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With Michigan looming, Keselowski moves on

June 10, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Driver says he's learned from late-race mishap at Pocono

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Brad Keselowski isn't beating himself up in the aftermath of Sunday's runner-up finish at Pocono.

What's done is done. His focus, just like the series, moves on to Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The ill-fated attempt to remove trash from the grille of his car, the sight of the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing by and into the lead linger, but not for long.

"I'm not going to say that I got over it right away," the Team Penske driver said Tuesday during a national teleconference, "because that's not the case. But for me knowledge is power, and getting over something like that is knowing what I could have done better or should have done differently, researching those things and finding the answer …  I think that's where I find the ability to move on."

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The opportunity for a second victory -- he won earlier this season at Las Vegas -- was missed, but Keselowski, 30, says he likes what he sees when he looks at his No. 2 team. Particularly those efforts and results of late.

"I think we're two small steps away from, in my eyes, being a favorite," Keselowski said. "We need to be a little bit more consistent on pit road."

Changes in the group that go over the wall to service his Ford each week have been made twice, he said, once heading into the season and again within the past few weeks. The first was a major overhaul; the latest more of a tweaking.

"We don't feel like we're where we need to be," he said. "We're not consistent enough and performing at the level we need to, and we're committed to getting that better."

And while there have been no durability issues with the Roush Yates engines, "it appears pretty obvious to everyone right now that the Hendrick side is a bit above everyone else from a power level. We need to make a step to catch up with them," he said.

"I think if we can cross those two hurdles, I quite honestly feel like we can be the team to win it all this year."

The runner-up at Pocono was the second consecutive second-place finish for Keselowski. Fifth in points, he was second to Jimmie Johnson a week earlier at Dover.

Michigan, as close to a hometown track as there is for the Rochester Hills native, presents a unique opportunity for the 2012 Cup champion. In nine career Cup starts, he's yet to win on the wide, fast 2-mile layout. A victory there would mean much.

In 2009, he won a NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Michigan, the weight of the accomplishment surprising even himself.

"You know, it's one of the few moments I've had in my career where after I won a race I just had to sit down and be by myself just to kind of soak it all in," he said. "I remember that after I won … just literally locking myself in the bedroom of my motor home after the race and sitting at the edge of the bed and thinking about how awesome that was and what it meant to me and all those things, and that was a Nationwide race, that wasn't a Cup race.

"I can only imagine what it would mean to me at the Cup level. I can tell you it wouldn't be like any other win."

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