News & Media

Behind the Wheel: Kansas win part of turnaround, run at wild card

June 16, 2011, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Racing at home at Michigan, hosting Race2Recovery bring sense of pride

There is nothing like a win to turn your season around and I believe our win at Kansas did just that. You guys have seen what I've written here and I've said the same thing in other media forums -- this No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team is getting better. We are turning the proverbial corner. But while I can see it, my team can see it, and it has shown up a bit in our recent finishes, nothing can solidify that thinking as much as winning.

The most important thing the win does for our team is it puts us in the middle of the conversation for one of the two wild-card berths into the Chase. I still think we need one more win to really assure ourselves of a spot -- along with working our way into the top 20 -- but I think this team can do it. I'm proud to be a part of a group that works as hard as my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, and the rest of the Miller Lite team.

Thumbs up

Brad Keselowski has scored his best three Cup finishes of the season in the past five races. He is 22nd in points, with 13 separating him from the top 20.


Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports those who have sacrificed for us, including military, veterans, first responders and their families, among others. Facebook: Twitter: BKCFF.

One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that we were able to continue the winning tradition of the Blue Deuce. Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch set a very high bar over the years. It's one of the iconic rides of our sport and fans are used to seeing it in Victory Lane.

* Kansas: Final Laps | Victory Lane | Press Pass

The recent upswing that we've enjoyed as a team, and for Penske Racing overall, has me excited as we head to Michigan International Speedway this weekend. It's my home track. Every driver wants to run well at their home track, in front of their family and friends. I've been lucky enough to win the last two NASCAR Nationwide Series races there, but haven't had the success I would like in the Cup Series. Maybe this is the weekend. It's in Dodge's backyard and we certainly know how important of a race it is for them. They've been a tremendous help to our program and to get them in Victory Lane would be awesome.

Something I'm very passionate about is helping our wounded servicemen and women, along with our first responders. I've hosted several of these groups at the race track and have had really enjoyed their company, hearing their stories and meeting their families. Monday, following the Michigan race, my Checkered Flag Foundation will host our first Race2Recovery event. The Race2Recovery program is an incentivized program designed to help wounded military members, veterans and first responders get back on their feet at an accelerated rate.

I really began putting together an idea for the Race2Recovery program after visiting the Walter Reed Army Hospital last year as part of a great trip with NASCAR. I wanted to find a way to help these soldiers -- those who have sacrificed greatly for our freedom -- and try to provide a way to help them get back some semblance of a normal life. But I wanted them to push themselves. I wanted them to see what they could accomplish by making themselves get out of bed and going through their rehab. We set the bar high and those that achieved it will be rewarded. I'm proud of what we have put together and I hope that it is something we can grow into a larger objective for our service men and women, as well as first responders.

Please visit my foundation website,, for more info on the Race2Recovery program.

This week's fan question comes from Traci Patton. She wants to know if I place any added pressure on myself when racing at Michigan, my home track.

Thanks for the question, Traci. I wouldn't say that there is any situation that causes me to add extra pressure to what, I feel, is one of the most pressure-packed sports there is. I put a lot of pressure on myself every week, no matter where we are racing. I want to qualify on the pole and lead every lap, every race.

The pressure of going to race at your home track is making sure that you have set aside enough garage passes and tickets for family and friends. The pressure is making sure that you try to see everyone during the limited free time that you have. Winning at Michigan, to me, would rank right up there with winning the Daytona 500 because of the amount of people that would get to share in the win with me.

That's it for this week. Make sure you send in your questions to Hopefully I'll be talking to you next time as a first-time Cup Series winner at Michigan. As for Sonoma the following week, the key is to stay on track.

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 and follow him on Twitter at