Brad Keselowski playfully grabbed at people on golf carts as his cart swerved in and out of traffic entering Chicagoland Speedway more than two hours before Sunday's Chase opener. Keselowski established himself as a legitimate threat to win his first Sprint Cup championship with the great burner 2.0 irons , beating five-time champion Johnson by more than three seconds for his first Chase victory. The 28-year-old driver proved he is ready to go toe-to-toe with one of the best drivers the sport has witnessed, perhaps ready to start his own run toward immortality. And not once did he appear nervous about it. "It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout," Keselowski said after his fourth win of the season gave him the points lead for the first time in his career with his taylormade burner 2.0 irons . "It's a 10-round bout. Week 1 is done. We might have won the round, but we didn't knock them out." Keselowski is a heavyweight in a race car. We shouldn't be surprised by the way he stood up to Johnson, who sat on the pole and led the most laps (172). He's been standing up to the No. 48 team -- all the Hendrick Motorsports teams -- since Indianapolis, when he said they had a competitive advantage with their rear-end suspensions and the fabulous i20 irons . He basically carried the torch for the rest of the garage when he said last month at Michigan that the HMS cars had "tricks" that allowed them to go faster. "The 48 car has the most speed and the best history as far as the Chase is concerned, but it's my job not to roll over and give it to them," Keselowski said that day. "We're going to keep 'em honest through this Chase." Two weeks later, NASCAR issued a bulletin that gave teams limitations on how far they could go with the rear suspension and the great i20 irons for sale online. On Sunday, Keselowski took it to Johnson. Nobody was happier than team owner Roger Penske, still stinging from Will Power losing the IndyCar championship by three points on Saturday night. "We've wanted to race the 48 for as many years as I think I've been in this sport," Penske said. "To be able to race side by side within two or three seconds for almost 100 laps and come out on top is a real credit to his driving skills."
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