Keselowski: “We still control our own destiny”

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Brad Keselowski figures he doesn’t have to win one of the last two regular season races in order to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But, of course, a victory remains the top priority for the reigning series champion.

“One win would feel pretty damn good [but] it still wouldn’t lock us in,” he said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I think that we’re going here with a ‘win the race’ mentality, but the next two weeks – do we have to win to make it in? No. We still control our own destiny.

“We might be sitting 11th in points, but essentially if we put up two strong finishes, that will be a moot point and that’s kind of how I’m looking at it from that perspective.”

Keselowski sits four points out of the Top 10 going into Sunday’s Advocare 500, but has been strong lately at Atlanta with finishes of third and sixth in his last two outings there.

Additionally, recent tests at AMS as well as Richmond International Raceway – which will host the final race before the Chase next Saturday night – has him confident that he can put himself into the post-season.

Doing that may have been easier had he (as well as Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano) not lost 25 driver points after some of his equipment was confiscated by NASCAR before April’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

But instead of fretting over the possibility of becoming the first defending Cup champion since 2005 titleholder Tony Stewart to not make the Chase the following year, he sees a “tremendous opportunity” to prove his and his team’s mettle.

“Our back is against the wall,” he said. “But these are the times where great teams step up and they make something happen and where great drivers step up and they make a play.”

“That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to that opportunity to prove what we’re worth and what we’re made of.”

Keselowski will start 23rd on Sunday night.

Toro Rosso boss hopes to see Kvyat return to Formula 1

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Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.

Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.

Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.

“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.

“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.

“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.

“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!

“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.

“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”