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Albert: 2012 series champ back to take-no-prisoners mindset RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota If Brad Keselowski clinches his second title at NASCAR's highest level this season, might his introduction as reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion draw the rarest of receptions? Polite, obligatory applause more befitting for a golf gallery. Or worse, crickets. Worse yet, boos. Two years ago at the finale of Champion's Week ceremonies in Las Vegas, Keselowski struck a gracious note in his speech before an audience of his peers, with the unscripted line "I want to be your leader" becoming the night's defining sound bite. Fast forward to 2014 and it's a much different, take-no-prisoners tone coming from the driver of the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. Keselowski may well hoist the Sprint Cup trophy by season's end, but barring a dramatic, 11th-hour mending of the fences over the next few weeks, the method will be by winning races instead of winning over friends. Still, he has to get there first -- a task made much more difficult when you're potentially perceived in the garage as Jean Girard, Russ Wheeler and Chick Hicks all rolled into one. During his first title run, Keselowski was regarded as an upstart, wielding the same brash, speak-first-and-apologize-later approach that has become especially familiar in recent weeks. As wins became more prevalent, the garage became acquainted with Keselowski's outspoken nature and, to some degree, welcomed it. At the same awards banquet in 2012, Tony Stewart offered his congratulations in prophetic words that ring just as true today: "I don't think Brad has learned to be cautious yet. Hopefully that won't bite him like it has a lot of drivers in the past. But it's refreshing. It's nice to see somebody that just speaks from the heart and isn't guarded when he speaks." Keselowski never lost his knack for candor, but last season, he lost out on the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs and won just once -- a subpar year that he attributed to straying from the aggressive mindset that had worked so well in his championship season. That mindset is back in a big way. Last Sunday's major dust-up at Texas Motor Speedway marked the second incident in the previous four races with Keselowski at the center of the conflict. In the process, he shifted four of the other seven remaining title-eligible drivers in the Chase solidly over to the "enemy" side of his ledger, a list that now includes Jeff Gordon , Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth . Hamlin figures prominently in that group, not only because of their deep-rooted antagonism from years past but their most recent flare-up post-race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month. In a frank, unflinching appearance on NASCAR's weekly teleconference Wednesday, Hamlin flatly admitted that, "it's tough to win a championship if nobody likes you." Keselowski's current focus on the championship race is so single-minded that being well-liked is far down the priority list. He's said he's "comfortable" with upsetting the status quo and rankling the feelings of others if winning is part of the trade-off. While Keselowski has embraced wearing the black hat, Hamlin said he's come to realize the merits of discretion as his career has grown. "If you ask me do you want a championship trophy or do you want the respect of your peers, I will take the respect from my peers because that trophy, they can't put in my casket," Hamlin said. "What's the fun of a NASCAR party that nobody shows up to?" Keselowski isn't running for office, nor is he trying to win a popularity contest. With a majority of the Eliminator 8 field against him and the rest at least neutral, the Chase's delegate from Michigan has faint chance at the ballot box. What Keselowski does have is a loyal teammate in Chase driver Joey Logano , a venerable team owner in Roger Penske that supports his hard-nosed racing, and top-notch equipment. That just might be enough. The jury's still out on whether Keselowski reverses course and makes heartfelt apologies for his rivals' ruffled feathers. Saying "I'm sorry" is a lot easier to stomach when you're sitting at the awards gala's head table, but it's also a lot easier to hear over the sound of crickets. With two races left, expect more chirping of a different sort. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Late caution allows veteran to pass Kyle Busch for victory RELATED: Race results " Series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. - Brad Keselowski took advantage of a late-race caution to edge Kyle Busch for a Nationwide Series victory at Phoenix International Raceway , but Chase Elliott was the day's big winner at Saturday's DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans . Elliott, the 18-year-old son of 1988 Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott , finished fifth to clinch the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, becoming the first rookie to accomplish the feat. The Elliott family joined the Pettys, Pearsons, Jarretts and Earnhardts in becoming families with father-son national touring series champions. Elliott, who won races at Texas, Darlington and Chicagoland this season, did what he needed to, finishing ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith , who entered the race 48 points behind Elliott in the series