Brad Keselowski didn’t go to victory lane Thursday night at Kansas Speedway and he hasn’t won a race since the end of May.
But after finishing second to Denny Hamlin, the Team Penske driver declared that 2020 is “silently one of the best years of my career.”
With his runner-up finish, Keselowski notched his 14th top-10 finish as the series completed its 19th race. Twelve of those have come in the last 14 races.
His worst finish in that span was 19th at Talladega. The other non-top 10 result was an 11th in the second Pocono race.
The most top 10s Keselowski has earned in a season was 25 in 2015. Last year he had 19.
With his result in Kansas, Keselowski is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all eight races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
Has Keselowski begun sizing up Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, who have a combined nine wins, as likely championship competitors?
“It’s always so hard to say. You look at the way the playoffs are, a lot of wild card races in there with the Roval. Roval is in there, Bristol is in there,” Keselowski said. “I sure would be glad if we were one of them, I can tell you that. … I’m very, very happy. Hopeful we can get up another notch so we can dominate and showcase ourselves as the Ford to beat.”
With two wins already, Keselowski sees the remaining seven races in the regular season as “lower pressure” for the No. 2 team.
“I mean, you got two races that are fun but really don’t mean anything at Daytona with the road course and the plate race,” Keselowski said. “You got two races at Michigan, which are a big deal to me because I’m from Michigan. Total honesty, they don’t mean much to the playoffs.
“I think you look at the stretch of races right here, they’re mostly just kind of fun races. There’s somewhat lower pressure, chance to kind of work on yourself and the team. There’s not a lot that’s going to carry over to the playoffs.”
Off track, the 2012 Cup champion is still figuring out what he’ll be doing in 2021. His contract with Team Penske expires after this season.
“It’s a work in progress,” Keselowski said. “The good thing is there’s progress. But nothing is done until it’s done, so … I feel very hopeful.”
It helps when you’re having one of the best seasons of your career.