Reigning champion makes 2013 Cup prediction
November 02, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Pit crew will be the difference, 2012 champion says
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Shortly after celebrating his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season, reigning Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski gave his take on the Sprint Cup title run and predicted that Matt Kenseth would be holding the season trophy three weeks from now in Homestead, Fla.
"I would say Matt because he has the strongest pit crew on pit road," Keselowski said when pressed to make his title pick. "We have seen that track position is attained on pit road and is critical and that will probably win him the Chase. That is my gut."
Of course, Keselowski would rather be in that mix himself, but has missed the 13-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field for the first time in three seasons.
However, he is still making his presence known. Three weeks ago at Charlotte he became the first non-Chase driver to win a Chase race this year. And he is definitely watching the title fight between championship co-leaders Kenseth and five-time champ Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick with vested interest. He just doesn't see it as much of a title fight in the traditional sense of heated rivalry and hard feelings.
Kenseth and Johnson, for example, shared a golf cart at Texas and have repeatedly talked about their respect for one another and off-track friendship.
"In today's sport you can't feud," Keselowski said. "There are two different perspectives and it comes back to who is paying the bills. In this sport right now the business model is sponsors. With that business model you would be a fool to alienate half of the fan base over a rivalry because half the fan base pays your bills and pays your sponsors bills so indirectly they pay your bills.
"You can't really have a rivalry with a popular driver because what happens is their fans nag on your fans and vice versa and get on social media and tell the sponsors how you are a big (jerk) and they won't buy the product and then you don't have a sponsor."