FORT WORTH, Texas – After Martinsville’s Tums Fast Relief 500, Brad Keselowski is no longer the points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which is not necessarily that bad.
Keselowski surrendered a seven-point lead in the standings and now trails Jimmie Johnson by two points. However, the outcome could have been worse.
Johnson started the race from the pole and was able to fend off all challengers to win the event. Keselowski, on the other hand, started all the way back in 32nd. He managed to fight through the traffic to finish sixth.
Historically, Johnson has always excelled at Martinsville. The win was his seventh in 22 starts. The Virginia track has been a little more difficult for Keselowski. In six races, he has only three top 10s.
So, to leave Martinsville only two points behind Johnson is an accomplishment. There’s more pressing matters. Namely, Texas.
This weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is just as big a hurdle for Keselowski as Martinsville was, if not more.
In eight starts at the 1.5-mile track, including his first career NSCS start, Keselowski has never placed in the top 10 (or finished on the lead lap, for that matter). His best finish was in the spring 2010 race where he finished 14th. In five of his starts, he placed outside the top 20.
Unfortunately, his qualifying efforts haven’t fared much better. Keselowski started on the grid in 27th position or lower in six events.
However, in 2012, Keselowski and his team have been ignoring history and finding success at tracks where it has normally eluded them. This season, Keselowski has matched or bettered his previous best finish at 15 different tracks.
So does that mean positive things for Keselowski this weekend at Texas? We’ll have to wait and see.