Maybe the most overlooked and under-appreciated driver in recent NASCAR Cup Series history, Brad Keselowski has had a great 2020 season and should be considered a heavy favorite heading into the championship race on Sunday.
While Keselowski only has one championship (2012), consistency has been the name of his game as he is the only Cup Series driver to win three or more races in every season since 2016. However, do to the wild card of the current playoff format, this season is only the second time he has reached the Championship 4 (2017 being the other).
The playoffs can be known to cost title-deserving drivers a chance at even being able to compete for a championship in the season finale. It was the case for Kevin Harvick this year, but not for Keselowski.
Keselowski’s worst stretch of the season came during the playoffs as he finished outside the top 10 in four straight races (Bristol, Las Vegas, Talladega, Charlotte Roval). Outside of that stretch, he never went on a streak of finishing outside of the top 10 in more than two-straight race weekends at any point of the 2020 season. The consistency this season for Keselowski has been the main focal point and why he should be in a great position to win this year’s championship.
It’s worth noting that Keselowski’s average finish this year is 10.3. It is his second-best career average finish.
Do you know which season had his best average finish? His 2012 championship season, where he posted a 10.1 average finish.
One could say that the writing is on the wall for Keselowski to live up to his average finish on Sunday and win the Cup Series championship. However, Keselowski has not had the best of careers on the one-mile oval of Phoenix Raceway.
In 22 races at Phoenix, Keselowski has never won and only posted six top-five finishes. The “no wins at Phoenix” statistic for him should raise red flags as every champion since 2014 won the race to win the championship. While Keselowski doesn’t need to win to earn the title, the trends say that you have to win the final race in this format to win the title.
He may not have a win at Phoenix, but I believe the racing gods will reward Keselowski with his consistency this season and he will get over the hump of coming up short in the current playoff format.
Brad Keselowski will win at Phoenix for the first time on Sunday and become a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.