King Carl?

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Feb 14 1865

Two years ago, Brad Keselowski gave himself a B+ in assessing his capabilities as a driver.

After a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-best six victories last season, Keselowski apparently has gotten closer to the head of the class.

"I feel like I'm a top-three driver in the Sprint Cup Series," Keselowski said Thursday during a question-and-answer session with reporters at Daytona International Speedway.

Asked which two other drivers he would put in the top three, Keselowski had a surprising answer.

"I personally think just from watching, and I am not afraid to say it, that Carl Edwards is the best driver in Sprint Cup," Keselowski said. "That is my personal opinion.

It doesn't make it law or fact, but I think to go with that you could probably place an argument for (reigning champion) Kevin (Harvick) as the second best. It is a bit subjective."

In part, Keselowski based his opinion of Edwards' ability to get the most out of a car that might not be handling to his liking.

"I have seen what Carl has done in cars that didn't have the speed," Keselowski said. "He has a very diverse skill set. He has been able to win at tracks like Sonoma and has won at every type of track, and I feel like he does the best job of any driver I have seen out there at taking a car that is not fast and finding speed out of it.

"I think when the times have come that he has had dominant cars, he has showed dominant performances, which is what you have to do. He has kind of shown, to me, the skill set at every level to be a top driver."

That's high praise from a driver who once was Edwards' bitter rival. But Keselowski never says anything without considering his words carefully, so was there a hidden agenda in his comments?

For now, only Keselowski knows.