NASCAR

Keselowski needs to stick to plan

McReynolds: Keselowski will win the Sprint Cup, and it will have a long-ranging impact.
McReynolds: Keselowski will win the Sprint Cup, and it will have a long-ranging impact.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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We’ve got a lot of storylines heading into this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Something tells me that Clint Bowyer falling to fourth in points and now being 52 points out after his crash with Jeff Gordon Sunday will have an effect. Maybe he will calm down over the next four to five days, but something tells me he’s going to make Jeff Gordon live hard at Homestead. Hopefully not, but something tells me he will.

Brad Keselowski, he has all these storylines going in there, but he doesn’t need to race like he just needs to finish 15th or better. He needs to race like he ran Sunday at Phoenix, like he ran 10 races ago. Just be smart with what you do.

Then you think about all the drivers that are still trying to win a race this year. You look at Mark Martin, still trying to win a race. You look at Kyle Busch, trying to end this season with a win. Carl Edwards, trying to win a race. Look at all the drivers that have not won a race in 2012 who get one more shot.

As I said also, it’s an unknown going there. We’ve been going there since 1999, but it’s a track we only go to once a year. We know a lot changes over the course of a year with cars, with setups, with rules and certainly with the racetrack losing grip.

I know this deal is not over with yet, we’ve still got 400 miles next Sunday to run, but it’s almost like as of late, leading the points coming to Phoenix has been the kiss of death.

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Brad Keselowski combines talent and personality into a potent NASCAR mix. Check out his top 10 NASCAR accomplishments.

Denny Hamlin was leading the points coming here in 2010 and lost the championship. Carl Edwards was leading the points coming into Phoenix last year, lost the championship. And obviously Jimmie Johnson was leading the points coming into Phoenix Sunday, and he certainly took a huge, huge hit.

Jimmie Johnson and his team were a head-scratcher at Phoenix. Did they make gains on it over the course of the weekend and over the course of the race? Certainly. But they were searching for speed from the time they unloaded on Friday. They qualified 24th and were seemingly searching in practice and for most of the race, except through the transitional green-flag pit stops, they were those five, six, seven spots behind Brad Keselowski all day long.

If that tire had not given Jimmie Johnson and his team a problem, we’d basically be going to Homestead with it heads up, it’s who beats who.

All it takes is just one little something happening to Brad and things will be even again this week.

He hasn’t really had anything happen to him in this Chase. I said before this Chase, I felt like whoever would win this championship would have an all-but-flawless 10 races. I felt like that’s what it was going to take.

Right now he has eight top-10 finishes.  The only finish that was outside the top 10 was an 11th at Charlotte in a race where they had a very dominant car.

But I think we’ll just have to get down there and see what happens.

Tagged: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski

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