Keselowski: ‘I’m not (Dale Earnhardt Sr.) … I’m just trying to do things my own way’

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Brad Keselowski has been called a lot of things by fans and fellow drivers – many of which we can’t print for obvious reasons.

And while he refuses to be intimidated by fellow drivers on or off the race track, one thing Keselowski never wants to see or hear are comparisons between himself and the real Intimidator, the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

“There’s only one of those,” Keselowski said of Earnhardt, according to Bob Pockrass of SportingNews.com. “Racing in some ways is like music — you can be influenced as a band by another band. Certainly there is some influence there.

“But I’m not that band. It’s flattering with all the success that (Earnhardt) has had. But I’m not (that) band, I’m just trying to do things my own way, the best way I know how.”

Keselowski has gone from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in just over a week’s time. He was involved in several incidents at Charlotte two Saturdays ago, leading to being put in a headlock by fellow driver Matt Kenseth, and then NASCAR fined Keselowski $50,000 for his run-ins on the racetrack with Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, who was also fined.

Then came Talladega this past Sunday. Mired in 10th place coming into the race, Keselowski was like several other drivers – including six-time and defending Cup champ Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – who found themselves in must-win situations.

Keselowski wound up winning the race, advancing to the Eliminator Round, while Johnson, Earnhardt, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne were all eliminated from further advancement in the Chase.

Surprisingly, even though he tangled with Keselowski a week earlier, Kenseth told Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press that he actually admires Keselowski, and is not jealous of him, as team owner Roger Penske said about Keselowski’s rivals after Sunday’s win.

“I don’t agree with things that he says or does at times, but I actually really admire Brad’s work ethic, how he got to where he was at,” Kenseth said. “He got here the old-fashioned way, working hard.

“He works harder than most people work at it and tries harder, and that’s a lot of the reason for his success. I’m certainly not jealous of that. I actually admire that part of him.”

Keselowski understands he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s also very natural in the way he deals with things and other drivers. He may step on toes, but he’s also had his own toes stepped on coming up through the ranks.

That was especially true early in his Sprint Cup career, tangling with the likes of Carl Edwards (several times), Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and others.

“Sometimes, with this current setting, you’re going to have to ruffle some feathers and not everybody’s going to like you,” Keselowski said. “I’m comfortable with that, or as comfortable with that as you can be.

“There’s no part of me that’s sitting here saying, ‘Man, I hope everybody hates me.'”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Supercross: Tomac, Roczen square off in Arlington; Webb gives chase

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The Monster Energy Supercross championship battle remains tight after Eli Tomac took the lead from Ken Roczen just last week at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Now the series heads to Arlington, Texas, and the AT&T Stadium for Round 8. (Watch on NBCSN or stream live.)

Tomac’s third win of the 2020 season and Roczen’s third-place finish at Tampa gives Tomac a four-point advantage in what is essentially a wide-open title fight with three races on tap in Arlington.

And while it is still much too early to call this a two-man battle, Cooper Webb is 11 points back with Justin Barcia 20 points out and Adam Cianciarulo 27 points in arrears – and all three cannot afford to lose any ground this week.

Tomac has the momentum. He allowed the field to get a jump after finishing seventh at Anaheim in the season opener, but finished fourth or better in the remaining events.

Roczen also got off to a slow start in Anaheim 1 with a sixth-place finish. He seemed to have a firm grasp on the red plate with four consecutive podium finishes until he slipped to sixth for a second time at San Diego.

Webb is coming into his own with three consecutive podiums in the last three events. If not for a 12th at St. Louis, he would be in immediate contention for the red plate.

This week is the second Triple Crown race of the season and Roczen hopes he has the same success as he did at Glendale. He won all three Mains that weekend and easily walked away with the overall victory. Tomac finished 2-2-3 for second overall. It is going to be imperative that a rider takes the early lead.

Blake Baggett qualified for last week’s Main, but chose to sit it out after experiencing sever muscle spasms. He will ride in Arlington.

Henry Miller will return to riding at Arlington after breaking a scapula in Australia.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

For the third time in his career, Shane McElrath started the season with a victory. He won the season-opener in 2017 and 2018 in the West division at Anaheim, but failed to lock down a 250 title. His seventh career win moved him to 25th on the chart, however, with Travis Pastrana, Trey Canard, and a host of others.

Chase Sexton got his title hunt off to a strong start last week as well. He finished second to earn his 10th podium in 19 starts, but he will be hungry for a win. Despite the fact that he won last year’s 250 West championship, he has only one race victory to his credit.

Last week, Jeremy Martin looked like he had not been off his bike for more than a year. Returning from a 2018 injury, Martin snagged a podium finish in his first race back.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Shane McElrath beat Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin in the 250 class.

Last Dallas race (February, 2019):

Cooper Webb beat Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (155)
Ken Roczen (151)
Cooper Webb (144)
Justin Barcia (135)
Adam Cianciarulo (128)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (135)
Justin Cooper (128)
Austin Forkner (122)
Brandon Hartranft (110)
Alex Martin (98)

250 East:
Shane McElrath (26)
Chase Sexton (23)
Jeremy Martin (21)
Garrett Marchbanks (19)
Jordon Smith (18)

Wins

450

(3) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2, Oakland and Tampa)
(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)
(1) Cooper Webb (San Diego)

250 West

(3) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2, Oakland, and San Diego)
(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath (Tampa)

Top-5s

450

(6) Eli Tomac
(6) Cooper Webb
(5) Jason Anderson
(5) Ken Roczen
(5) Justin Barcia
(3) Adam Cianciarulo
(2) Zach Osborne
(2) Blake Baggett
(1) Justin Hill

250 West

(5) Dylan Ferrandis
(5) Austin Forkner
(5) Justin Cooper
(4) Michael Mosiman
(4) Brandon Hartranft
(3) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes
(1) Luke Clout

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath
(1) Chase Sexton
(1) Jeremy Martin
(1) Garrett Marchbanks
(1) Jordon Smith

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