standings and ran 10th. Elliott said he wasn't sure how to celebrate his series triumph. "I wasn't sure if it was OK to do a burnout lap or not," he said. "But I did one anyway because I was too excited not to. "I never would have even believed this was in my future. At the beginning of this season I had only run a couple of truck races. I feel lot of this is just due to the group of guys I was able to work with. Those guys were bringing me super-fast cars every week." Elliott's NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet did what Busch's Toyota could not do -- survive a green-white-checkered finish after Alex Bowman was slow on the track, bringing out a race-changing caution flag with slightly more than a lap to go. To that point, Busch had been dominant, seemingly on his way to his eighth win in 25 starts this season by leading 187 of the race's 206 laps. But Keselowski had other ideas, swooping to the inside and driving past Busch in Turn 1 of the final lap to prevent Busch from winning his fourth consecutive Nationwide start at Phoenix. "We didn't give up," Keselowski said. "Kyle was really fast – probably a 10th (of a second) or two faster than everybody. Then, that yellow came out and I really don't know what happened. I think we grabbed a gear and he slipped. "It was a little bit surreal. I really didn't even know the race was over. We were low on gas in that whole (end-of-race) situation." Busch was similarly at a loss for words. "The Monster Energy Camry was faster than everyone else – just not at the right time," said Busch, who said he knew he was in trouble when Keselowski's car "cut better than mine in Turns 3 and 4. "I tried to let him go into (Turn) 1 and cut back underneath, but my (car) wouldn't turn," Busch said. "(Right there) his stuff doesn't turn but it still turned better than ours 'cuz he still got me." Neither Keselowski nor Busch are eligible for the series title because they are full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers. For much of the race, Smith appeared primed to put his teammate's title hopes on hold. But Smith struggled after leaving the pits with 29 laps to go after taking left side tires on a yellow-flag pit stop. Elliott leaped from ninth to sixth in the running order and held serve the rest of the way. Busch took fresh tires during that same caution and restarted fifth. The strategy seemed to pay off as he easily got around Keselowski, Elliott Sadler and Bowman, each of whom elected to forego the pits on that final stop. But Keselowski made it happen in the final two laps of his Nationwide Series campaign. "We have a great team," said Keselowski, who did not finish worse than fourth in any of his 10 Nationwide starts this season. "I'm proud to be a part of it. It's been a phenomenal year and I'm going to remember this one for a long time." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
From Kevin Harvick, to Jeff Gordon drivers take turns expressing why they think everyone is so upset with Brad Keselowski on and off the racetrack.
Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and 'Nashville's' Stella Sisters to perform DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2014) -- The slogan is as recognizable as any: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But NASCAR will make an exception on Dec. 5 when it gives audiences a front row seat as Jay Mohr, Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and Lennon and Maisy take the stage at the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ show from the Wynn Las Vegas® live on FOX Sports 1. This year, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will honor 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, as well as celebrate the other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ Challengers. FOX Sports 1 will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET. Mohr will serve as the host for the second consecutive year. The actor, comedian, radio host and best-selling author has one of the most expansive backgrounds in show business. After landing his dream job at "Saturday Night Live" and launching his career in film alongside Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire," Mohr appeared in approximately 200 network television episodes and more than 25 feature films. Additionally, his national radio show, "Jay Mohr Sports," is syndicated in more than 155 markets across the U.S. With a career in entertainment that spans over three decades, Mohr has become an artist who knows no limits, making him the perfect person to help celebrate NASCAR’s most prominent drivers. "This is my fifth time hosting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and I'm honored to share the stage once again with some of the most talented athletes in the world," said Mohr. "This has been an incredibly exciting year for NASCAR and it's not every day that you get to be a part of a defining moment in the history of a sport." Keeping his NASCAR performance streak rolling following his act at NASCAR's season-opening, crown jewel event the 2014 DAYTONA 500® at Daytona International Speedway®, Blacc will kick off the musical entertainment for the night with the soulful selection that has "woken up" audiences around the world. The singer / songwriter collaborated as vocalist and co-writer on well-known DJ/producer Avicci’s 2013 track "Wake Me Up," which topped the charts in more than 100 countries across the globe, before releasing his third album "Lift