With the 2012 championship and 22 of his 23 race trophies coming as a Team Penske driver, Brad Keselowski confirmed Tuesday that his hope and intention is to re-up with Roger Penske and extend his contract with the team.
Asked in a Tuesday teleconference why a new agreement to drive the famous No. 2 Miller Lite Ford hasn’t been signed yet, the soon-to-be free agent Keselowski chuckled a bit before assuring that he feels a contract extension with his team is imminent.
“Well, that’s a great question, one that I hope to have answered very, very soon,” Keselowski allowed. “And I can tell you that I’ve gone a long ways in my life and career with the help of Roger and all Team Penske and I hope to continue to do so. So I think that’s all I can say really at the moment.”
Since taking a job at Penske, Keselowski, 33, has provided plenty of reasons for the team to re-sign him to a contract. In addition to the wins and championship, Keselowski has 126 top-10 finishes in 283 starts – 44 percent of his race starts – and he has won Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at 15 of the circuit’s 23 tracks.
The series visits one track still to be checked off the win list for the former champ, Keselowski’s home-state Michigan International Speedway – site of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).
Keselowski conceded that earlier in his eight-year full-time Cup career, he felt a lot of pressure – from himself and others – to score a win at Michigan. Now, the years and the accomplishments have helped form perspective, and the Rochester Hills native says he is in a great place headed to the track this week.
“You know, earlier in my career it used to feel like a ton of pressure,” Keselowski said. “But as of late, I don’t seem to feel quite as pressured by it. I think maybe that’s just changes in my life or changes in the status of my career as I’ve become more established.
“But now I just look at it and I think of how amazing it is to run well there, and I don’t seem to get stressed about if I don’t run well there. And that’s been good. But I would say it certainly affects people in different ways. And in my case it’s affected me differently as I’ve grown older.”
Keselowski already has two wins this season and snapped a two-race DNF streak with a fifth-place showing at Pocono Raceway on Sunday. In addition to his two wins, Keselowski has three runner-up finishes in 2017 and is fifth in the season points standings.
He’s finished no worse than ninth in his last six starts at the 2-mile Michigan track – with top-five showings in his last two. He was fourth in this race in 2016 and third in the second Michigan race.
And the summer beyond looks encouraging: He is the defending winner of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway and has three wins at Kentucky, two venues that start the series’ July swing.
“There’s some great charts that show that a driver’s best years are right around age 39,” Keselowski said. “… so I still have six of the best years of my career left. And I want to see those to fruition. I’m driven to win multiple championships, and I have that opportunity.
“And it’s more of a waste for me to not see that opportunity and make the most of it or at least take it than it would be to even have an injury in that time span.
“So I’m going to make the most of it and I’m looking forward to it.”