A real knockout

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Mar 01 1583

When Brad Keselowski says the new knockout qualifying format suits his style, he means it.

After winning the pole for Saturday's Blue Jeans Go Green 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Keselowski is 2-for-2 in group time trials that have run to conclusion in the first year of the new format in all three of NASCAR's national series.

On Friday afternoon, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion won the pole for Sunday's The Profit on CNBC 500 in the first knockout session for the Sprint Cup Series, which used the traditional qualifying format for last Sunday's Daytona 500.

"This qualifying format really does suit my style a lot better," Keselowski said after winning the Sprint Cup pole. "It gives me a chance to learn and apply, which to me was instrumental to our success today and hopefully will be in how we go forward.

"It's interesting how a small format change like this can favor or disfavor teams and individuals, and this is one that we've been able to take like a fish to water. Hopefully, we'll continue to do that."

Keselowski won't have crew chief Paul Wolfe at Phoenix on Sunday, however.

"Gonna miss having my crew chief Paul Wolfe this Sunday," the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford posted on his Twitter account. "Best wishes to him and his wife Aleah on the pending birth of their first child."

Wolfe flew back to North Carolina on Saturday via Keselowski's private jet to be with his wife.

Keselowski posted the 20th-fastest lap in final Cup practice Saturday. Kevin Harvick paced both Saturday practices and posted the fastest lap of the day in the morning session—137.757 mph.