Brad Keselowski, sent out a Twitter messages from his car during the Daytona 500 this year. That’s how committed — or addicted — he is to social media. But he left the phone behind in Sunday’s final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Too much was on the line — the Sprint Cup championship that would bring the famed Penske team its first title in 40 years of NASCAR success. But when Jeff Gordon won the event and Keselowski crossed the finish line, it meant Keselowski had beaten Jimmie Johnson to ascend to the top of racing.
And before he exited his championship car, he retrieved his phone so he could tweet.
That’s how it is for Keselowski, who is as normal a guy as you will find. He just so happens to be an amazing racer.
Keselowski brought Roger Penske his first Sprint Cup championship 40 years after his first stock car race, beating five-time champion Johnson of mighty Hendrick Motorsports while delivering the crown that fills a glaring hole on Penske’s otherwise sterling racing resume.
Penske is considered the gold standard of open-wheel racing – he has 15 Indianapolis 500 wins – and his empire makes him one of the most successful businessmen in America. But until Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his NASCAR program was never more than average.
”Personally, I feel amazing that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. ”I think it took guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, ‘Well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we’re a big deal.’ But I’ll tell you one thing … I think I just woke up here tonight, and it’s a big thrill.”
As always, Penske credited the entire program.
But the program really turned behind Keselowski, a blue collar, Michigan native, who chugged sponsor Miller Lite’s product, donned goggles to douse the Blue Deuce crew with champagne, and imagined how his life will change as NASCAR’s champion. At 28, he’s the eighth youngest champion in NASCAR history and proud he doesn’t have a date for the Nov. 30 champions banquet in Las Vegas.
”I’ve always wanted to date a celebrity,” Keselowski said. ”I’m just throwing that out there. That would be really cool, don’t you think?”
Penske could only shake his head.
”Maybe I am conservative, but I like to have a little fun, too,” Penske said. ”And I think when you’ve won the NASCAR championship, the driver, you can kind of give him a little wider path, and he’s certainly taken it side to side. I think it’s all good.”