Brad Keselowski will admit to you, the speed in his No. 2 Ford isn’t as good as his main competition at the front of the NASCAR Cup Series field. Despite that, the Team Penske driver has won each of the last two scheduled Sunday races and two of the last three races overall.
“I don’t think we were the fastest car in any one of those three races but we put ourselves in position and good things happened to us,” Keselowski said after his win at Bristol last Sunday. “It feels really cool when it goes that way, feels really bad when it goes against you. You really kind of have to ride the rollercoaster, enjoy the good parts and try to shrug off the bad parts.”
Keselowski was handed a win in the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24 when a late race caution came out, putting the race in overtime which saw leader Chase Elliott pit. That gave Keselowski the lead which all he had to do was hold the field off for two laps and the win was his.
He did just that. He did the same last Sunday in Bristol. Chase Elliott and Joey Logano wrecked into each other going for the lead, which allowed Keselowski to take over the lead and pace the field for the final two laps en route to a second win in three tries.
“It’s nice to catch some of those breaks,” Keselowski continued. “The Coke 600, I don’t know if we were as good as the 9. I don’t think we were. I thought we were the second best car again.
“You run like this, you put yourself in position with good cars, running up in the top five, allow good things to happen to yourself, be in position. I think that’s what we’re doing really well right now.”
Now, it’s to Atlanta on Sunday, a place Keselowski has five straight top 10 finishes at including three straight top two results. Two of those top two finishes are wins including just last year. Keselowski, has two top five finishes in three tries on older surface race tracks this season too.
“Atlanta is not like any other mile-and-a-half we go to,” Keselowski said. “The cars are so fast at the beginning of the run and so slow at the end of the run. It’s such a big delta there.
“It’s hard to say who is going to be good, who is not, especially without having a lot of practice and all those things. I suspect if I was to take a blind guess that the 9 car and 88 will be very, very strong and tough to beat. We’re going to do our best to keep them honest.”
Keselowski, is doing all of this with a new crew chief this year. He credits the early success for being in the “honeymoon phase” still.
“We’re probably a little bit in the honeymoon phase. That makes it a lot of fun and easier to do. The key is how do you keep that. How do you keep that fresh conversation and dialogue going, keep the positive attitudes going.
“I’m thinking through that and trying to be the best I can. I know they are, too. We’re all just really happy for each other’s success. We’re there to pick each other up when things aren’t going our way and somebody is having a bad day. I think that’s what great teams do. This is turning into a great team.
“I’m super, super proud of them. I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m driving my butt off. Sometimes I think I might be driving a little bit too hard. So far it’s been paying off.”