Why Brad Keselowski Should Feel Great About His Chances at Pocono Raceway

Driver and first-year team owner Brad Keselowski recorded his best NASCAR Cup Series finish of the season at New Hampshire in spite of himself.

Keselowski played a bizarre game of bumper cars under yellow with Austin Dillon and still ended up finishing a season-best seventh for RFK Racing.

But Keselowski and the No. 6 team needed more than that as NASCAR’s playoff race winds toward its conclusion, so the self-inflicted Loudon wound should sting a bit. If Keselowski is to make the 10-race playoffs, he needs a victory to give himself a chance to make the 16-driver field.

Currently sitting in 29th place in the points standings, Keselowski is still without a victory or even a top-5 finish in his first season with RFK Racing.

This Sunday’s M&Ms Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway may be Keselowski’s latest best chance to pick up a victory needed for both the playoffs and himself as a first-time Cup Series team owner.

Pocono Raceway has been good to Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301
Brad Keselowski gives a thumbs up to fans as he walks onstage during driver intros prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17, 2022 | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

In 24 previous starts at Pocono’s “Tricky Triangle,” Keselowski has one victory with 15 top-10 finishes. He won there in 2011 after starting 13th and leading just 19 laps.

In the past three years, he has had five top-10 finishes in six starts, including a runner-up in 2019 and a third-place finish last year. His average finish of 10.6 is among the best among Cup Series drivers, so the good vibes at Pocono coupled with long-awaited momentum from last week’s Top-10 finish could help propel Keselowski to Victory Lane and maybe, just maybe, into the Cup Series playoffs.

Is a second career victory at Pocono for Keselowski a longshot? The sportsbooks say so. CBS Sports placed Keselowski’s odds to win Sunday at Pocono at 50-1, which is about the middle of the pack.

Keselowski heads to Pocono with Next Gen

Keselowski has traditionally performed well at Pocono in the Cup Series, even before the actual races. His average qualifying position is 11.3 with one pole, and 11 starts inside the top 10.

He will find out if that trend continues Saturday as Pocono returns to its traditional pre-race format with a group practice preceding qualifying.

But there’s nothing really traditional about Pocono, the oddly shaped circuit with five turns and some characteristics of an all-left-turn road course. It’s a unique place, so the new Next Gen car has raced on dirt, on short tracks, 1.5-mile ovals, road courses, and superspeedways.

But not at Pocono.

“There’s obviously not a ton of experience with the new car at Pocono,” Keselowski said in a pre-race release from RFK Racing. “From what I understand, the cars can get really loose off the corners, so trying to manage that is going to be tricky but will make it fun as well. We put together a complete run last week at Loudon, so carrying momentum is key from here on out to continue to build on our program.”

All stats courtesy of Racing Reference

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