Keselowski Grabs NSCS Point Lead, Dodge Heads to Homestead Seeking Championship

Brad Keselowski finished sixth in the action packed Advocare 500 Sunday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway to regain the lead in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.
Posted on Nov 12, 2012

Keselowski Grabs Point Lead With Sixth-Place Finish At Phoenix

Blue Deuce Driver has 20-point Edge Entering Season Finale

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 11, 2012) – Brad Keselowski finished sixth in the action packed Advocare 500 Sunday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway to regain the lead in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.

The complexion of the championship changed when Jimmie Johnson hit the wall in Turn 4 on lap 234 of the 319-lap race, forcing the five-time champion to the garage area for repairs. He returned to the track and was credited with a 32nd-place finish.

Meanwhile, Keselowski had his hands full. He and crew chief Paul Wolfe decided to pit for tires on lap 274 and restarted eighth when the event went green three laps later. He was racing Joey Logano for seventh-place when Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer tangled just ahead of him between Turns 3 and 4 on lap 311.

The accident and cleanup pushed the race, scheduled for 312 laps, to a green-white-checkered finish. Keselowski restarted fifth and dodged another multi-car accident involving Danica Patrick on the final lap to finish sixth.

"Well, we just all hit the oil that she layed down," Keselowski said. "We were all out of control and I saw it happening and thought 'Oh boy, I've got to get all the way to the start-finish line.' I got clipped but made it through sideways. That just shows you when you have good fortune on your side, it's a good thing.

"All year long we've had a team that's rallied around each other and found a way to persevere through adversity. I'm very, very lucky to have them and I know that. This is a team sport. NASCAR racing doesn't get the credit for that but it really is a team sport. We rely on each other and fall back on each other in times of weakness and boost each other up in times of strength. Joey (Meier), my spotter, had my back on that and Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) had my back on the pit calls, giving me a fast car. Obviously, it's my job to do all I could do to stay out of all the wrecks today. That's why we're in the position that we're in."

And though Keselowski, who claimed his 23rd top 10 finish of the season, has a 20-point edge over Jimmie Johnson entering the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, don't even hint that the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger has his first championship well in hand.

"Quite honestly those same things could happen to us," said Keselowski. "We can get a flat tire next week and put him right back in it so that's why you never count anything until it's over. Nothing is over until it's over. We just need to keep our heads down and focus on what lays ahead."

Keselowski can clinch his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with a finish of 15th or better next Sunday at Homestead or 16th-place and lead at least one lap. If he leads the most laps, a 17th-place finish gives him the title regardless what Johnson does.

Sam Hornish Jr. was having a respectable run on the lead lap until an accident ended his day on lap 301. Hornish was credited with a 31st-place finish in the final rundown.

Chase Point Standings
(After 35 of 36 Races)
2. Jimmie Johnson -20
3. Kasey Kahne -50
4. Clint Bowyer -52
5. Denny Hamlin -62
6. Matt Kenseth -74
7. Greg Biffle -78
8. Kevin Harvick -86
9. Tony Stewart -87
10. Jeff Gordon -90
11. Martin Truex Jr. -111
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -160

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
AdvoCare 500
Phoenix Int'l Raceway

1. Kevin Harvick*
2. Denny Hamlin*
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kasey Kahne*
5. Ryan Newman
7. Greg Biffle*
8. Kurt Busch
9. Paul Menard
10. Mark Martin
(Other Chase Drivers)
14. Matt Kenseth
20. Tony Stewart
21. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
28. Clint Bowyer
30. Jeff Gordon
32. Jimmie Johnson
43. Martin Truex Jr.


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