News & Media


Keselowski proud to carry on No. 2 tradition

May 25, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Brad Keselowski's emergence as an up-and-comer in Cup recalls the glory of the Blue Duece's '90s run. (Getty)

CONCORD, N.C. -- Penske driver recalls memories of Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace in 'Blue Duece'

Brad Keselowski remembers racing against Rusty Wallace -- he was 9 years old and it was in a video game.

Then, Keselowski could not have imagined then that one day he would be driving the same No. 2 race car that Wallace made famous.

"When I think back to Rusty, I remember that (1993) season more than anything else ... It's pretty cool to think of him being in the Hall of Fame."

--BRAD KESELOWSKI

"He had that one year, I can't remember if it was 1993, '94, something like that, where he just dominated," Keselowski said Thursday from Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was preparing for this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. "I remember that year and there was this video game that came out and I first started racing it. I'll never forget, it was this NASCAR video game and he was always the guy to beat. ... I remember that and how fast his car was, how good he was at Bristol and Martinsville and places like that."

The year was indeed 1993 and Wallace won 10 races, leading NASCAR's premier series. Wallace went on to win a total of 55 races before hanging up his racing helmet, and was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last Wednesday.

Thirty-seven of Wallace's career wins came in the No. 2 car, which he didn't begin driving until 1991. And even then he wasn't in the Blue Deuce of sponsor Miller Lite that Keselowski now drives. Wallace didn't get in that car until 1996, and won his last 14 races in it -- his final victory coming in 2004 at Martinsville.

Keselowski, now 28, couldn't even legally consume a Miller Lite in 2004.

But, because of that video game, he knew all about Wallace long before then, and long before he got behind the wheel of the No. 2 Dodge for Penske Racing.

"When I think back to Rusty, I remember that (1993) season more than anything else and obviously the black-and-gold MGD (Miller Genuine Draft) car," Keselowski said. "So I think that's really special for Miller and that's where my memories are. It's pretty cool to think of him being in the Hall of Fame."

Keselowski also knows what it would mean for his sponsor if he could pull off a victory in this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. He already owns two victories this season -- the sixth and seventh of his career, and fifth and sixth in the No. 2 car, respectively. He would take the Cup Series lead in wins if he could do so.

Keselowski also will compete in Saturday's History 300 Nationwide Series race at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. After finishing second in the Camping World Truck Series race last Friday at the track and second in the Sprint All-Star Race to Jimmie Johnson last Saturday, Keselowski said he thinks he has a great feel for the track.

"We had two really good runs in the All-Star Race and the Truck race, finishing second in both of them. I'd like to get one spot more in both races this weekend with the Nationwide and the Cup car," Keselowski said. "I think we've got a pretty good shot at it."

A victory Sunday would put him one step closer on the all-time win list to the man who made the No. 2 car famous. Keselowski said plans already are in the works for him to do some promotional work with the sponsor and the new Hall of Famer.

"I know they've got some plans they're working on to really take advantage of that, with regards to Rusty being in the Hall of Fame and how to do something cool with the fans and him," Keselowski said. "I'm excited to see how that all plays out. I think it's all great stuff. The Hall of Fame, I think, is doing exactly what it is supposed to do and that's creating some excitement in the sport. It's great to see."