All season long Brad Keselowski has turned statistically bad tracks for him into good finishes.
Credit his driving style and crew chief Paul Wolfe. Wolfe has normally put Keselowski on different pit strategies on tracks he usually struggles at and hopes it works out in the end for him.
This type of strategy worked to perfection at Dover earlier in the Chase and the exact reason he’s in the position he’s in right now.
Wolfe and Keselowski will need some more of that magic this weekend in the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. In his first five starts at the one-mile track Keselowski never cracked the top 10 as his best finish was 15th in February 2011. He finished 18th there last year after starting 12th.
Keselowski ran better there earlier in the year with earning his best career Phoenix finish of fifth. Fuel mileage and a little luck gave him a top five that day.
One thing Keselowski needs to do to ensure he has a chance in Miami next weekend is qualify better. Statistically, drivers that run well in Phoenix typically start up front. The track is a difficult one to handle and passing is hard. That makes track position ever so important there and starting in the back doesn’t help.
In his six career Phoenix starts, Keselowski has only started in the top 20 twice. He has starts of 26th, 22nd, 30th, 9th, 12th, and 28th there. That’s not going to work when Jimmie Johnson is typically a good qualifier there and an even better finisher. Mix that with Johnson winning the last two poles this season and that puts a lot of heat on Keselowski in the qualifying session to get it right.
That makes things difficult for Keselowski as they can’t afford to spend too much time on qualifying set-ups as they need to figure out a good race set-up as well.
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Photo courtesy of NASCAR.com
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