News & Media


Behind the Wheel: Getting ready for Daytona, Phoenix

February 09, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Getting ready for Daytona, Phoenix and Truck season with Kligerman

Hey race fans. As hard as it may be to believe that we head down to Daytona this week, I'm actually pretty excited to get the season going. It's been a long offseason and I think we have a lot of positive things to look forward to in the sport right now. I think the fans are really looking for a reason to come out to the race track this year. Most of the track operators that I've talked to are just as excited as I am because they have already seen improvements in ticket sales.

The first thing we'll do when we get down there is Daytona 500 media day, which takes place on Thursday. Everybody gets under one gigantic tent at the race track and will take turns talking to different forms of media: print, radio, television and internet are all there. We'll do promo work for Fox Sports, ESPN and TNT. It's such a busy week-and-a-half down there; this makes it easier on everyone to get done what they need. Then we can concentrate on racing.

Brad's blog


Behind the Wheel with Brad Keselowski runs every other Wednesday on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season.

We've still been going to the race track over the last few months. Walt Disney World Speedway has been a pretty popular place during the winter. It's a lot like Phoenix International Raceway. The driver input for both tracks is almost identical when you lay them on top of each other. The one big difference is that the "kink" is on the frontstretch at Disney and on the backstretch at Phoenix. As much attention that Daytona demands, we still have to go to Phoenix the next week for a race that pays just as many points toward the championship. We can't lose sight of that.

Last week we took the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger down to Disney and shared the track with the guys from my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team at Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR). Parker Kligerman will drive my No. 29 BKR Ram in at least 15 races this year and I'm as anxious to see that program get started as I am to get behind the wheel myself. Parker is our Penske Racing development driver; he has a lot of talent and he needs to be racing somewhere next year. I'm happy that we were able to work something out to put him in my equipment because I'm proud of what we have been able to build at BKR.

People that know me know that I'm a big Michigan guy. I'm very proud to be from the Detroit area -- I loved the Super Bowl commercial that Eminem did for Chrysler. On Tuesday of this week I flew back up to my home state so that the Michigan State Assembly could proclaim it "Brad Keselowski Day." I'll be honest, it felt really good. I could see how proud it made my family. I never thought I would be receiving an honor like that from the State of Michigan. After the proclamation I went and did a media event with my friend Roger Curtis, president of Michigan International Speedway. Roger is a great guy and a hell of a race track promoter. He and I talked about anything and everything going on in the sport right now, and hopefully sold some tickets to MIS along the way.

From the fans

This week's fan question comes from Stephen MacDonald. He wants to know if running in the Nationwide Series is a positive or a negative to my Cup Series efforts.

Hands down, Stephen, it is a positive. We didn't run as well as we wanted to on the Cup side last year. The fact that I had success in the Nationwide Series kept my confidence up. To take that a step further, the Nationwide program gave my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, a platform to showcase his skills. As a result, he led our team to the championship and he parlayed that into a job as my Cup crew chief on the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Nationwide programs go a long way in building depth within an organization, whether that is a crew chief or a pit crew member.

And we won Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship. I don't know how that couldn't be quantified as a positive.

Have a question for Brad? Submit inquiries to bradkeselowski@penskeracing.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/keselowski. The opinions expressed are solely those of Keselowski.