This past weekend, our Dodge Charger R/T pilot Brad Keselowski scored his second win in the last four races and fourth consecutive top-three finish with his victory Saturday night in the Irwin Tools Night Race at one of the toughest tracks in motorsports, Bristol Motor Speedway.
Keselowski led the final 80 laps in the 500-lap event on the .533-mile, high-banked track. He grabbed the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on the restart following the sixth caution and wasnt threatened the rest of the way.
This is a race of champions. I cant believe it, Keselowski said. There are races that pay more money and races with more prestige, but this is the coolest damn one of them all.
Keselowski jumped to 11th in the season point standings, just 21 out of 10th. His sights are set on one of the automatic berths in the chase that goes to the top 10 in the point standings after the 26th race at Richmond. Even if he doesnt make it into the top 10, he has three wins and a near lock for one of the two wild card berths in the chase as long as he remains in the top 20 of the standings.
Teammate Kurt Busch, a five-time winner at Bristol, wasnt as fortunate. A pair of speeding penalties on pit road proved costly to the 2004 Sprint Cup champion. He overcame the first to make it back into the top 10, but the second proved costly. He finished 17th in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger.
With Busch remaining eighth in the point standings, Dodge and Penske Racing are in prime position to have both cars in this years chase. Busch has had good success at both Atlanta and Richmond, the final two events to set the chase field.
Keselowski started eighth in the Blue Deuce and led seven times, but for just nine laps before his late-race surge. “What an honor to win at Bristol. We had a great car all night long. We were strong. During that first run, I knew that we had something for them. We kind of fell off a little bit after that first restart when Matt (Kenseth) and I got together. I was really concerned from there on because I thought that I did something to my car. We did some more adjustments on it and got it right. By the end of the race, we got up to the lead and the sky was the limit. I’m proud of the effort. Everybody just kept digging all night long. The last pit stop was good. The adjustments were good. I was driving my butt off and the next thing you know, I find myself in victory lane at Bristol.”
Keselowski was 21st in the point standings just four weeks ago. Hes scored 178 points in the four races during that span, more than any other driver and now sits in 11th place.