|Keselowski not backing down, going right at Johnson (Getty)|
Brad Keselowski may have fallen from the points lead last week at Martinsville, but by no means is he throwing in the towel. During Saturday’s early practice session at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s AAA 500, Keselowski not only had the fastest lap of the session at 186.929 mph, but he also had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average. He followed that impressive run by also being fastest on single lap runs during happy hour.
Jimmie Johnson, who holds a slim two-point edge over Keselowski in the Chase and will start from the pole Sunday, had the second fastest time in Saturday’s early session. Johnson last won at Texas in 2007 and has a career average finish of 9.7, which is slightly better than anything Keselowski has done at Texas, and that‘s being kind.
Keselowski has only had eight starts on the 1.5-mile high banked speedway, but his best finish has been 14th and he finished 36th in the most recent race held in April. His average finish at Texas is 25.3. But on the positive note, he never had a car that was as fast as this one during practice. He also has never been in this position, so close to a Championship. Based on the way he and his crew came out this weekend, we can probably throw everything he’s ever done at Texas out the window.
The car Keselowski is using this week was brand new prior to the Chase and finished sixth at New Hampshire, the second race of the Chase. This will be it’s second run of it’s career.
Johnson didn’t run 10-consecutive laps in Saturday’s early session, but he did during happy hour and was second best behind Matt Kenseth. There was a thought process that Johnson may not go as hard for the win here as he played it safe knowing that this isn't Keselowski's best track, but that theory can also be thrown out the window based on what Keselowski did in practice.
Keselowski kind of threw down the challenge Saturday during practice with a statement through the time clocks that this thing is far from over.
Based on the chassis Johnson’s using this week, and what he did in practice, we know he can make a run for the win Sunday. This will be the car’s sixth start of the season that includes a win in the All-Star race, and third-place finishes at Kansas in April and Charlotte three weeks ago. The success at Charlotte is a great sign for Johnson because of how similar the two sister tracks are.
Johnson is listed at 5-to-1 to win by the LVH Super Book with Keselowski at 8-to-1.
While Keselowski and Johnson slug it out for the points leads, we think there are a couple of other drivers that could possibly steal the win away from them Sunday.
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