By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
TALLADEGA, Alabama – Heading into Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega, both Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch have a trip to victory lane on the brain, but for the two drivers, their motivation to do so couldn’t be further apart.
Keselowski enters the weekend as the winningest active driver on the 2.66-mile track, with five wins to his name. The last of which came the last time the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visited the track last fall. Since getting his first career win at the track back in 2009 in spectacular fashion, Keselowski has taken to the high banks of Talladega like a duck to water and hasn’t looked back.
“I think Talladega has been a good track for us for sure,” said Keselowski. “I come here excited and feeling like we can win and there is a lot to be said for that. It is the kind of confidence you need to have to run well here. Also, we come here with pretty strong cars which always make your job a little bit easier.”
Though skill comes into play at the restrictor plate tracks, Keselowski noted that luck had a lot to do with it as well.
“Maybe I have just been lucky five times,” he added. “I think there is a luck factor to Talladega that will always be there and there is a skill factor that seems to always be a moving target with different tactics and techniques based on the rules, regulations and competitors.
“What it took to win here the first time is certainly not what it will take to win here this weekend. You have to adapt to that and that is a big challenge when you have something you are successful with. I would say that with the way the cars are driving so far this weekend it will take something completely different again to be successful here. I look at it as a fairly open weekend with a lot of unpredictability, even for Talladega standards. With that is an opportunity as well. We are certainly going to have to earn it.”
As for Busch, he has been the hot shoe as of late in the Cup Series, winning the last three outings at Texas, Bristol, and Richmond. Coming into Talladega, Busch will be looking to make it four in a row, besting Kevin Harvick’s three in a row streak from earlier this season.
However, Busch and Talladega haven’t always seen eye to eye, with Busch only scoring one win at the track in his tenure in the Cup Series. Regardless of his feelings toward the race track, Busch noted that he will still give it his all on Sunday to try and add another restrictor plate win to his resume.
“It’s obviously a great opportunity to try to go race for four in a row, but definitely a different circumstance that we’re coming to Talladega,” Busch said. “I’ve kind of heard some of the rumblings through the week about some of the guys that have been on streaks of three in a row or four in a row, whatever they’ve been on, they’ve never gone through a plate race to the best of my knowledge. It makes for a more challenging time to be able to get that fourth in a row, but also we’ll know how much more rewarding it is when we do get it.
“I think that you just have to be ready for anything, I don’t know that there’s much that you can kind of work on or study towards or try to figure out that I’m exactly going to do this and it’s going to reward me with something, I think it’s just so much of an unknown.”