News & Media

Behind the Wheel: One more to go to add to Penske racing legacy

November 15, 2012, Brad Keselowski, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Thirty-seven weeks of racing are in the books. We've competed at race tracks all over this country since the month of February. Now there is just one race left between Penske Racing and one of the biggest achievements in this company's storied legacy: a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Make no mistake about it we have a lot of work left to do. A 20-point lead in the standings is nice -- I would rather be in the lead than trailing -- but Jimmie Johnson and his team are five-time champions for a reason. No one on this Miller Lite Dodge team is worried about where we need to finish at Homestead. We're only concerned about where we want to finish, and that is in Victory Lane. We've shown up at every track this year with only one thought and that is winning the race. It has worked for us to this point as we are on the verge of a potential championship, so we aren't going to change our approach now.

To win the Cup

Brad Keselowski clinches the championship with a finish of 15th or better at Homestead, or 16th and at least one lap led, or 17th and the most laps led, even if Jimmie Johnson wins and leads the most laps.


I know that a lot of you want me to describe what it would mean to give Roger Penske his first Cup championship, a man who has won nearly everything there is in the world of motorsports. That's not something that is easy to answer now, nor will it be easier in a year or so. That's something that will become much clearer with time.

When I came to Penske Racing in 2009, I saw an organization that had a ton of potential. This is a place that is the gold standard in IndyCar. It's won a lot of Cup races. It even won a Formula One Grand Prix in 1976, the last American constructor to do that! It's just never been able to win a Cup championship and I want to change that.

In our first meeting I told Mr. Penske that I had a vision that I wanted to share with him. I wanted to help him build a championship-winning organization, one that he deserved and could be proud of. Telling a man like Roger Penske, with all of his success, that we needed to rethink the way Penske Racing was approaching NASCAR was one of the bravest moments of my 28 years on this planet.

He listened and agreed to take it slowly, first with the new Nationwide Series team we were starting in 2010. He hired Paul Wolfe, something I wasn't even able to do just a few months earlier, to be the crew chief on the new No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge. We promptly won six races, scored a NASCAR-record 26 top-five finishes and won the 2010 Nationwide Series championship, the first NASCAR title for Penske Racing.

With that success came more and more trust. There have been ups and downs along the way, but it has all played a hand into building the Miller Lite Dodge team into a cohesive unit of "racers." We're winning races with fast cars, with aggressive strategy, with fast pit stops. We're having fun along the way, but we're trying to make history at the same time.

So while it's hard for me to put into words, right now, what all it would mean to deliver a championship to Mr. Penske I can say that, no matter what happens on Sunday, I'm proud of where we are because we got there together. He has given me everything I've asked for and, thankfully, we've been able to deliver on the vision we had.

So this is it. One more race to decide the championship. It's hard to thank everyone that has played a part in us getting to this point, but you know who you are and you know that we couldn't be here without you. I can't promise you that that Homestead will have the fireworks of Phoenix, but I think you will see good, hard racing the way it was meant to be. In the end, that's all that matters.

Behind the Wheel with Brad Keselowski runs once a month on NASCAR.COM as he shares his experiences throughout the season, both at and away from the track. Follow him on Twitter at @keselowski. The opinions expressed are solely those of Keselowski.