Brad Keselowski believes his early Chase lead exceeds his own expectations for the playoffs but admits it's too early in the title battle to get complacent.
The Penske driver currently holds a five-point lead in the championship over Hendrick Motorsports' Jimmie Johnson following his second win in three Chase events thus far, also his fifth victory of 2012.
This season he entered the Chase on a strong run, scoring more points than any of his rivals in the ten-week stretch before Chicagoland, but he has improved his finishing average even further during the last three races, a performance that exceeds what he anticipated for the start of the playoffs.
"I don't know that we had any expectations going into the Chase, other than we would be strong and we have been," said Keselowski. "To what level? I wouldn't say enough to be leading the points but we did catch a little bit of a break with the fuel thing there at Dover but we would've been fourth or fifth either way so I don't feel too bad about that.
"There's still so much racing left and I'm proud of my team for the execution they've had the last twelve, thirteen races. It's been a couple solid months but we've got to keep it up. There's still a lot of racing left."
Dover confirmed his superiority in fuel mileage relative to other Chase contenders but he too was able to bounce back from a long pit stop that almost put him a lap down on the leaders at one point, before a caution allowed him to get back in contention. Keselowski believes his team is in its current position thanks to a sound performance on every area, which is what he believes it takes to contend for a title these days.
"I think it's a solid team," said Keselowski about his group. "There isn't one silver bullet. It's everything. The car has been good, execution on pit road has been strong, knock-on-wood we haven't had any failures, which is a credit to the staff at Penske Racing from a reliability standpoint. And with the exception of Bristol I haven't driven in the wall.
"That's what it takes in the sport now to be successful, that combination. And having one of those things is not enough. You have to have them all. Missing one of those pieces will keep you from having a solid day. Right now as a team we've had it all and if we can keep that up we'll be in great position."
He added: "There's really not a track coming up that I don't feel we have a chance of winning at. There really isn't. I feel like every race from here on now we could win."
Keselowski announced Tuesday that he will scale back on his Nationwide Series commitments during the next seven weeks in order to focus more on his run at the Sprint Cup title.