BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Brad Keselowski is talking the talk of a title contender.
The 28-year-old Keselowski probably won't need a wild card to reach the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year. He's near the top of the standings after back-to-back second-place finishes at Watkins Glen and Michigan.
Perhaps more important, he's starting to show some impressive consistency.
"We're in a great position as a team as the Chase is about to start here to make some noise," Keselowski said. "I'm just feeling lucky to be there -- but then, of course, we obviously want to win. I can taste the legitimacy of being a championship contender."
Keselowski made it to the Chase last year as a wild card, but now he's solidly in fifth place with three races remaining in the Cup's regular season. Not only does Keselowski have three wins in 2012 -- tied for the most on the circuit -- but he also has seven straight top-10 finishes, five of which were in the top five.
Next up is Bristol, where Kesel owski won earlier this season.
Keselowski finished fifth in the Cup standings last year, a 20-spot jump from 2010. This year began poorly, with a late accident in the Daytona 500. Earlier in that race, he caused a bit of a stir when he posted on Twitter during a red-flag stoppage. Afterward, NASCAR said it was OK for Keselowski to keep his cellphone in his car during events, and that all drivers were encouraged to use social media.
Last weekend, he led at his home state's track before being passed by Jimmie Johnson with about 10 laps to go. Johnson's engine later faltered, and Kesel owski finished second behind Greg Biffle.
"My team has done an excellent job over the last few weeks of hitting their marks, executing on all fronts, no mistakes, solid cars," Keselowski said. "I'm very proud of that."
Before the race, Keselowski had said he felt he was at least tied for first in the standings, even though the point totals said otherwise. His reasoning was that when the Chase starts, drivers receive bonus points for regular-season wins, and the point totals don't really matter. In that sense, it was a disappointment to fall just short of what could have been a series-leading fourth victory.