King Carl?

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 13: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Arris Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3rd Annual Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Arris Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3rd Annual Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 13: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Arris Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3rd Annual Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Two years ago, Brad Keselowski gave himself a B+ in assessing his capabilities as a driver.

After a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-best six victories last season, Keselowski apparently has gotten closer to the head of the class.

“I feel like I’m a top-three driver in the Sprint Cup Series,” Keselowski said on Thursday during a question-and-answer session with reporters at Daytona International Speedway.

Asked which two other drivers he would put in the top three, Keselowski had a surprising answer.

“I personally think just from watching, and I am not afraid to say it, that Carl Edwards is the best driver in Sprint Cup,” Keselowski said. “That is my personal opinion. It doesn’t make it law or fact, but I think to go with that you could probably place an argument for (reigning champion) Kevin (Harvick) as the second best. It is a bit subjective.”

In part, Keselowski based his opinion of Edwards’ ability to get the most out of a car that might not be handling to his liking.

“I have seen what Carl has done in cars that didn’t have the speed,” Keselowski said. “He has a very diverse skill set. He has been able to win at tracks like Sonoma and has won at every type of track, and I feel like he does the best job of any driver I have seen out there at taking a car that is not fast and finding speed out of it.

“I think when the times have come that he has had dominant cars, he has showed dominant performances which is what you have to do. He has kind of shown, to me, the skill set at every level to be a top driver.”

That’s high praise from a driver who once was Edwards’ bitter rival. But Keselowski never says anything without considering his words carefully, so was there a hidden agenda in his comments?

For now, only Keselowski knows.

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.