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article imageNASCAR: Keselowski feels 'in a better place' after latest win

By John Duarte     Jul 14, 2014 in Sports
Loudon - Brad Keselowski won for the first time in his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and it couldn't have come at a better time. It was Keselowski's third win of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, qualifying him for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
This put Keselowski in a good frame of mind at the Sprint Cup season winds down and he tries to forget 2013. Riding high as 2012 Sprint Cup champion, Keselowski had a miserable 2013 season when he even failed to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The driver admits it was a frustrating year, one he doesn't quite understand. He is just happy with the turnaround.
“It really feels like we have hit out stride,” he said. “We were fast last year at this time, but we weren't executing. This year, we're executing and we have a lot of momentum. I don't want this moment to go away so quick. Last year's struggles put me in a spot to work harder and become a better race car driver. I'm probably in a better place personally than I've been.”
He added that it's easy to get caught up in the moment, but he has learn from what happened in the past and remain focused on what is still left to do.
“I don't think we've had this much speed before. (But) We have a lot of potential still left,” Keselowski said. “Everybody is going to turn it up a notch when the Chase comes. You've got to have a good horse and we had that today. (But) We know we have to have another gear to grab to be able to run for the championship. I think we're close, but I want to keep pushing.”
Keselowski was in control most of the race, especially during the latter part when he led for 138 of the final 232 laps. He was comfortably closing out the Camping World RV Sales 301, sitting in front of the field with a cushion of almost three seconds and four laps remaining. But the race's seventh caution flag changed all that by setting up a green-white-checker finish and an all-out sprint for the finish line.
Kyle Busch finished second in the race and Kyle Larson was third. It's been a frustrating year for Busch. Last season, at this time, it appeared he was challenging for the win in every race. This year, he has struggled with performance.
“We haven't been (the) dominant forces that we were last year,” Busch said. “We just haven't quite seen that this year.”
This latest win by Keselowski moves him into third place in the Sprint-Cup standings, 36 points behind leader Jeff Gordon and 24 behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. The win, Keselowski's third of the season, also vaults him to the top of the Chase grid.
Keselowski and Earnhardt, who finished 10th on Sunday, became the first two drivers to lock up Chase spots. Earnhardt said he is proud of the achievement of the team, but that doesn't mean he is going to relax in the seven races prior to the beginning of the hunt for the championship.
“That's the hardest I've worked for a 10th-place finish. (It was) a real frustrating weekend to be honest,” he said. “We were off all weekend. Hopefully, we can improve before we come back here.”
The Sprint Cup Series now has a week break in the schedule as NASCAR nation heads for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard goes on July 27, 2014.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, Brad Keselowski, new hampshire motor speedway, chase for the Sprint cup
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