Your Spirit" in March 2014. The rapper-turned-singer uses his surging popularity to affect social change and to deliver messages of positivity and passion. Later in the evening, the seven-time GRAMMY™ Award winning trio Lady Antebellum will keep the audience rocking with a new song from their fifth album entitled "747." The 11-song disc has already spawned the PLATINUM certified multi-week chart-topping smash hit "Bartender," and its new single "Freestyle" is quickly climbing the charts. The new album follows over 11 million albums sold worldwide, nine trips to No. 1 on the country radio charts, six Platinum singles and "Vocal Group of the Year" honors from both the CMA and ACMs three years in a row. Lady Antebellum just wrapped their headlining "TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR," which hit 80 cities in Canada and the U.S. over the course of the year, and delighted both fans and critics with the "Dallas Morning News" declaring, "Lady Antebellum shows off its warranted leap to superstardom." For more information visit: www.ladyantebellum.com . Additionally, 15-year-old Lennon Stella and her 10-year-old sister Maisy Stella from ABC’s hit drama "Nashville" will perform. The daughters of the recording duo Brad and MaryLynne Stella, Lennon and Maisy's musical roots run deep. In 2013, the sisters had a show-stopping performance of "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers on "Nashville," which quickly entered the top 40 of Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" list. Later that same year, Lennon and Maisy performed at the CMA Awards™ and presented Taylor Swift with her Pinnacle award. They also performed at The White House this year and sang alongside cast members from "Degrassi," Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, The Band Perry, and J.R. Martinez at "We Day Minnesota" last month. This year's talent will join the esteemed list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards show artists from previous years, which include chart-topping singers, such as John Mellencamp, Phillip Phillips, Sara Bareilles, Dierks Bentley and Kid Rock. "The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards present the opportunity to spotlight the biggest names in NASCAR, and we are thrilled to augment that star power with some of the most popular personalities in the entertainment industry," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "This year's line-up is sure to add to what has been one of NASCAR's most climactic racing seasons ever."
In the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Brad Keselowski took home the first race in the Challenger Round at Chicagoland then won at Talladega to survive the Contender Round. Both victories earned a spot in the Top 10 Chase moments.
Logano already in Eliminator Round; Kes wins his way in RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Brad Keselowski 's chances of advancing to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup appeared to take a hit when he was involved in a Lap 59 wreck that brought out the first caution of the day during Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway . But the 2012 Sprint Cup champion serged late on the second of two green-white-checkered finish attempts to win the GEICO 500 and race his way into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski was running with the lead pack when Jamie McMurray suffered a cut left-rear tire that ignited a chain reaction. McMurray got into Keselowski and Michael McDowell , and sent Keselowski's Team Penske teammate Joey Logano spinning into the infield. Keselowski suffered minor damage and took four tires in the ensuing pit stop, and his crew took a long look at his damage. Logano fell a lap back at the time but already advanced to the Eliminator Round after winning at Kansas. He finished the race in 11th place. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Both drivers fined, placed on four-race probation RELATED: Full coverage/timeline of Charlotte incident DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2014) -- NASCAR has assessed behavioral penalties to drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart for their involvement in post-race incidents on Oct. 11 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Keselowski has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12 for violating: • Section 12-1 : Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12-4.9 : Behavioral penalty -- involved in post-race incidents Stewart has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12 for violating: • Section 12-1 : Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12-4.9 : Behavioral penalty -- involved in a post-race incident "These penalties are about maintaining a safe environment following the race," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president, competition and racing development. "We knew that the new Chase format was likely going to raise the intensity level and we want our drivers to continue to be themselves. However, the safety of our drivers, crew members, officials, and workers is paramount and we will react when that safety could be compromised." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Denny Hamlin weighs in on the incident between Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon in this edition of Up To Speed.
Jeff Gordon shares his thoughts on Brad Keselowski's move late in the AAA Texas 500, and Brad Keselowski responds.