MENCS Opinions

Handy: Brad Keselowski is the Best Active Driver on Plate Tracks


Heading into Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway, Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski is sure to be a favorite to find victory lane.

That brings myself to ask, is Brad Keselowski the best current driver when it comes to NASCAR racing at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega?

My own answer is, yes and here is my reasoning as to why I believe this to be true.

In 36 career races on restrictor plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) he has six wins, five of which have come at Talladega, 10 top-five’s, 15 top-10 finishes and has a 92.64 percentage rating of laps completed.

Finishing races on a plate track can be challenging, with the race cars so close together, and high speeds it can only take mere seconds for ‘the big one’ to occur.

Keselowski has only two Cup Series races at the famed 2.66-mile track to this point in his career where he isn’t listed as running. An engine issue in the fall 2016 race left him with a 38th place finish.

One must travel all the way back to April of 2010 to see his status listed as being involved in an accident which left him with a 34th place finish.

Keselowski has won three out of the last seven plate races run, and while he may have had a disappointing 32nd place finish at Daytona to start the season he has had recent success at Talladega.

The No. 2 Ford found victory lane last fall at this same track and Keselowski had a 7th place finish in the spring race earlier in the year.

Keselowski currently leads all active drivers with five MENCS wins at the track and is only one behind both Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon who have six wins each.

I know anything can happen at a track like Talladega, but no one has been more successful at the plate tracks over the past few years than Keselowski. He has completely dominated the field when it comes to these types of tracks and the Ford camp has had unbelievable speed right out of the gate this season.

The only driver that has come close to even being on my radar as far as being in close competition with Keselowski would be Roush-Fenway Racing’s driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stenhouse has also proven he is good at the plate tracks. He is the defending winner from last spring when he captured his first MENCS career win and then went on to win the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July.

Even with his success last season, in my opinion, Stenhouse Jr has a long way to go to overtake Keselowski as the best current plate racer in the sport.

If his statistics and recent success at Talladega have anything to do with it, I think we will once again still the No. 2 Penske Ford in victory lane on Sunday. A win would also clinch Keselowski’s spot in the playoffs later this season.

What do you all think, is Brad Keselowski the best active driver when it comes to the series racing at the restrictor plate tracks? If not, who do you think is the best, and why? Let us at Rubbings Racing know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin

    May 16, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    So much is said about plate races, but restrictor plate races are just 4 of 36 races. All they need is decent finishes at these two tracks. Where drivers have to be tops is at the cookie cutters, the 1.5 mile tracks.

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