By admin | August 30, 2011
By Richard Allen
In case you havenâ€™t noticed, Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski has been red hot of late. As a matter of fact, he has scored two wins along with a 2nd and a 3rd place over the course of his last four NASCAR Sprint Cup races. And in that time, he has climbed from the position of clinging to the hope of a wildcard spot in the Chase for the Championship to knocking on the door of the top-10 in the standings and an automatic place in the playoff.
What is it that has propelled Keselowski to this recent success? While appearing on the Speed network show â€˜Race Hubâ€™ on Monday night, Keselowskiâ€™s teammate, Kurt Busch, stated his belief that the incredible run may well be the result of increased focus on Sprint Cup racing after Keselowskiâ€™s sudden departure from the Nationwide Series.
Just prior to NASCARâ€™s second visit to the Pocono Raceway, Keselowski was involved in a serious testing crash at the Road Atlanta road course. That incident left the driver with a broken ankle. Since then, this driver who has competed full time in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Seriesâ€™ since the beginning of the 2010 season has been forced to hand over the reins of his second series car to other drivers.
Is it mere coincidence that Keselowskiâ€™s top level performance has improved so dramatically since his departure from the lesser division?
Apparently, Busch believes there is more than coincidence involved. After joking that the Phoenix heat during a tire test there was hotter than Brad Keselowski to â€˜Race Hubâ€™ host Steve Byrnes, the senior member of Penske Racing indicated that he believes improved focus has played a significant part his teammateâ€™s success of late.
â€œI like that heâ€™s been in the Cup car and not going back and forth to the Nationwide car,â€ Kurt Busch explained.
To give credence to Buschâ€™s point, consider that no Sprint Cup champion since the advent of the Chase format in 2004 has ever run more than a third of the Nationwide schedule. Tony Stewart drove in twelve Nationwide events in 2005. Jimmie Johnson has never competed in more than four of those races in any one season and Kurt Busch did not even run a Nationwide race until 2007.
The point is, obviously, that it appears as if running large numbers of Nationwide races is more of a distraction than those who do it would like to admit. Brad Keselowskiâ€™s recent performance is proving that in the minds of his teammate and many others.
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