Brad Keselowski is your 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion!
Tonight, however, Brad Keselowski won his first.
The race itself wasn't a nail biter. Kyle Busch definitely had the car to beat, with only Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne seeming to have anything to challenge him with. Kyle led the most laps.
There were debris cautions and pit strategy definitely played a part. Brad didn't pit when he should have and suddenly they were in trouble. Live points on the TV screen showed first Keselowski leading, then Johnson, then Keselowski again, then Johnson.
Then came the last 100 laps of the race. Jimmie Johnson pitted and they missed a lug nut on that pit stop and had to return to pit road. It put them a lap down, and it seemed Brad once again had a chance. After the pit stop to correct that, Jimmie suddenly had smoke in his cockpit. The smoke got worse and JJ headed to pit road, and very quickly behind the wall to the garage.
The 48 was done.
As the race played out, Brad knew he was poised to win his first Championship, but didn't want to win it that way. Kyle and Martin had to pit for fuel and Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson's teammate and owner, took over the race lead. Only a few seconds behind him was the 15 of Clint Bowyer. That's the way they would finish the race.
Brad would finish 15th, exactly where he had to finish to win the Championship, even if Jimmie Johnson had been able to finish the race. It was enough for Captain Roger Penske to earn his first championship in NASCAR's premier series. It was all he needed.
Brad Keselowski is your 2012 Sprint Cup Champion.