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One Chase race is in the books and it’s Brad Keselowski who took the first major step toward winning the 2014 Sprint Cup championship, just like he did in 2012 when he won his only title.

Keselowski automatically qualifies for the next stage regardless of what happens in the next two races.

However, don’t expect him to slow down any this week because New Hampshire’s flat 1-mile layout has been his best type of the season.

That’s hard to believe because he just won his third 1.5-mile race of the season Sunday at Chicago. But believe it because he’s won twice at the four races this season between similar tracks of New Hampshire, Richmond and Phoenix.

He won July 26 in the first New Hampshire race and then followed that up with a win two weeks ago at Richmond’s layout, where he led 383 of 400 laps. He was third at Phoenix in March and fourth at Richmond in April. No one else has those types of credentials. None close.

For this race, he has the current momentum going for him and also two straight wins on the most recent type of track they’re racing on. He’s easily the driver to beat, but it doesn‘t mean he will.

Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix and has a 2006 win at New Hampshire. Joey Logano won at the first Richmond race and won his first career race at New Hampshire in 2009.

Both will be tough, but the baddest of them all might be Jeff Gordon, who chased Keselowski down all those laps at Richmond before settling for second. He was also second at the first Richmond race and fifth at Phoenix.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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