NASCAR

Brad on the outside looking in

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, sits on a tire in the garage area.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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I am very surprised that our defending champion Brad Keselowski is in the predicament of possibly not being able to defend his championship. When it’s all said and done, I think we’ll have to go back to Texas earlier this year and see how much impact the rules violation had on our defending champion.

When you look at Penske Racing overall you have Brad’s new teammate red hot and Brad not even close. Maybe we are seeing the combination of the distraction of being a champion, remember, that person is pulled in many different directions that the other drivers aren’t, combined with maybe the “luck factor” not being in his favor this year.

I think we are seeing that Brad does have vulnerabilities in certain areas. I still maintain that Brad is one of the top talents on the track each and every week. He and crew chief Paul Wolfe are arguably one of the elite driver/drew chief combinations out there right now.

Those two actually are experiencing pretty much what Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are going through – simply put – bad luck. Had a few situations gone another way, Brad could be already sitting on a win or two this year. It didn’t happen and now you see the massive mountain he has to climb Saturday night.

There was a situation recently where Brad could have wrecked a driver to win the race but didn’t because he said he wanted to be respected as a racer. So sometimes in the chase to gain respectability as a racer, it might cost you the Chase.

Fast track

Brad Keselowski has quickly made his mark in NASCAR. TOP ACCOMPLISHMENTS

If he misses the Chase, 2013 will be a season they can look back on and in some cases point to as avoidable. In other ways this will be one of those “life experiences” that a driver goes through and hopefully learns from. It might be what it takes to propel him to be even stronger in years to come. I just don’t think you are going to hold this kid down – not for long at least.

It’s hard for me to sit here and think about our defending champion missing the Chase, but at the same time, 2013 has been so unpredictable where anything can happen and as we are seeing, it has.


 

Tagged: Brad Keselowski

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