Brad Keselowski is NASCAR's new man to beat.
The 28-year-old third-generation driver seized the Chase for the Sprint Cup series lead with a late surge and a 3.1-second victory over favorite Jimmie Johnson in Sunday's Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Whether it lasts is another matter. Nine races remain in the circuit's championship series.

"It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout," said Keselowski, whose father, grandfather and uncle also raced. "We might have won a round, but we didn't knock them out. We have a lot of racing to go."

Johnson, a five-time Sprint Cup champion, led most of the race but slipped behind Keselowski after a final pit stop with about 35 laps left. And Keselowski kept him from catching up and eventually lengthened the lead.

The series resumes this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway's one-mile oval. The series concludes Nov. 18 at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Keselowski leads Johnson by three points. Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne round out the top 5 in the current standings.

I'm picking Kasey Kahne because I may be a little partial on this one! Back when he was racing sprint cars at our local Huset's Speedway, I had him as a guest on my racing show "Race Track Live" and I remember very well one of the questions I asked him. His answer to what his long range goal would be was maybe someday racing in NASCAR.