Power Rankings: Rising Keselowski expects a lot and delivers

by | CBSSports.com NASCAR Blogger

Brad Keselowski says he aims to be better every day than he was the day before. (US Presswire)  
Brad Keselowski says he aims to be better every day than he was the day before. (US Presswire)  

Brad Keselowski might be NASCAR's version of Miss Cleo or "The Amazing Kreskin."

The Penske Racing driver says he knew about the move to make in order to win the Aaron's 499 before he even sat down in his racecar Sunday afternoon.

"I had this whole plan that if I ever got into that situation where I was leading," Keselowski said. "I thought about it and thought about it and dreamed about what to do. Sure enough, going into [turn] three, it was Kyle [Busch] and me. I knew the move that I wanted to pull, and it worked."

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And with that Keselowski had his second win of the season and pretty much assured himself a spot in the Chase as at least a wild card.

But the Penske Racing driver isn't taking much time to reflect on the accomplishments of the weekend or the continued upward trend he's been on since late last season.

The way he's sees it, this is what is supposed to be happening.

"Hell, it's my job to be good," Keselowski said. "That's what I get paid for. I don't get paid to suck at this. If I did, I'm not driving for the right guy. This guy has won all these races over here. We're trying real hard to get that first Cup championship. We're doing the right things."

While some people might find Keselowski's comments as brash, his boss Roger Penske is not one of them.

Penske likes what he's seeing from his young driver and believes it's only the beginning of a successful relationship between the two.

"He's come in with an attitude of a winner," said Penske. "Probably the greatest attribute he has is being a team player. It's not about Brad, it's about what's going on with the team. He says it every day.

"He's been a tremendous asset to the team, not just for Brad Keselowski, for Penske Racing. You can see when he comes in the shop, he's spending a lot of time. I wouldn't trade him for anybody right now."

Keselowski doesn't plan on changing Penske's mind anytime soon. He's on a mission to not only succeed, but also improve and doesn't need any kind of a crystal ball to predict his approach going forward.

"One of my codes, it's probably my strongest code, is to be better today than I was yesterday, and to be even better tomorrow than I was today," said Keselowski. "We've shown that we're better here at this point in the year than we were last year, at this point in the year, and we were better last year at this point in the year than we were the year before. You know, that's my code. I'm surrounded by the proper people to execute it."

1Brad Keselowski2
Took over the Chase lead by 20 points thanks to a sixth place finish and Jimmie Johnson?s misfortune. This is now the Penske Racing driver?s championship to lose.
2Jimmie Johnson1
Saw his seven point lead evaporate thanks to a cut tire and trip into the wall on Sunday. Johnson now must hope a similar such fate happens to Keselowski next week at Homestead to have any shot at a sixth title.
3Kyle Busch4
Nearly ran the table in Phoenix by leading all practices and taking the pole had he been able to win the race. But a poor decision on lane choice for a late restart cost Busch a shot at Victory Lane.
4Kasey Kahne5
Ending the year on a positive note but wasn?t able to match his Phoenix victory of last November. Still a solid day with a fourth place performance.
5Clint Bowyer3
Was the victim of Jeff Gordon?s revenge that completely eliminated Bowyer from championship contention. He wasn?t an angel in the turn of events but Bowyer definitely got the worst of the situation.
6Denny Hamlin8
Hamlin?s second place finish in Phoenix a welcome rebound from two weeks of disappointment for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. He?ll be a factor for a win next Sunday in Homestead.
7Kevin Harvick12
Snapped a 44-race winless drought with Sunday?s win ironically coming on the weekend when reports of his evacuation from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 broke out.
8Greg Biffle6
A decent day for ?The Biff? in Phoenix, who was able to dodge all the last lap craziness to bring home his Roush Fenway Racing Ford seventh.
9Joey Logano13
Minding his own business until getting swept up in the Gordon-Bowyer fight. Logano was on his way to a nice effort to follow up his ninth Nationwide Series win on Saturday.
10Ryan Newman14
Rough way to earn a fifth place finish as Newman was one of the unfortunate souls to get caught in the last lap crash on the main straightaway.
11Tony Stewart9
Not a god day at all for Smoke who spun late after making contact racing for position. A 19th place finish for Stewart.
12Matt Kenseth11
Will make the final Sprint Cup start of his career for Roush Fenway Racing next week at Homestead on the heels of a 14th place effort in Phoenix.
13Martin Truex Jr.10
His race was over nearly before it started with a blown engine. After a stellar regular season Truex Jr. has suffered mightily throughout the Chase.
14Carl Edwards15
An 11th place finish for Edwards as he brings to a close one of the most disappointing seasons in his career.

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