NASCAR

Hunger propelled Keselowski at CMS

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski missed the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
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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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What an amazing chain of events that Brad Keselowski went through on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway to still end up in Victory Lane.

Actually, his struggles started in qualifying. His car wasn’t that good in qualifying, and he was only able to muster a 23rd -place starting spot. So he was starting pretty deep in the field.

Come Saturday, the team had two issues to overcome in the race. The first was a loose wheel and then the second was a stuck jack under the car. So, they definitely were having their issues on pit road. That seems to be where crew chief Paul Wolfe shines. It doesn’t always have to be when things are going as planned, but that’s where that bunch starts doing things differently on pit road than others.

They stay out when people pit. They short pit on others. That jack issue bit them around Lap 84, which was the second caution flag. They kept Brad out there until Lap 134. Obviously with having to come back to pit road on the jack issue, they were able to load the car back up with fuel.

The bottom line in all this is they ended up having a really good race car and their agenda on pit road was different than the other teams.

I believe two things made a difference there in that final run. The first was they had four fresh tires compared to Kasey Kahne having only two fresh tires. The second one is an intangible, but at that moment in time, Brad had the will over Kasey to win that race.

You have to believe that as our reigning champion who has represented our sport all year long but failed to make the Chase to be able to defend his title, and up until Saturday night had failed to win a race this year, Brad realized he might not get another chance to win this season.

Those four fresh tires and his hunger to win in 2013 is what propelled him to Victory Lane over Kasey Kahne in my book.

Tagged: Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski

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