When NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski heads to Phoenix Raceway on Sunday for the final race of the 2020 season, he will do so with the intention of winning the second Cup Series championship of his career. He will also look to conquer a track where he has traditionally been "snake-bitten." Keselowski has never won a Cup race at Phoenix and has finished outside the top five the last three times, but he is ready to break that trend.
Speaking with PopCulture.com and other media members on Thursday, Keselowski touched on his history with the Arizona track and his opportunity to add another trophy to his collection. Keselowski has previously struggled to achieve wins at Phoenix due to circumstances outside of his control, as well as mistakes with the No. 2 team. Despite his struggles, the veteran driver is ready to put himself in a position to win and capitalize on his best opportunity.
"It's one of the tracks on the circuit I have never won at. I had a great shot at winning last spring. We got wrecked early, still managed to recover and lead a bunch of laps, win a stage, and the yellows didn't fall our way towards the end," Keselowski said. "[...] We had an opportunity, I think, to win there in the fall of '18 and I made a small little mistake getting through traffic, and we finished second. We had an opportunity to win there in 2012, and early in the race, that's the year we won the championship a week later, but we had a terrible pit stop and came out towards the middle of the field and didn't have enough time to recover."
"So I feel like I probably had two or three opportunities to win there and have been snake bit," Keselowski continued. "But the reality is overall I feel like if you keep putting yourself in position that eventually it'll happen. I've been in position at Phoenix a number of times. Some of them I've messed up, to be quite honest. I feel like we're due. I feel due to win at Phoenix. Certainly, this year represents one of the best opportunities."
Keselowski will have to perform at his peak potential on Sunday to achieve victory against Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. He will also need his No. 2 Ford Mustang to hold up to the rigors of the long event while keeping him near the front of the pack. Fortunately for Keselowski, the team is bringing the same car that previously won two races during the 2020 season. It should be among the fastest on the track while putting Keselowski in contention for his second championship.
If he does perform well and secures the win or best finish among the playoff drivers, Keselowski will head to Victory Lane for a throwback celebration. He plans on breaking out the same glass that he chugged beer from after winning in 2012. Although Keselowski will have to make some slight changes for 2020.0comments
"My wife has told me that she will prepare the glass as long as I promise to drink responsibly," Keselowski said. "There's a little backstory to it. Those people that know me know that I like to leave things as they were, meaning that we located the glass from 2012. It still had beer in it a little bit on the bottom. Needless to say that was not a pleasant sight, but it was authentic, so my wife is cleaning it as we speak, she's going to wrap it up, put it in a nice bubble wrapped box, and hopefully we'll be getting it out Sunday night."
The NASCAR 2020 Cup Series season comes to an end on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. The Season Finale 500 will start at 3 p.m. ET while NBC provides coverage. Elliott has the pole position while Logano, Keselowski and Hamlin round out the top four, respectively.