NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Preview: Brad Keselowski

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NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Preview: Brad Keselowski
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Every day here at Bleacher Report, we'll be counting down the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup by posting two driver previews, breaking down how they got in and what they're going to do with their berth. Today, we look at a pair of three-win drivers: third place Tony Stewart and, here, fourth place Brad Keselowski.

 

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, Penske Racing

CHASE POSITION: Fourth, 2009 points (Three wins)

MAKING THE CHASE: Keselowski made the Chase at Atlanta after scoring a third place finish, his 10th of the season. His three wins, 10 top fives, and 14 top-10's through 25 races were actually equal to his entire 2011 output.

LAST 10 RACES: Good luck finding a driver who's been better in the past 10 races than Keselowski. He kicked off the Race to the Chase with his third win of the season at Kentucky and has only finished outside of the top 10 once, after wrecking at Bristol. The resulting average finish of 7.1 is championship caliber, to say the least.

LAST YEAR'S CHASE: One of the more surprising Chase drivers from last season, Keselowski never ranked worse than sixth in points during the 10 playoff races while posting an average finish of 12.9. Though he faded from third in points at Talladega back to fifth at Homestead, he still scored four top-five finishes, with a best finish of second at Loudon.

AT CHASE TRACKS: Keselowski's best Chase track is Kansas, where he has a 10.2 average finish with one win in five starts. However, he's never cracked the top 10 in his brief Sprint Cup career at three Chase hosts: Dover (average finish 17.0), Homestead (20.2), and Texas (25.2), where he's never finished on the lead lap.

OUTLOOK: Keselowski became a bona fide superstar with his performance last season, scoring four finishes of third or better immediately after breaking his ankle in a testing accident. His star is only rising both on and off the track. An even stronger Chase performance than last year is not only expected, but well within reach. Roger Penske is looking for his first IndyCar title since 2006 with Will Power, but Keselowski could give him his first Cup title ever to go along with it.

For more from Christopher Leone, follow @christopherlion on Twitter.

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