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Behind the Wheel: Legacy of "Blue Deuce" drives Keselowski

May 31, 2012, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Behind the Wheel: Legacy of "Blue Deuce" drives Keselowski
Penske driver ready for runs in both Cup and Nationwide as season heats up

Some kids grow up wanting to play shortstop for the New York Yankees or quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but I never wavered in wanting to be a Cup Series driver.

"You know, I have a long way to go to accomplish everything that Rusty [Wallace] did in his driving career."


Last year, when I got the opportunity to drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, it was like a dream come true. It's one of the most-iconic cars in the series. The roots of its successful legacy can be traced to one man -- Rusty Wallace.

Last week, Rusty was honored by his peers by being named to the 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It's an honor that he definitely deserves.

When I think back to Rusty's career, I remember his 1993 season. He just dominated that year with 10 wins, but he didn't win the championship. I remember that season and the black and gold Miller Genuine Draft car more than anything else about his career. His induction into the Hall of Fame is going to be special for both him and for Miller, and I'm excited. The Hall of Fame is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, and that's creating some excitement in the sport.

There is a little bit of pressure when you follow someone of that stature. I think Kurt (Busch) would tell you the same thing. It's an honor for me to say -- and, more importantly, look Mr. Penske in the eye and say -- that we are continuing the tradition of the Miller Lite Dodge. You know, I have a long way to go to accomplish everything that Rusty did in his driving career. It's a different Cup Series now. I think he would tell you that, too, but I believe in what we're doing here at Penske Racing and the best is yet to come.

Our second win of the season at Talladega showed that we can be championship contenders. We've won at one of the circuit's smallest tracks in Bristol, and one of the largest in Talladega. Our cars have been fast everywhere. We have some new pieces that we plan on rolling out over the next few weeks and I'm really excited about their potential. Our goal is to be at our best when we get to the Chase.

With the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge in the Nationwide Series, I hope we are in the process of hitting our stride. Last year we didn't win our first race until we got to Kentucky. Then we ripped off six wins in the last 17 races. Well, this year we got our first win out of the way earlier when we won last week at Charlotte.

*Final Laps: History 300 in Charlotte

It's always cool to win at Charlotte, but this one was great. My crew chief, Jeremy Bullins, is such a hard worker and great leader for our team. To give him his first win as a crew chief is something I'm pretty proud of. He had family and friends that were there. That may not have been the case if we won at Kansas or New Hampshire. Everything just worked out and I'm happy for him.

We've got some pretty interesting races coming up; three consecutive 400-milers, followed by a road course. On the heels of 500 miles at Darlington and 600 miles at Charlotte, you would think that would be a piece of cake. Two of those tracks, Pocono and Michigan, have new surfaces. And Pocono is moving to 400 miles for the first time. That's a lot to prepare for in a short amount of time. Not to mention the road course race at Sonoma that throws a curve to everyone.

Needless to say, there is no rest for the weary. Check back with me in a few weeks to see if we were able to win a race at my home track, Michigan International Speedway. No restrictor plates mean some intense speeds. You will not want to miss it.