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Behind the Wheel: Hooping it up

April 06, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Basketball a fun way to keep in shape; Texas holds special memories

Well, the college basketball season is over. I know all of you had UConn winning the whole thing in your brackets. My Michigan Wolverines took a big step toward getting back to their old winning ways by making it to the round of 32 this year. They have a long way to go to get back to the days of Glen Rice, but it's a start.

I play a little round ball during the week. It's hard to work out every day when you do the same routine over and over. At least it is for me. Basketball is way to break up the monotony, but also get in a good sweat. I play in a small league with some guys in the garage area. A lot of drivers have turned to the sport to stay in shape.

Brad Keselowski and Roger Penkse celebrate their 2010 Nationwide title at Texas. (Getty Images)

The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most exciting events in sports. Your standing is not based on computers or poll voters, like it is in college football. You win, you keep playing. Fate is in your hands. It's similar to racing -- although you can get caught up in someone else's wreck in racing; but you work hard, do your job and you can have success. Butler University was proof of that. VCU was proof of that. That's the great thing about sports. Anything can happen. That's why they play the game.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I went with my No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team to Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado for a two-day test to work on a few things that will help us get back on track toward challenging for a spot in the Chase. We've been fast at several of the races so far this year, but we are looking to continue to improve. That's what I love about the guys on this Blue Deuce team. We're going to test and work until we get things right. I think we learned a few things that we can apply to this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway and I'm looking forward to having good speed in the car when we roll off the truck.

Texas is a pretty special track to me for several reasons. I made my first Cup Series start there in 2008. That was, obviously, the culmination of a lifelong dream and a lot of hard work and sacrifice by many people. So that day was very special and I'll always remember that. Texas was also the site of my first start with Penske Racing. That was a race that started me on the path to driving the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, the type of iconic car that every young driver dreams of racing one day.

However, the biggest moment of my racing career came at Texas just last November. We finished third in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge and clinched the 2010 Nationwide Series championship. That was an awesome day, which leads me into the fan question for this week. It comes from Kevin Fairchild. He wants to know how it felt to win Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship.

Thanks for the question, Kevin. Winning any championship is special. That, in and of itself, makes it one of the biggest achievements of my life. But then you start factoring in that it was the first NASCAR championship for Mr. Penske. For all that he has done in auto racing, it's pretty amazing that he didn't win one before now. I'm proud to be the one that was able to deliver it to him. I know he took as much pride in it as I did. It was also the first NASCAR championship for the Keselowski family. We are a racing family. You all know that my brother races. My dad is a former ARCA champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner. So there are several layers to the championship that make it so memorable for me.

That's it for this week. Tune in to both races from Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Racing at Texas is always exciting. It's one of the fastest race tracks we visit all year long. But remember, the Nationwide Series race is Friday night and the Cup Series race is Saturday night.

Behind the Wheel with Brad Keselowski runs every other Wednesday on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season, both at and away from the track. The opinions expressed are solely those of Keselowski. Have a question for Brad? Submit inquiries to bradkeselowski@penskeracing.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/keselowski.