NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 5 Brad Keselowski


Brad Keselowski

Season finish: Fifth

2014 Season Stats: 6 wins, 17 top-5, 20 top-10, 5 Poles.

What went right: Keselowski led all Sprint Cup drivers with a personal season-best six wins. He managed to make it to the Eliminator Round of eight, but was unable to advance to the final Champion 4 Round at Homestead. Keselowski drove with a vigor reminiscent of his 2012 championship season and appeared determined to prove failing to make the Chase in 2013 was a fluke. Keselowski also proved that he belongs among the top drivers of the sport.

What went wrong: He managed to reach the final eight in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but a poor start to the Eliminator Round – 31st at Martinsville – proved to put him behind the eight ball and he was never able to recover or make up enough ground to make the Champion 4 final round at Homestead. There was also the brawl with Jeff Gordon after the Texas Chase race. Had that event not occurred in the Chase, both drivers likely would have been punished more severely, so both got a break there. But in the end, neither advanced to the Champion 4, begging to ask the question: was the fight really worth it in the whole big scheme of things.

2015 Prospectus: The biggest question in our minds is whether Keselowski will be able to have another season like he did in 2014, or will he revert back to the kind of season he had in 2013 after winning the championship the season before. Everything is pretty much status quo with his team, which is good. Plus, he has developed perhaps the best 1-2 driver-teammate relationship with Joey Logano of any team in the sport right now. The duo plays off each other so well that if one has problems, the other picks up the entire Team Penske organization. The only other thing we’re concerned about is whether Keselowski learned any valuable lessons from 2015, between the brawl with Gordon and some of the other comments Bad Brad made during 2014, particularly calling out other drivers or failing to take responsibility for issues that seemed to be of his own fault or making. Time will tell if Keselowski truly has learned from those incidents.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski