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.