The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion is Brad Keselowski. Sounds kind Cool. The working man driving the working man’s beer car makes a great story yet there is so much more.
Brad Keselowski went to Roger Penske in 2009 and told him he wanted to drive for him. Brad had already shown he had some talent but had not shown his determination. This season it became apparent that Brad Keselowski wasn’t just driving the car he was giving input in the running and operation of the team. Input that isn’t normally given by a driver little lone one who is only two full years into his career at the top level of NASCAR. Read about it here.
In first year driving full time in the Sprint Cup series, Brad finished 25th. The next year he backed it up with a fifth place finish. At the start of 2012 he was expected to make the Chase and continue his progression toward a Championship. No one expected him to win this year.
Brad said, “I can’t believe how everything just came together over the last — what’s it been, three years? Has it been three years we’ve been together? Three years Paul and I have been together.”
Brad’s season started off slow, a wreck in the Daytona 500 and a 32nd place finish, a fifth place finish then another 32nd place finish at Las Vegas no indication of a Championship at all. A win at Bristol and Talladega and Brad was getting near the top ten in standings and a place in the Chase. After the first race at Pocono Brad was tenth in the standings and would remain in the top ten the rest of the season.
Brad was able to add another win at Kentucky speedway on his way to finishing the regular season fifth in points. Brad Keselowski started the Chase in a three way tie for second in the standings only three points away from first.
Brad won the first race in the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway showing everyone that he and his team meant business and wanted the Championship. Brad said, “But once we won Chicago, I felt like we could do it. I really did. And I knew that we had the speed. So many mile and a halfs in the Chase and all of them aren’t away like Chicago, and I felt like at that moment that we had a group that could get the job done“.
Throughout the Chase they would never be lower than second in the Standings as they battled back and forth with the No. 48 team. Their worst race was the last race of the season where he finished fifteenth. Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team ended the season with five wins, thirteen top five and 23 top ten finishes. He only led 735 laps. They did what every NASCAR team tries to do and that is to beat the No. 48 Jimmie Johnson team. They didn’t beat them statistically; they won the championship by finishing their bad races better than the No. 48 did. The No. 48 had six 30th or worse finishes including two in the Chase but he No. 2 only had four, none in the Chase. That is what won the Championship.
Brad Keselowski and the whole Miller Lite No. 2 team will be in the Chase next year and for years to come.