(AP Photo/Paul J. Bergstrom)
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) Stop Brad Keselowski if you've heard this one before.
"I guess you couldn't ask for a better way to start the Chase," he said after winning NASCAR's playoff series opener. "Today was about as much of a statement as you can make."
That's because his win at Chicagoland Speedway not only guarantees Keselowski, the top seed in the 16-driver field, a spot in the second round; it also traces the route he took to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in 2012. Now a series-leading five-time winner this season, he can race for fun the next two weeks as he awaits the Chase reset following the Sept. 28 race at Dover - when the field will be cut to 12 drivers.