CM – Keselowski just below the playoff cut line as time runs out with Penske – Salisbury Post


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From Post Sport

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) – Brad Keselowski joined Team Penske to become NASCAR champion and industry leader.

His first goal came in 2012 when he won the Cup, the first for team owners Roger Penske in the NASCAR competition. Keselowski also took Penske’s 500th victory, overtaking Mark Donohue as the most victorious driver in Penske history in 2019.

Keselowski’s time with the Penske Organization is into the last lap of two races and he would love to do one go to second cup title. To do this, Keselowski has to race his way to the championship finals on the Martinsville Speedway today. He is six points below the cutting line and has three places to be awarded in Martinsville. Kyle Larson is the only driver who has already qualified for the title-defining final in Phoenix on November 7th.

Keselowski does not have to be the first to finish. « Even if we don’t win the race, realistically, if we collect a lot of stage points and do all these things, we have a great opportunity, so I feel pretty good, » he said.

The four riders above the cut line are the teammates from Hendrick Motorsports, Larson and Chase Elliott, the reigning cup champion, as well as the teammates from Joe Gibbs Racing, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Below the intersection are all three Team Penske drivers – Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano – as well as JGR driver Martin Truex Jr.Logano is probably the only one who needs to win to move forward, as he did in 2018 to make it to the championship finals.

Keselowski, grandfather clock winner Martinsville Trophy in 2017 and 2019, just wanted to focus on Sunday’s race and not use his last few days to review his time driving for one of the most respected organizations in motorsport u think.

Keselowski is leaving Roush Fenway Racing to become a driver and partner, where he will achieve his goal of being an important voice after 12 seasons for Penske with 34 Cup wins, a Cup title and an Xfinity Series title in sport and the successful recruitment of Logano into the organization.

« I allowed my head to go into this room a couple of times, » said Keselowski. “It’s a dangerous place to get in because it distracts from focusing on putting it all together, so I tried to stop my brain from doing it once it got there, but I would understand that it would mean the world (win another championship for Penske) and be able to do it for our team in our last year together. ”

Immediately after the Phoenix final, Keselowski will work at Roush as a competition manager. He is expected to hire Matt McCall of Chip Ganassi Racing as his crew chief on the # 6 Ford – Keselowski will replace Ryan Newman in that car – and will be one of the top roles in the organization in terms of direction of competition .

He expects to rely on the lessons he has learned from more than ten years at Penske.

“I think Roger has always had a level of professionalism that is infectious and inspiring is. His attention to detail is incredible, ”said Keselowski. “Of course he’s got a great business acumen. He is known in my eyes for his contagious work ethic. You will not overwhelm Roger Penske and I respect that about him so much.

“My goal is to take everything I have learned from him and to become stronger accordingly and to apply it with my personal experiences and integrate it To put together a great team, a great company that can endure and win championships for years and decades. « 

But first he will try to drive the # 2 Ford on the way out the door to the championship. </ p What was the best Cup season of Ryan Blaney's career took a massive blow in Kansas last week when he fell from a non-playoff driver Austin Dillon.

The wreck in the late race left Blaney off second in the Playoff grid to drop below the cutline, one point behind Kyle Busch. It was a heartbreaker for the three-race winner who believes there will only be one vacancy between five drivers on Sunday.

Blaney’s numbers Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin have enough points to advance regardless of the result in Martinsville. But he counts Martinsville as one of his best tracks and has four top five finishes in the last five races.

« There are four of us who can score points pretty easily, so I don’t think there is a better track for that, « said Blaney.

He’s trying to get through to his first championship race and reward crew chief Todd Gordon, who is retiring in Phoenix. Gordon won the championship with Logano in 2015. This is Blaney’s third time in the round of 16.

« I just haven’t made it into the championship race, » he said. “I think that’s a big hurdle for us or for me personally. It would be a great achievement, not just for me, but also for everyone working on the 12 Series car and to give Todd the chance to run for a championship in his final season. « 

Martin Truex Jr., Winner of three of the last four races in Martinsville, Fan Duel is 10/11 favorite according to Fan Duel. … The Martinsville winner has won the championship seven times in this playoff format, most of the track. Chase Elliott did it last year and won his first title by sweeping the last two races of the year. … A victory for Kyle Larson on Sunday would only make him the ninth other Cup driver in modern times to win four or more races in a row. Jimmie Johnson was the last to win four times in a row in 2017.

By Mike London [email protected] SALISBURY — Cross-country skiing in Salisbury Community Park at the end of October also means wind and cold … read on


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