News & Media


Behind the Wheel: Recent surge total team effort, Dodge included

August 25, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Back in the day, when I went to the races with my family, we always loaded up in a truck, van or hauler and made the trips over the open road. That's how I grew up going to the race track. So this week I thought I would drive myself to Bristol. Just an easy trip over the mountains to clear my head and think about the upcoming weeks.

It's been a solid few weeks for the Miller Lite Dodge team. I've been asked many times -- and it's a fair question -- about what we've done differently over that span that has allowed us to consistently run up front. I think we've had pretty good speed for most of the year. We just haven't capitalized on it the way we have lately.

Brad's Cup stats

Next three races
TrackTypeSt.Avg. Fin.
AtlantaInt.230.5
RichmondShort425.8
TrackTypeSt.Avg. Fin.
LoudonInt.421.2
DoverShort317.7
Kansas*Int.312.3
CharlotteInt.419.5
Talladega*Super517.2
MartinsvilleShort313.7
TexasInt.623.7
PhoenixShort427.5
HomesteadInt.320.3

Don't get me wrong, we've made our cars better. It hasn't been one big thing that we've found, but a bunch of small things that add up to something pretty big when you stack them together. And we're not finished. I'm really excited about the cars we'll be rolling out over the last 10 weeks. We've put ourselves in a very solid position to make the Chase. I think that's a huge accomplishment for a first-year team, which is what this team is. But this is the type of team I envisioned helping to build when I came to Penske Racing. I knew we had all of the resources necessary to contend for wins and positions in the Chase.

* Keselowski, Penske make climb together

You know, earlier this year, we were getting questions about whether we could compete being the only Dodge team. I don't quite hear all of those questions now. Dodge should get a lot of credit for how we're running. Their technical support has allowed us to bring more consistent cars to the race track. They continue to be a key engineering partner and they work closely with our Penske group in providing key data for our on-track success.

What's cool about our recent string of finishes is that we are now in position to earn a lot of money for some very good causes. We're still alive in the DirecTV Head2Head Knockout competition, which if we win will give $200,000 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Those veterans are the real heroes and the work the Paralyzed Veterans do for them is amazing.

This weekend we head to one of my favorite tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway. It's a track that I took a liking to instantly, but it can also be a "trap" race for our Chase chances. Short-track racing and restrictor-plate racing are very similar in that you can get caught up in a wreck that you had nothing to do with. Bristol is a very aggressively paced race. You have to stay tuned in to what's going on the entire time if you want stay out of trouble.

There is a reason that Bristol is one of the must-see sporting events in the country.

This week's fan question comes from Jim Davis. He wants to know what tracks will be good for us during the Chase?

Thanks for the question, Jim. First, we hope that we are in the Chase, but I'm really encouraged by the way we've been running on the intermediate tracks this year. Fortunately, intermediate tracks make up a large portion of the Chase tracks. That being said, I feel really good about Martinsville and Talladega, the shortest and the biggest tracks we go to on the schedule. From the time I got to Penske Racing, we've been fast on the superspeedways. I feel we should have won a restrictor-plate race before now. Short tracks are some of my favorites. It's what I grew up doing and where I'm comfortable.

In reality, I'm so confident in my team that I think we can go win on any kind of race track.

That's it for this week. Hopefully the next time we talk I will have made a lot of money for some very good causes.

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.

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