Sunday, August 12, 2012

Drivers to Watch: Greg Biffle versus Brad Keselowski

The Chase season starts in five short weeks and competitors are driving hard for wins – at this point, it’s anyone’s game. All of these drivers are contenders and counting anyone out is premature. We saw Tony Stewart win five out of ten races last fall, so the chance to see something more or less impressive is realistic.

In this weeks segment of “Drivers to Watch” articles we have been posting, I asked my fellow writers to weigh in with their thoughts on drivers as I compared the top contenders. Charlotte Bray and I talk about Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski for the fifth article in the series.

Greg Biffle - 3rd in points, 2 poles, 1 win, 9 top five, 12 top 10s
Brad Keselowski - 7th in points, 0 poles, 3 wins, 7 top fives, 11 top 10s

Greg Biffle, Jack Roush
Darlington, SC May 2012
Photo Credit: Genevieve
Greg Biffle has raced in all three NASCAR series and has championships in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, but he's yet to win his first Sprint Cup Championship. His season started out strong; he's been in the top five in points since the Great American Race in February. In his Cup career, the closest he's ever come to winning the championship was second place in 2005 and third in 2008. Last season he finished a lackluster 16th in points, never getting higher than 11th.

In 2012, he's earned 12 top tens in 21 races and has given his crew chief Matt Puccia all of the credit. I wouldn't count him out of contention, but I do question whether or not he'll be able to keep the positive momentum going. I consider him to be a threat because he's been around long enough to have a few tricks up his sleeve and this could be the year he comes out on top, but I'm not totally convinced. I do think it would be awesome to see him win the Championship because he would be the first NASCAR driver to have a title in all three series.

Brad Keselowski is a young, vibrant young man with a lot of talent. He's come a long way since his days at JR Motorsports, having gone from crashing all the time to winning a Nationwide Championship for Penske Racing in 2010. In his first full Sprint Cup season, he finished 25th in points, and his second season, he improved to fifth in points. He already has three wins under his belt this year and a fourth win could happen at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keselowski's talent is hard to miss, he is a championship contender and I see him earning the title - it could even be this year.

Charlotte, what do you think?

Brad Keselowski at Darlington, SC May 2012
Photo Credit: Genevieve
If I had to choose between the two I would go with Keselowski. It seems that Biffle is falling behind and that something seems to missing lately in the Roush Camp. Biffle is a great driver by most standards, but he needs the car to have a near-perfect set up in order to compete for the win. With Biffle it's either all or nothing and his inability to turn a bad day into an okay day could hurt his chances.

Keselowski, on the other hand, tends to push the limits, getting every possible ounce of power and fuel out of his cars. He can take a 15th place car, and using pit stops and sheer determination, turn it into a top-five finish. He has consistency and his team makes fewer mistakes than Biffle's.

I agree that as a veteran of the sport Biffle has something to prove, I just don't think it will be this year. Keselowski has that spark in his eyes that says "I am going to prove I can win it all" and that's why he's my pick of the two.


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