforce package in Atlanta, noting how it felt like a throwback to the racing of yesteryear. None were more explicit in their comparison than Brad Keselowski, who suggested the racing style might even inspire a new look for the Penske driver. "That race felt like I was in 1975.  That was kind of awesome.  I should grow my sideburns out after that one." We decided to see what it'd look like if he did, and we think he could pull it off.

Kevin Harvick dominated the West Coast swing last season.

NASCAR kicks off it's West Coast swing this weekend in Vegas, and eyes will be on Kevin Harvick to see if he can replicate last season's run. The No. 4 dominated the desert in 2015, leading 366 laps between wins at Vegas and Phoenix before snagging a second-place finish in Fontana. With two top-10's to start the season (including an impressive fourth-place run in Daytona) the 2014 Sprint Cup Champion could be poised to make a return trip to Victory Lane this weekend.

A look at the chances of Keselowski, Harvick and Logano this weekend in Phoenix.

Last Week: After leading a track-record 312 of the race's 334 laps in dominating fashion, Brad Keselowski saw his Championship Round ticket flutter away into the Texas air when Jimmie Johnson took the lead with four laps to go. While the AAA Texas 500 was a rebound from the 32-place finish at Martinsville the week before, Keselowski still sits 19 points behind the fourth place Martin Trux Jr. Still, with a Top-10 finish in six of his last seven races at Phoenix point towards a strong showing from the No. 2 in the final Eliminator Round race.

Earlier This Year: It was the Kevin Harvick show. And the year before that. And the year before that. The defending champ has four straight wins at the one miler, and his seven total victories in Avondale are more than any other driver. Ever. Things look like a lock for the No.4 driver, but just remember -  folks were saying the same thing about Jimmie Johnnson heading into Dover.

Who To Watch: After dominating the Contender Round, things haven't gone as planned for Joey Logano's team during the first two legs of the Eliminator Round. Sitting 63 points behind Truex, his game plan is simple: win and get in. With four straight Top-10 showings at Phoenix, only Harvick and Keselowski have collected more points at the track during that span. Look for him to go after more than just points this time around.

Joey Logano, Dale Junior and Brade Keselowski's chances at Talladega

Last Week: He did it again. After picking up his fourth win of 2015 in Charlotte, Joey Logano tacked on his fifth last week in Kansas. For the season, the No. 22 driver has earned a victory on a short track (Bristol), road course (Watkins Glen), a restrictor-plate track (Daytona) and the 1.5-milers (Charlotte and Kansas). He's fast everywhere, and has shown he's a threat week in and week out.

Earlier This Year: Few drivers have the kind of track success like Dale Earnhardt Jr does at Talladega. With six wins at the track, Junior is always one to watch when NASCAR rolls into Alabama. After a remarkable streak at the Lincoln track early in his career (a streak of seven races where he collected five wins and two second-place showings), Junior found himself back in 'Dega's winner's circle earlier this season. With his history at the track and the need for a big-time performance, he's certainly one to keep an eye on this week.

Who To Watch: This season's been one of hot streaks. Joe Gibbs Racing rattled off six wins in a row back in August and September, while the Hendrick crew took three of four races in May . With Joey Logano racking up The Chase wins, maybe Brad Keselowski decides to join the party. Without a win since March, look for the defending GEICO 500 champ to make some noise and advance to the Eliminator Round with his Penske teammate.

Also... if I told you a driver led 225 laps over the past two races, you'd think he'd be a lock to advance in the Chase, right? Unfortunately for Matt Kenseth, that's not the case. Banged up cars forced Kenseth out at Charlotte and into a 14th-place showing at Kansas, meaning he now sits on the outside looking in. But with how he's driven this season and in the Chase (plus a win and six Top-10's at 'Dega), he's not one to count out just yet.

Matt Kenseth isn't one to count out

Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski

Last Week: It was a wild one. Race favorite Jimmie Johnson was forced out early, Kevin Harvick brought out the hammer and four fewer names have a shot at the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship. It was a true win-to-get-in scenario for the reigning champ, and he responded with 355 of 400 laps led in the most dominant performance of his career.

Earlier This Year: After a string of Top-10 finishes, Carl Edwards finally found his way into Charlotte’s Victory Lane at the Coca-Cola 600 back in May. He’s followed it up with some eye-opening finishes on the 1.5-milers, and his average finish ranks only second to Kevin Harvick over the past eight Charlotte contests. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth already have Chase wins this season; so don’t be shocked to see Edwards add his name to the list.

Who To Watch: Team Penske has been rather quiet through three Chase races, but Brad Keselowski might change that this weekend. The No. 2 driver nabbed his first Charlotte win in October of 2013, and secured a Top-10 finish earlier this season.

Brad Keselowski has racked up 17 wins at 12 different tracks in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, but a victory at his hometown track has always alluded the Rochester Hills native.

But after stringing together three consecutive Top 10's, including a sixth place showing in the Irish Hills back in June, things might be coming together for Keselowski as he prepares for the Pure Michigan 400 this weekend.

With his lone win on the season coming back in March at Fontana, an inaugural trip to his hometown Victory Lane could give the Penske driver some needed momentum heading into the 2015 Chase.