Keselowski hoping for repeat victory at Pocono

Associated Press Published: August 4, 2012
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LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Brad Keselowski won last August at Pocono driving 500 miles on a broken left ankle.

Well, Sunday's race is only 400 miles and his ankle is feeling pretty good these days.

Imagine what he can do here when healthy.

Keselowski's victory placed him in prime position to claim one of two wild-card spots available for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He won't need that help this season. He's in ninth place but three victories this year already guarantee him a spot in the field.

"The only thing I really am concerned about now is winning a race and winning another race and then another," he said Saturday. "That's what drives me before the race starts."

Keselowski lost his brakes during a test session and crashed head-on into a wall at Road Atlanta days before coming to Pocono. His broken left ankle ballooned to the size of a softball, and he needed a left shoe a size larger than his right one. He slapped a brace on his ankle then sped off on the final restart late in the race to take the checkered flag.

He has another obstacle in the No. 2 Dodge, this time a poor 31st qualifying run on Saturday.

"I'm glad to be back at Pocono for obvious reasons, so it's nice to return to a track where you've had success," he said. "(We) just have to stay patient and find our way up to the front toward the end when it counts."

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PHILLY FAN: Denny Hamlin has become Philadelphia's two-sport star.

Hamlin was invited last season by coach Doug Collins to address the Philadelphia 76ers during their playoff run and played a game of HORSE with guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.

Hamlin recently stopped by Philadelphia Eagles training camp and played catch with quarterback Michael Vick. Forget racing for the Sprint Cup championship. There were almost more nerves trying to catch a simple pass than there are gearing up to drive 400 miles at Pocono.

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson hollered "Don't miss it!" as Vick had Hamlin go deep.

"It was pretty cool," Hamlin said. "I tried kicking a field goal and I thought that 30 yards would be simply a chip shot and we had to move way in and I still didn't make it. I found something that I'm pretty bad at."

Hamlin said Vick is an athlete he's always admired.

Maybe next year Hamlin can try and sneak a wrist shot past Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov or take some cuts off Phillies ace Cole Hamels.

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SLOW DOWN: Too bad for the Pocono coffers that speeding tickets weren't actually written for drivers busted for speeding entering or exiting pit road in the June race. There were a whopping 22 violations, which had some drivers insisting there had to be a malfunction in the timing loops that track speed.

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