This season has been one big uphill battle for reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski. The young Penske Racing driver drove the wheels off of his No. 2 Dodge “Blue Deuce” last year in a miracle run through the Chase that saw him hoist the Sprint Cup after rival Jimmie Johnson faltered at Phoenix and then Homestead. After a post season full of celebration including many a tall glasses of Miller Lite, Keselowski started the season off confident he could put up a staunch title defense in 2013.
This season Keselowski has made some solid finishes, but it is still lacking what he already had one of last year at this point; the all critical trip to victory lane. He certainly has had competitive cars all year long, but he just hasn’t been able to get that number one finish all while rival Jimmie Johnson continues to extend his lead far beyond the rest of the field.
Adding to Keselowski’s troubles are the pending penalties on his race crew that are still be appealed by the Penske Racing organization. If the penalties ultimately stand — it’s looking ever more likely after the appellate panel ordered them upheld today — then Bad Brad will have even more of a climb to make.
His crew chief Paul Wolfe has been the saving grace especially in these last couple weeks of racing as Keselowski has been forced to fight his was back from a lap down. If he loses Wolfe for the six weeks mandated then it could be fatal for his repeat championship.
I just don’t think he can do it without Wolfe. These two are starting to rival the Johnson/Chad Knaus team, and losing that chemistry will seriously hurt this race team.