NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2014 NASCAR Driver Review: Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski

2014 Ride: No. 2 Penske Racing Ford
2014 Crew Chief: Paul Wolfe
2014 Points Finish: Fifth
2014 Stats: 6 wins, 17 top fives, 20 top 10s, 5 poles, 1,540 laps led, one DNF, 12.6 average finish, 7.4 average start
2014 Best Finish: First (Las Vegas, Kentucky, Loudon I, Richmond II, Chicago, Talladega)

High point: In a win-or-be-eliminated scenario at Talladega, Keselowski extended his championship run by outmuscling the competition in the final laps for his sixth victory of the season. The win also came at the end of a week in which Keselowski was criticized for his aggressive driving after incidents at Charlotte.

 

Low point: Keselowski’s high point came a week after his low point. After getting into trouble at Kansas, the pressure was on to either win or score big points at Charlotte. But after multiple scrapes with Matt Kenseth, Keselowski restarted outside the top 10 on the final restart, got boxed in by Denny Hamlin and ended up 16th. Hamlin break-checked Keselowski, who came down pit road hot and crashed into Kenseth and Tony Stewart. Kenseth later tackled Keselowski in the garage on television and the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates took turns badmouthing Keselowski. On top of that, Keselowski’s championship run appeared to be over.

Summary: Keselowski led the series in victories and top fives, proving he was championship worthy. He was also second in laps led and in poles to champion Kevin Harvick. He was almost always at the front, qualifying in the top three in a remarkable 17 events. The No. 2 team really showed their strength at the flat tracks. Keselowski dominated both Loudon races and won at Richmond and Kentucky. He started the Chase with a victory at Chicago and later saved his season with a win at Talladega, but his undoing came at another flat track, Martinsville.

A mechanical problem and crash effectively ended his shot at a second Sprint Cup title in the new knockout format. He took one more desperate swing at it a week later at Texas with a three-wide move late in the race between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, but couldn’t get past Johnson and he cut Gordon’s tire, ending his run at the Cup. Moves like that didn’t win Keselowski many fans, but the 2012 champion made no apologies for his aggression.

2015 outlook: Penske Racing is hoping next season’s rule changes don’t end their dominance. The organization piled up 11 wins in 2014 and unloaded fast cars wherever they went. There aren’t any changes expected for Keselowski. Wolfe will be back on the pit box, so there is no reason to think they can’t contend for a championship for the third time in four years.

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kb

Go Brad!

rg72

Another driver screwed by the Chase lottery.

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