News & Media


Behind the Wheel: Out to get Penske a win at Indy

July 27, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the hallowed grounds of motorsports, awaits us this weekend. I can remember the first time I drove through the tunnel at that place. You could feel that it had a soul. Take a look at the list of drivers who have won there in both open-wheel and stock cars. They are the best of the best. Everyone who has ever sat behind a steering wheel wants to win at Indy.

There are two things that I want to do more than anything for my team owner, Roger Penske. First, and above all, I want to win him his first Cup Series championship. The Nationwide Series championship was awesome last year, but he definitely deserves one from the Cup Series, too. The second thing would be to get him a stock-car win at Indianapolis. He's by far the most successful owner ever in IndyCar competition at the track. I know a NASCAR win would mean a lot to him, too, because he takes a lot of pride in competing there and that pride carries over to everyone at Penske Racing.

Chase hit


Brad's hopes of a Chase berth took a hit at NHMS when he cut a tire and slammed into the wall, causing damage and resulting in a 35th-place finish. He's 23rd in points.

To win at Indy, you need a perfect race. We've seen guys jump out to a dominant lead and have a blown engine. We've seen guys check out from the field and have a problem on pit road that costs them the race. Even if your car is handling perfectly through the tight, 90-degree corners, there is still so much that has to go right to be successful.

We know we need a good run this weekend in the Miller Lite Dodge because, quite frankly, we had some pretty heavy damage done to our Chase chances at Loudon. With this new points system, it's hard to absorb those bad finishes. We've been able to qualify up front on the flat tracks since I've been at Penske Racing. Now we just need to finish up there, too.

Indy is going to be a little bittersweet this weekend for everyone that has competed at the "small track," better known as Lucas Oil Raceway. I haven't missed a Truck Series race there in years and I always make it a point to block that off on my schedule. My dad ran in the first Truck race there with my uncle Ron as crew chief. I have lots of memories of that place.

To win the final Nationwide Series race there would be very big for me, being a Midwestern guy. With the speed that my crew chief, Todd Gordon, has found over the last month or so I think we can definitely do it. The Discount Tire Dodge Challenger has won the last two series poles, so the speed is definitely there. We just need a little bit of luck and we'll get back to Victory Lane again. It's just so much fun to race side-by-side at Lucas Oil Raceway, beating and banging, running the high line. I'm really going to miss the little track.

This week's fan question comes from Tracy. She wants to know if I appreciate my team owner, Roger Penske, even more now that I am a team owner myself in NASCAR?

Thanks for the question, Tracy. Without a doubt I appreciate Mr. Penske more now that I have really ramped up my team over at Brad Keselowski Racing. We've actually been running here and there for a few years, but this year is the first time we've competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on a regular basis, week after week. So I have really paid attention to what Mr. Penske has to say to try and apply things to BKR.

Probably one of the most important things I have learned from him is to make sure that you hire good people in key positions and you let them do their job. I feel like I have done that at BKR. We're a "lean" team and I'm proud of that. I have guys that love building trucks and when they are done, they love going to the race track. When the hauler leaves, everyone in the shop goes with it.

That's it for this week. The Brickyard is one of the biggest races of the year. Hopefully we can pick up a new piece of hardware for the shop here at Penske Racing while we're there.

Behind the Wheel with Brad Keselowski runs every other week 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.