Ke­selowski try­ing for elu­sive win

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Sports -

BROOK­LYN, Mich. — Brad Ke­selowski has never won a NAS­CAR Cup Se­ries race at Michi­gan.

For some drivers, that might be no big deal, but Ke­selowski is from Rochester Hills, about 90 miles from Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speed­way.

“A win here would be like win­ning the Day­tona 500 for me,” Ke­selowski said. “A home track means a lot to any race car driver.”

It’s a bit sur­pris­ing that Ke­selowski hasn’t won at Michi­gan, con­sid­er­ing he gets two chances a year at the Cup level. He fin­ished sec­ond in 2012 and has five top-five show­ings in 17 starts. He’ll have an­other chance Sun­day, and af­ter qual­i­fy­ing sec­ond, he has to be con­sid­ered a con­tender.

Ke­selowski was one of six Ford drivers in the top seven in qual­i­fy­ing, in­clud­ing pole win­ner Kurt Busch.

Ke­selowski won the pole at MIS last Au­gust and led 105 laps, but he fin­ished 17th. Ke­selowski has won Xfin­ity races at Michi­gan, but he has no vic­to­ries there at the top level.

“It is your friends and fam­ily and there is a lot of no­to­ri­ety that comes with it. That makes the losses sting more and the wins sweeter,” Ke­selowski said. “The fact we have been so close and not achieved it is very top of mind ev­ery time I come here.”

Ke­selowski is fifth in the Cup stand­ings this year, the top driver with­out a vic­tory. His most re­cent win was at Tal­ladega last sea­son.

“I want to win, I want to win a lot of races. I feel like we have a pretty strong team,” he said. “We have had two or three races where we had the speed to win. That said, we haven’t been able to ex­e­cute on those. We have had a num­ber of races we had the speed to run third to fifth and it seems we have ex­e­cuted very well on those week­ends and didn’t catch any luck to go with it.”

A few more things to watch Sun­day:

AN­OTHER LO­CAL HOPE

Erik Jones of By­ron fin­ished third last Au­gust in only his sec­ond Cup start at Michi­gan.

“Com­ing home to Michi­gan and spend­ing some time at home, and com­ing back to the track that’s so close to my house is nice,” Jones said. “Any first win would be big, es­pe­cially at Michi­gan.”

The 22-year-old Jones is win­less in 53 Cup races. He qual­i­fied eighth for Sun­day.

FOUR STRAIGHT?

Kyle Lar­son has won the last three Cup races at Michi­gan. He qual­i­fied 26th this week, how­ever.

DOM­I­NA­TION

Points leader Kyle Busch has won four of this sea­son’s 14 races, and sec­ond-place Kevin Har­vick has five vic­to­ries. Martin Truex Jr., the de­fend­ing se­ries cham­pion, has won twice.

“I think for us we’re work­ing as hard as we ever have,” Truex said. “Cer­tainly, as hard as we did last year to make sure we can have a shot at do­ing it again, and I think right now we’re in de­cent shape to be able to do it, but things change fast, so you’ve got to keep work­ing and you’ve got to keep your head down and just keep grind­ing it out each week.”

ON THE POLE

Kurt Busch won the pole Fri­day, his sec­ond of the sea­son. He doesn’t have a win this year but is seventh in the stand­ings.

Jerry Mark­land / Getty Images

Brad Ke­selowski drives through the garage area dur­ing prac­tice for the Firekeep­ers Casino 400 at Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speed­way in Brook­lyn, Mich., on Fri­day.

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