Every year, the NASCAR community is reminded of Tony Stewart’s usual enhanced performance in the summer races. History has shown that Smoke generally gets off to a slow start and then, by June or July, heats up and rattles off a win or two (or three) over a couple months. During the 2010 and 2011 seasons, however, this hasn’t really happened for Stewart, although it has for another driver.
We all know about Brad Keselowski’s incredible run through August and September during the 2011 season, but let me refresh your memory: in those eight Sprint Cup races, BK collected two wins, two 2nd-place finishes, and never finished worse than 12th. He made the Chase as a wildcard driver and looked strong throughout the majority of those ten races, although some bad luck relegated Keselowski to a 5th-place points finish. Still, his second full season in the Sprint Cup series could be viewed as an overall success. The question that arose, however, whether that was a fluke or not. It wasn’t.
Keselowski started the 2012 season off with a rocky start, finishing 32nd in the season-opening Daytona 500. By week four, however, Brad grabbed his first win at Bristol and then won again in May at Talladega. After a pretty rough June month, BK broke through once again and won at Kentucky Speedway, and hasn’t looked back since.
With his runner-up finish at Watkins Glen last weekend, Brad Keselowski has now finished 9th or better in each of the last six Sprint Cup events, scoring a total of 243 points over that span–an average of 40.5 per race. This is, by a pretty decent margin, the most scored among all drivers in the series, with Kasey Kahne coming in second with 232 scored in the last month and a half. Click here to see the top 10 drivers over this span.
Coming into the 2012 season, Brad Keselowski had many doubters. He was placed in the “A Group” for the fantasy racing game ran by Yahoo!, which puts him against the likes of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Tony Stewart. Many people–myself included–proclaimed that we would be lucky to use the Penske Racing driver once this season, if at all. Boy were we wrong, because Keselowski is the real deal. And that begs the question: is he the new “king” of the summer months? He certainly has been in 2011 and 2012 thus far.