Brad Keselowski has been the cream of the crop – the car on top – when it comes to Atlanta Motor Speedway’s most recent NASCAR Cup Series races. He’s won two of the last three and finished second in the other. And after a frustrating near-miss at Phoenix Raceway’s trophy last Sunday, the 2012 series champion arrives at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) primed and ready to celebrate that first victory of 2020.
Results have traditionally met high hopes for the Team Penske driver there.
In 11 starts at the 1.5-mile Atlanta track, Keselowski has earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He’s finished in the top 10 in the last five consecutive races. And he is the defending champion of this weekend’s race.
Last year after winning at Atlanta (which was the second race on the schedule instead of the fifth, as it is now) – Keselowski earned top-3 finishes in three of the next four events. He won his second race of the year at Martinsville Speedway four weeks after celebrating in Atlanta’s Victory Lane.
The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford could use a dose of that good energy now. After a frustrating early exit in the season-opening Daytona 500 – he finished 36th after being collected in an accident – he rallied to seventh-place (Las Vegas) and fifth-place (California) finishes. Last week he pitted from third with only a handful of laps remaining at Phoenix, and returned to salvage an 11th-place finish. He won Stage 2 and his recovery was good enough to move him inside the top 10 in the driver points (10th place) for the first time this season.
He led 82 laps at Phoenix – a mark only bettered by Chase Elliott’s 93 laps out front – and advanced Keselowski from a 30th-place ranking after the Daytona 500 to a season high 10th place heading to Atlanta. He’s 46 points behind the leader Kevin Harvick.
And Keselowski has proven himself to be an absolute favorite at the Georgia track – where he owns two wins. Of his 30 career wins, 13 of them have come on 1.5-mile venues such as Atlanta; the largest win tally among the NASCAR Cup Series style of race tracks.