A spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Brad Keselowski admits he has conflicting emotions heading into this weekendâs race at Talladega Superspeedway.
âThereâs part of me that says no matter how bad Talladega goes I can only be 47 points back or 46 or so, so it canât be that bad,â he said Tuesday. âThen thereâs the other side of me that thinks that if we go to Talladega and have a bad day and end up losing a championship by those points, that would really be a shame.â
Keselowski admits heâs not trying to âoverthinkâ the Chase and just race.
One thing heâs pondered, though, is how much heâll compete in the Nationwide Series as he goes for his first Cup title. Keselowski said he will not run the Kansas Nationwide race â Ryan Blaney will â and could drop more races depending on how heâs doing in the Chase.
Keselowski enters this weekendâs Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 with three victories, eight top-five finishes and 12 top 10s in the last 13 races. Heâs also won two of the first three Chase events to hold a five-point lead on Jimmie Johnson.
âThere isnât one silver bullet,â Keselowski said of his strong run since late June. âItâs everything. The cars are good. The execution on pit road has been strong. Knock on wood we havenât had (mechanical) failures, which is a credit to the staff at Penske Racing. With the exception of Bristol, I havenât driven it in the wall. Thatâs what it takes. Just having one of those pieces isnât enough. You have to have them all. Just missing one of those pieces will keep you from having a solid day. Right now as a team weâve had it all.â
As he did after winning Dover last weekend, Keselowski reiterated that seven races remain in the Chase. Defending series champion Tony Stewart was 24 points out of the lead with five races to go last year.
âThereâs a lot of fight left,â Keselowski said.
INSIDE A WRECK It will likely happen often this weekend at Talladega, cars skidding, sliding and slamming into each other. Itâs one thing to see it from the stands or watching on TV, but whatâs it like inside a car during a crash at Talladega?
Jimmie Johnson explains:
âWhen something happens you start evaluating the damage to your car. If there are a couple of small bumps along the way, your mindâs thinking, âOK, thatâs not too bad. I didnât get hit in a wheel, maybe just a fender. We can fix that. We can fix that.â And youâre keeping some hope until thereâs always typically a moment when youâre like, âOh, thatâs going to hurt, thatâs going to require some behind-the-wall time to fix that up.â
âSo, you just kind of hang on and go for the ride. Iâve been fortunate to stay on my wheels and not be upside-down, so I donât necessarily have a good play on that. Although it would be kind of cool to flip if youâre going to out, you may as well go out in style. But you just kind of evaluate whatâs going on and hope that you donât hit anything too hard and you can get to pit lane and get it fixed.â
STRONG START Joey Logano has recorded a top-10 finish in each of the three Chase races so far. Heâs actually scored more points (107) than Chase drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (100), Martin Truex Jr. (100), Kevin Harvick (96), Jeff Gordon (94), Greg Biffle (85) and Matt Kenseth (67).
Logano opened the Chase by finishing seventh at Chicagoland Speedway, was eighth at New Hampshire and placed 10th at Dover last weekend. Itâs the first time this season heâs scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.