CHICAGO, IL (WFXG) - NASCAR opened its post season Chase this past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway with Brad Keselowski taking the first step in his championship run.
Keselowski had a good car but it took a late race caution and a bold move to gain the lead from Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson with thirty laps to go to secure the victory.
"I just saw a hole and I went for it," said the race winner of his winning move. "The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do. It just opened a hole. I didn't know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't try it."
Larson was trying to win his first career Sprint Cup race but once again fell short. However, the young driver kept his head up and knows that his best days are ahead of him.
"Stinks we got third," explained Larson. "Coming up close as often as I have this year is going to make that first win feel that much more special."
Jeff Gordon also took advantage Keselowski's move to finish in the runner up position and position himself for moving on to the next stage of the Chase.
"Yeah, I'm not going to complain too much with second because I've come out of here before much worse," said Gordon after the race. "This is a great way for us to get going."
As encouraged as Keselowski and Gordon were after the race, the same couldn't be said for the underdog, Aric Almirola who blew an engine while running in the top ten.
"Our Ford Fusion was really fast and it just wasn't meant to be," said Almirola. "The motor let go."
Keselowski knows that an early Chase win is an advantage but, he can't rest on his accomplishments. He has to keep pushing.
"You have to keep developing the car and pushing as a team, whether it's on pit road, the car handling, spec, whatever it might be, or driver tactics," explained Keselowski after the event. "So I want to be thankful for today, but I know there's a long ways to go."
Knowing Keselowski as I do, I'm sure that neither he nor his No. 2 team will be letting up till the final checkered flag falls in Homestead in nine more weeks.