After Brad Keselowski’s dominating victory last weekend at the Martinsville Speedway, we have to start wondering just how such a good driver is being so much underappreciated. While I get some may say that he’s not, think about it, how much attention does the Team Penske driver realistically get?
Unless he’s saying something controversial or ruffling feathers with some of his peers, he doesn’t get the attention that others get for their on track success.
MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 26: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Reese/DrawTite Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Libman Ford, during the weather delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 26, 2018 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Over this early part of the season, everyone has discussed ad nauseum Kyle Busch’s career achievements. We knew he was getting close to tying Richard Petty’s 200 career win mark, so the attention naturally went his way. No matter how you feel about Busch’s 201 career wins now, you most certainly think he’s among the most talented drivers in the NASCAR garage today and possibly ever.
He’s earned that distinction. That’s not debatable.
Even Denny Hamlin’s Daytona 500 win got a ton of attention for his placement among NASCAR’s greats. 30+ wins, two Daytona 500 victories and several other great achievements place him as a future Hall of Famer.
But, what about Keselowski?
Sunday’s win in Martinsville, the one where he led 446 of 500 laps, was his 29th victory of his Cup Series career. He’s also won 39 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series to go along with a Truck Series win at Bristol in 2014. That’s 69 combined NASCAR wins in.
He’s won the Brickyard 400, Southern 500, Bristol night race and Firecracker 400. Those are four of the most prestigious races in all of NASCAR. The only two races he’s missing are the Daytona 500 as well as the Coca Cola 600.
He’s the all-time winningest drivers in the history of Team Penske.
He’s won a Cup championship (2012) as well as an XFINITY Series title (2010). In only nine full time Cup seasons, he’s finished in the top 10 in the final standings in six of them.
People forget that too. He’s just in his ninth full time season. Joey Logano has competed in more full time years than Keselowski actually has.
Keselowski is looking just as good as anyone.
Just go back to just before last year’s playoffs. Keselowski, had won the final two regular season races then backed that up with a win in the playoff opener in Las Vegas. Over the last 18 races, he’s won more than anyone else (5).
It’s not just that he’s winning, it’s where he’s winning.
He won on a 1.33-mile track in Darlington. He won on a smooth 1.5-mile track in Vegas. He won on a bumpy 1.54-mile surface in Atlanta. He won on a 2.5-mile track at Indy. Now, he won on a .526-mile short track in Martinsville.
It doesn’t matter the track, he can win at it.
This season, he has four top three finishes in six tries. Over those last 18 races, he has 11 top five finishes.
18 races is exactly half of a Cup season. For him to be this dominant, why are we not mentioning him in the same breath as Kyle Busch as championship front runners?
That’s why he’s under appreciated and why Keselowski shouldn’t be a sleeper anymore.