Brad Keselowski Earns ‘Hall Pass’ with Chicagoland Win

Brad Keselowski Earns ‘Hall Pass’ with Chicagoland Win

by September 16, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

JOLIET, Ill. — With his win in the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Brad Keselowski has earned himself a bit of a break heading into the next two races at Loudon and Dover.

Keselowski’s Chase-opening win grants the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford with a berth into the second round of the Chase – the Contender Round.

With a berth into the next round under wraps, Keselowski could crash out of the next two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway and still be a championship contender – a continuance of the Sprint Cup Series’ ‘win and you’re in’ motto from the regular season.

In his post-race press conference at Chicagoland, Keselowski acknowledged his possession of such a pass.

“I want to enjoy the moment, but I still know there’s nine weeks to go,” Keselowski said. “We have a bit of a hall pass for the next two, which I’m very appreciate [of.] But those other seven, nobody cares that we won Chicago, nobody cares that we won Richmond or the other three races.

It keeps resetting. You have to reset yourself. You have to keep developing the car and pushing as a team, whether it’s on pit road, the car handling, spec, whatever it might be, or driver tactics.”

As for what this win means for Keselowski’s strategy heading into the next two races, Keselowski’s not too entirely sure on what the game plan will be entering Loudon and Dover.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess that’s something we have to sit down and discuss as a group. I can’t really say I’ve thought about that in detail.”

Crew chief Paul Wolfe, on the other hand, is sure of what the next two races will bring for the No. 2 Team Penske crew.

“I think there’s a couple things that it does,” Wolfe said. “One, from a race strategy standpoint, obviously we can be a little bit more aggressive and maybe play a different strategy. There were points in the race today where I knew it was important to just get a solid finish.

We felt like coming into this, we don’t need to these first three races to advance to the next round, we just need solid runs. That was our goal. Obviously we want to win races and that’s what we go out for. If we can’t, it’s salvaging a good finish.

The next two weeks I think maybe we can look at the strategy a little different, maybe roll the dice a little more and go for a win.”

Keselowski, Wolfe, and company have a great opportunity to do just that in the next two races in the Challenger Round. The No. 2 team have one win each at Loudon and Dover with the Keselowski-Wolfe partnership running the car.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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