Brad Keselowski gets reward for big risks to take early NASCAR Chase lead

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One race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase is in the books and Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag for an early lead in the battle for the Championship. Keselowski won the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday signalling his intentions to not race for points but instead go for the win.

Was it a risky chance for Keselowski, who was the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, to pull off in order to get the lead? After all, a wreck in a Chase race and a poor finish could signal the end of a Championship run! Keselowski took advantage of hard racing following a late race restart to sail to the front of the pack. As Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson battled for the lead.

When the two drivers separated slightly during side by side racing for the top spot Keselowski as able to make his move! The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford drove in between the two cars snatching the front runner position. His momentum sent him almost three car links forward in an instant. Was it worth risking a wreck? Keselowski says he was too busy driving to really think about it.

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“I don’t really know what happened, I just know we got to the lead,” Keselowski said. “There was traffic and I was just digging and in the zone. The recorder was turned off so I don’t remember what happened. I had my head down doing all I could do.”

Following up Richmond

The win at Chicago for the No. 2 team from Team Penske was a racing version of a shot across the bow for other drivers. Keselowski closed out the regular season of racing last weekend with a checkered flag at Richmond. The move shows how dominate the No. 2 team is heading into the last nine races of the season and possibly the championship.

What is worth noting is that the two wins come on two completely different types of tracks. Richmond is short track racing with splash of superspeedway front and back stretches. Chicagoland has turned into a wide-open track with multiple racing grooves and is 1.5 miles long. Team Penske and Keselowski showed that they can set up their cars for just about any situation.

Patient and Fun

Even though the bold move for the win may have seemed a little risky for some the whole situation came from being patient. And for race fans the words “patient” and “Brad Keselowski” are not often used in the same sentence. However, the driver known for exciting moves said that the win came from being patient.

The race field was set from practice speeds due to qualifying being rained out. That meant that Keselowski had to work his way from starting 25th.

“You have to be so patient,” Keselowski said. “The cars in traffic are all over the track and it is very easy to spin out on your own and you have to pace yourself. I don’t know what to say. What a great day. God that was sweet. The next two weeks are going to be a lot of fun.”

So, was Keselowski's risky move worth it? All things considered... Yes. He's having fun, the team is confident, and the win moves him onto the next round.

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