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Head2Head: Is Keselowski among the elite in the Cup Series?

July 02, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Brad Keselowski has won on all different track types this season -- Bristol, Talladega and Kentucky. (Autostock)

With his runaway victory at Kentucky last Saturday night, Brad Keselowski is in great position to make his second consecutive Chase field thanks to a series-leading three victories. In the past two seasons, Keselowski has six victories -- more than Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards.

There is no doubt Keselowski has the talent, but would you consider Keselowski as one of the elites in the series? Should he be mentioned in the same breath as Johnson? Gordon? Stewart? Or does he still have some proving to do? Nick Margiasso and Bill Kimm have their thoughts on the driver of the No. 2 Dodge for Penske Racing. Read what they have to say and then weigh in in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.

Would you consider Brad Keselowski among the top-five drivers in the Cup Series?

YES NO

The Steve Miller Band once sang of a man that was "a grinner, a joker and a sinner." That could have been a fitting description of Brad Keselowski, a man that is also "a driver."

One of the top-five best in the Cup Series, to be exact.

Kes is a character. His wide-eyed smirk, witty Twitter-ing and hard racing are all part of a cool persona that is a modern incarnation of the larger-than-life NASCAR personalities of yore. All that, and he's got the ever-improving resume to back up his meteoric rise on the Cup scene.

It's not often you have both the intangibles and the regular, old tangibles. Just ask Junior or Jimmie. And the right question might not even be is he one of the top five drivers at the moment, it might be is he at THE TOP right now?

He's got the most wins in Cup in 2012, so, technically, the argument could be proven right there. But, make a list of the top drivers on the Cup Series, and you'll be surprised how quickly you'd pencil Kes atop more notable names. Johnson, Harvick, Hamlin, Kenseth, Gordon, Busch -- he's got more wins than any of those names in the past two years and any of the current top-five points leaders.

Honestly, points consistency is the only thing Bad Brad hasn't quite figured out yet. But, let's be honest, boring points maneuvering isn't what makes a truly great, exciting driver. It's about dropping the hammer and going for the win. And Brad Keselowski has plenty of those.

Nick Margiasso, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

I'll be honest; I thought Brad Keselowski was highly overrated when he first cracked the Cup Series with his Talladega victory. And, I will be happy to eat a whole ton of crow now -- Keselowski is the real deal and I was wrong in my early assessment of him.

But let's settle down and hold off on anointing him the next Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart -- the kid has a long way to go.

Yes, he leads the Cup Series with three victories and his six race victories the past two seasons is second only to Tony Stewart with seven. But does that mean he is now one of the top five drivers on the Cup Series track? No way.

Let's get the obvious out of the way -- and I'm sure Keselowski would agree -- he isn't on the same tier as Johnson, Gordon and Stewart and their multiple Cup titles.

I would also rank Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth ahead of Keselowski right now for one reason -- consistency. There's a reason Keselowski and his series-leading three victories are 10th in points: For every victory, there is a finish outside the top 30. His seven top-10s is 12th best in the series and aside from his three victories, he has just two other top-fives.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying -- Keselowski is the real deal and he has earned everything he has. Kes has skills, no question. He is a beast behind the wheel and is a very smart, yet aggressive, driver. But he's not among the top-tier of drivers in the sport -- not yet.

Bill Kimm, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Related: Menzer: Keselowski doing it his way | Kes blitzes Kentucky for third victory

Watch all the highlights from Keselowski's 2012 season:

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