News & Media


Behind the wheel with Brad Keselowski: The Blue Deuce

January 26, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Penske driver likes his chances racing the Blue Deuce at Daytona 500

Hey race fans. Thanks for stopping by to check out my new blog on NASCAR.COM. This is going to be an exciting year at Penske Racing. From moving to the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Cup Series to working with a new crew chief on the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge in the Nationwide Series, I'm sure we won't lack for things to talk about as the season progresses. You know me, I like to keep things interesting.

The opportunity to jump behind the wheel of the Blue Deuce is something that is still pretty surreal for me. Only two drivers have ever been lucky enough to drive Mr. Penske's flagship ride. Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch are two champion drivers of the highest caliber. There is definitely pressure that comes with following those two guys, but I'm ready to tackle it head on. This is a pressure sport and we, as drivers, put just as much pressure on ourselves as anyone. There is an old saying in racing: You know you've made it in racing if you are sponsored by beer, motor oil or tobacco companies. We have two out of three covered here currently at Penske Racing.

" After our test last week at Daytona, I feel great about our chances to go out and win."

--BRAD KESELOWSKI

I guess I will have that surreal feeling until I get that first race out of the way, which happens to be the biggest race of the year -- the Daytona 500. After our test last week at Daytona, I feel great about our chances to go out and win. My crew chief, Paul Wolfe, brought a very fast car down there for the test and we left with the fastest lap of any team that was at the test. Obviously we still have a lot of work to do to get to Victory Lane, but it felt good to walk out of the garage on that last day as the fastest cat in the alley.

With Paul moving up from our Nationwide Series program, it left some pretty big shoes to fill right at the top of the No. 22 team. Last year was a dream season that ended with the first NASCAR championship for Penske Racing. To continue that momentum, we've hired Todd Gordon to lead that team. We've already been testing and I can honestly say that I don't expect any falloff from last season. Todd is an accomplished guy in the garage who has a great reputation. His approach to the new Dodge Challenger fits exactly with what I want in a race car. We will still compete for wins on a regular basis and, hopefully, we are hoisting the owners' championship trophy in Homestead.

We're obviously disappointed in the decision communicated by NASCAR that we can't run for the drivers' title one last time. We know that we have a team capable of winning another championship. Everyone at Penske Racing has a lot of pride in the Nationwide Series program that we've been able to assemble in just a few short years. We are still going to fight for race wins each week and plan on chasing the owners' title for Mr. Penske as well as Discount Tire, Ruby Tuesday, Dodge and all of our great sponsors.

That being said, there is still a big, positive vibe around the shop and around Penske Racing as a whole. Our sponsor lineup with Miller Lite, Shell/Pennzoil, Discount Tire, Ruby Tuesday, AAA and Alliance Truck Parts is right up there with any team in the garage. Last year we were able to produce amazing results for Dodge -- winning the Nationwide Series championship and qualifying one car for the Chase -- despite being the lone Dodge team in NASCAR. We've shown flashes that you don't need to be a huge, multi-car team to have success. Now we just need to build on that solid foundation and keep moving forward. We have the personnel to do that, no doubt.

To me, one of the best parts about being a professional race car driver is the one-on-one interaction that we get to have with our fans. The top five in the final point standings for the Nationwide Series received iPads and since then I've become addicted to Twitter. I'm having a lot of fun communicating with my fans and fans of the sport in general. Let's keep that going in this space. Send in your questions and I'll pick one -- two, if we get some creative stuff -- to answer in this blog. Keep it clean and I'll do my best to get to everyone.

Behind the wheel with Brad Keselowski is a twice-monthly blog and the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Send questions for Brad to bradkeselowski@penskeracing.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/keselowski.

%>