- Associated Press - Sunday, August 28, 2011

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Brad Keselowski was a long shot, at best, to race for the NASCAR championship this season.

Then he turned it up a notch and became a legitimate contender to make the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

Now, he’s the hottest driver in NASCAR and is forcing everyone to consider him a serious threat to unseat five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson.

Keselowski picked up his third win of the season Saturday - second since breaking his ankle in an Aug. 3 crash - and took a huge step toward making the Chase by taking the checkered flag in the Irwin Tools Night Race


It’s an amazing turnaround for Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Racing team.

He was ranked 21st in points four races ago, when his struggling team went to a test session to work on road course improvement. But Keselowski was in a nasty accident during that session that left him with a broken ankle.

It’s hardly slowed him.

Since the accident, Keselowski won at Pocono, finished second at Watkins Glen, third at Michigan and now has the Bristol victory.