A real knockout

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 01: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 01:  Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
AVONDALE, AZ – MARCH 01: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

AVONDALE, Ariz.—When Brad Keselowski says the new knockout qualifying format suits his style, he means it.

After winning the pole for Saturday’s Blue Jeans Go Green 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Keselowski is 2-for-2 in group time trials that have run to conclusion in the first year of the new format in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

On Friday afternoon, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion won the pole for Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 in the first knockout session for the Sprint Cup Series, which used the traditional qualifying format for last Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“This qualifying format really does suit my style a lot better,” Keselowski said after winning the Sprint Cup pole. “It gives me a chance to learn and apply, which to me was instrumental to our success today and hopefully will be in how we go forward.

“It’s interesting how a small format change like this can favor or disfavor teams and individuals, and this is one that we’ve been able to take like a fish to water. Hopefully, we’ll continue to do that.”

Keselowski won’t have crew chief Paul Wolfe at Phoenix on Sunday, however.

“Gonna miss having my crew chief Paul Wolfe this Sunday,” the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford posted on his Twitter account. “Best wishes to him and his wife Aleah on the pending birth of their first child.”

Wolfe flew back to North Carolina on Saturday via Keselowski’s private jet to be with his wife.

Keselowski posted the 20th-fastest lap in final Cup practice Saturday. Kevin Harvick paced both Saturday practices and posted the fastest lap of the day in the morning session—137.757 mph.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.