By Patrick Rall
Brad Keselowski and his #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger stock
car sit in the top spot in the 2012 Chase for the Cup – 20 points ahead of
second place Jimmie Johnson and in a very good position to give Dodge-faithful
NASCAR fans their first championship since in 37 years. Not since Richard ‘The King’ Petty took the
1975 NASCAR title in his #43 Dodge Charger has a Chrysler Group product claimed
the championship and we have to go back to 2004 to find a year when a Chevrolet
driver failed to claim NASCAR’s biggest trophy.
Brad Keselowski came into Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 in Phoenix
trailing Jimmie Johnson by just 7 points with two races left. Keselowski managed to avoid “the big one”
this past weekend as the cars took the white flag and he finished in the 6th
spot. Luckily for Keselowski and Penske
Racing, Jimmie Johnson finishing a painful 32nd after blowing a tire
and hitting the wall earlier in the race.
The result of these two factors placed Brad Keselowski 20 points ahead
of Johnson and the #48 team.
This means that if Brad Keselowski can finish at least 15th
in this weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Jimmie Johnson cannot
overtake BK even if Johnson wins the race and leads the most laps. Should Keselowski lead at least one lap, he
can finish 16th and still clinch the title and if should somehow
lead the most laps and not win the race – he can finished 17th and
still win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Every other driver in the series is mathematically
eliminated from the running so Sunday’s Ford-sponsored race will come down to a
good ol’ championship shootout between a Dodge and a Chevy. It will be interesting to see whether
Keselowski runs hard and battles for the win at Homestead or if he will be more
conservative – making sure to last to the end of the race in a top 15
spot. Johnson, on the other hand, has to
win the race and needs BK to finish worse than 18th to guarantee a
In short, there is a very good chance that Brad Keselowski
and his #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger could claim the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Championship. Keselowski has been one of
the top dogs all season so the likelihood of BK hoisting the championship
trophy should not come as a huge surprise.
Unfortunately, this championship effectively comes a year too late as
the Chrysler Group announced earlier this year that they were pulling their
factory backing out of the NASCAR ranks following the 2012 season following an announcement
by Penske Racing that they would be moving over to Ford for the 2013 season.
However, regardless of the fact that those NASCAR fans who
still root for a Dodge racer are about to watch Dodge compete for the final
time – a championship would certainly make for a fitting farewell for the
Chrysler Group as they depart the popular racing series for the second time. It will suck to know that after next Sunday,
there may never be another Dodge in NASCAR but there is no question that a
championship is the best way to say goodbye.