Statistically Speaking

2015 Forecast: Keselowski, #4

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

During the Chase, two races proved to be crucial for Brad Keselowski. He entered the fall Geico 500 in desperate need of a victory to advance in the playoffs, but one can never predict results at Talladega SuperSpeedway. Keselowski found Victory Lane and squeezed through to the Eliminator round, but a pit road accident at Martinsville Speedway the following week left him stranded well down the order once again.

Keselowski’s second pivotal race came at Texas Motor Speedway during the AAA Texas 500 when late in the event he had another chance to take advantage of NASCAR’s new win-and-in formula. On a late-race restart, Jeff Gordon left a gap between his car and Jimmie Johnson’s, so Keselowski dove in between. Contact with the No. 24 effectively ended Gordon’s chances to advance, sparked some controversy in the pits, and failed to get Keselowski the victory that he needed so badly.

Keselowski ultimately failed to advance to the Championship Race, but he ended the season with four top-fives in the final four events.

Both the Talladega and Texas races are a big part of the reason Keselowski is ranked so high this year. The Geico 500 was one of six victories and 17 top-fives for the season. On any given week, Kez was the driver to beat along with his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano. It was widely accepted that four drivers dominated throughout the season and Keselowski was one of those, which made him an extremely popular and valuable place-and-hold driver in salary cap contests.

Keselowski is ranked behind Logano, Gordon, and Kevin Harvick because of another tendency, however. Six of last year’s 36 Cup races ended outside the top 30 and all of those were occasioned by accidents. He has not quite reached the same all-or-nothing status as Kyle Busch, but crash damage in four other races last year had him on that cusp.

And one of those mishaps factors heavily into this year’s handicap as well.

The pit road incident at Texas revealed just how frustrated other drivers are becoming with Keselowski’s take-no-prisoners’ style of racing. When the argument between Gordon and Keselowski was dying down, Harvick provided the catalyst for an outright donnybrook by shoving Kez into harm’s way. Once the fight began, combatants from at least two other teams joined in to attack Keselowski. Drivers can expect to be raced on the track in a manner similar to how they race others. If each of the drivers who have a grievance—real or perceived—with Keselowski make themselves difficult to pass, it will be hard to get to the front.

On the other side of the coin, Keselowski’s unrepentant attitude and hard-nosed style reveal a fire that burns deep within this driver and that should counterbalance the negative. One way or the other, Keselowski is going to be fun to watch in 2015 and he will earn a lot of fantasy points along the way to another Championship chase.

 

Avg. Finish

Starts

Track

Best Finish

2014 race 1 finish

2014 race 2 finish

10.50

4

Kentucky Speedway

1

1

 

10.67

6

Chicagoland Speedway

1

1

 

11.00

11

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

1

1

7

12.20

5

Watkins Glen International

2

35

 

13.10

10

Bristol Motor Speedway

1

14

2

13.10

10

Kansas Speedway

1

13

36

13.40

10

Pocono Raceway

1

2

23

14.00

5

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

9

12

 

14.33

6

Darlington Raceway

3

17

 

14.64

11

Phoenix International Raceway

3

3

4

14.82

11

Michigan International Speedway

2

3

8

15.00

7

Homestead - Miami Speedway

3

3

 

15.08

12

Talladega SuperSpeedway

1

38

1

15.20

10

Martinsville Speedway

4

38

31

15.73

11

Charlotte Motor Speedway

1

10

16

16.00

11

Dover Downs International

1

2

2

16.91

11

Richmond International Raceway

1

4

1

18.23

13

Texas Motor Speedway

2

15

3

20.00

5

Sonoma Raceway

10

22

 

21.00

6

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

1

1

 

22.08

12

Daytona International Speedway

3

3

18

23.33

6

Auto Club Speedway

18

26

 

24.00

6

Atlanta Motor Speedway

3

39

 

 

Previous Forecasts

#5 Jimmie Johnson
#6 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
#7 Kyle Larson
#8 Matt Kenseth
#9 Jamie McMurray
#10 Denny Hamlin


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/statistically-speaking/2015-forecast-keselowski-4