By admin | August 30, 2013
By Richard Allen
A former Sprint Cup champion has no wins at this point of the season and might not make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Does that story sound familiar? Of course it does. That was exactly what was being talked about prior to the 2011 Chase when Tony Stewart essentially limped into the playoff then went on an incredible run that saw him win five of the last ten races and his third Sprint Cup title.
This year, it’s Brad Keselowski who finds himself in similar circumstances. The defending Sprint Cup champion currently sits 11th in the series standings, just four points behind 10th place Joey Logano. And with no victories to date in the 2013 campaign, he finds himself on the outside looking in as Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Newman, with one win each, currently hold the wildcard positions.
“Honestly, our backs are against the wall,” Keselowski told reporters in a press conference at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. ”But these are the times when a great team steps up, when a great team makes a play.”
When reminded of Stewart’s accomplishments in 2011, Keselowski held out hope that the same could happen for him and his Penske Racing team. “At this point in season, he was very similar to where we are right now,” the Michigan native said. “I feel like we have an opportunity to do something very similar.”
Over the past six races, the #2 team has shown signs of coming to life. Finishes of 4th, 6th and 2nd have come in that time span. But at the same time, there have been three results outside the top-10, including a 21st in Indianapolis and a 30th in Bristol. Keselowski’s teammate, Logano, won two weeks ago in Michigan to prove that the potential for victory is still there for Penske.
Keselowski can qualify for the Chase in one of two ways. He can score enough points to crack the top-10 by the end of next weekend’s race in Richmond or he can win one of the two remaining events and make it in via the wildcard.
Whether or not Brad Keselowski will make the playoff won’t be answered for two more weeks. But if he does indeed qualify, he definitely has the potential to achieve the same sort of feat Tony Stewart did two years ago.
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