Brad Begins Quest for 2nd Cup Title

The 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs are here, and Brad Keselowski and 15 of his top competitors are looking forward to navigating NASCAR’s new postseason format.

The schedule remains the same: 10 races, split into three rounds of three and one final championship race. After each three-race round, the four drivers with the fewest points are knocked from contention, whittling the field from 16 down to 12, eight and ultimately the Championship 4. The change for 2017: drivers now carry their playoff points, earned in the regular season, through each round until a reset for the finale.

“With this format, one less horseshoe you did last year,” Brad said. “Last year, without being able to keep the Playoff bonus points and so forth throughout the rounds, there was definitely more luck involved without a doubt.”

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driver is in strong standing with 19 playoff points, good for fourth place going into the postseason opener at Chicagoland Speedway. The 2012 Cup Champion, Brad is excited to kick off his quest for a second MENCS title with this weekend’s Tales of the Turtles 400.

“I’m a big believer that success isn’t measured by your ability to do something once, it’s measured by your ability to do something twice,” BK says. “We’ve had great opportunities to win a second championship, but we’ve kind of fallen a little short for a number or reasons, and we have that opportunity again this year, so that’s a great privilege and a great opportunity. Of course, we want to make the most of it and I think it would mean a tremendous amount to me personally to kind of validate the first championship.”

Chicago is as good a track as any for Kes to start that journey. The Rochester Hills, Mich. native boasts six Top 10s, four Top 5s and two wins in just eight starts at the 1.5-mile midwestern tri-oval. His wins came in 2012 and 2014, part of the two most successful seasons of Kes’ career. The 2012 win triumph sparked his Cup title run, while the 2014 victory came as part of a stellar six-win season.

However, despite that past success, Brad is one of the first to admit that he has his work cut out for him. Ford Performance drivers are winless in the last nine races, and Ford hasn’t won a points race on a mile-and-a-half track since BK’s March 5 victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the second race of the season. It just so happens that the 1.5-mile tracks are the backbone of the Playoffs, comprising five (Chicago, Charlotte, Kansas, Texas and Miami) of its 10 races.

“At this moment, there’s really no reason for Toyota not to have all four spots going to Homestead, but all of that, it’s dynamic. You never know what people are gonna show up with at Chicagoland in the first round and Charlotte and so forth in the second round,” Brad said. “And then, of course, getting to the third round, which is a tough one in itself with Martinsville and so forth, it’s tough too. But we’ll see. It’s a dynamic sport.”

We’ll see what the Miller 2 Crew has brewed up for the Playoffs when they roll off for practice at Noon and 2:30 ET on Friday. Qualifying is set for 6:45 p.m. ET and will air on NBCSN.

The Tales of the Turtles 400 will go green shortly after 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and will air on NBCSN.

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