Brad Keselowski is NASCAR's version of a mutual fund disclaimer: His past performance is not indicative of his future results.
In Keselowski's case, we mean that in the best way possible. The Penske Racing driver continues to shake off his own history at tracks where he once struggled, replacing lackluster finishes with surprisingly strong ones.
Perhaps it's about time we stop being surprised.
Keselowski finished fifth in Sunday's NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway, posting not only his first career top-five finish at the 1-mile desert oval, but his first top-10. In fact, it was just the second top-15 for Keselowski in six career Phoenix races.
"That just shows the effort that we're all putting into it, whether it's me behind the wheel or the whole team building these cars and going over the wall," he said. "If we keep putting that effort in, we'll find ourselves in Victory Lane. ... It's definitely my best here at Phoenix."
Keselowski was a fixture among the lead cars for the second half of Sunday's race, and his day was notable for some hard racing with Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson eventually won the battle for position, but Keselowski did just about everything he could to keep the No. 48 car behind him.
It didn't please Johnson, who at one point said on his radio, "He's DAMN lucky I'm a nice guy" – apparently referring to Keselowski.
"I mean we're just all fighting hard," Keselowski said afterward. "The last run of the race, every position counts. You're not going to get another shot at it. I was in a dogfight and I fought hard. I wish I could have held him off, but it wasn't meant to be."
Keselowski was grateful to finish fifth despite some sort of fuel pickup problem at the end of the race. He said he wasn't sure what exactly happened, but it felt like he was running out of gas with a few laps to go.
His car still finished the race with fuel in the tank, though, meaning the outspoken electronic fuel injection critic could likely add something else to the list of things he dislikes about NASCAR's new technology.
The strong Phoenix finish helped wipe away a disappointing Daytona 500 result (Keselowski was caught in a crash) and move the Penske Racing driver up 17 spots to 12th in the point standings.
And up next? Las Vegas, where Keselowski's best finish is 26th in three career Cup races.
"Vegas hasn't been very good to me, but before today neither had Phoenix," he said. "We'll just take it one race at a time and hopefully, we can have a strong run like we did here today. There's not really one thing I'm looking forward to. Maybe the casino."