News & Media

2012 champions reflect, look toward the future

November 20, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and James Buescher, the 2012 champions in their respective NASCAR national touring series, answer this week's six questions.

1. For Brad first, what do you think you will cherish most about this, your first Sprint Cup championship?

Keselowski: Just how far we've come at Penske Racing. This team is phenomenal, and I'm so fortunate to have them. Everybody in North Carolina and Mooresville that supports this team, I hope you're listening. None of this would have been possible without them. I feel so lucky to have everyone that we do, and it's just a dream come true to have a car like the Blue Deuce. Everything associated with the Miller Lite Dodge, to have fast cars, to have a great team, this is what you dream of as a driver. I'm just so very fortunate.

"I don't feel like I ever get any pressure from the outside. I put it all on myself."


2. For Ricky, what did it mean to you to win a second consecutive Nationwide Series title as you head off next year to your first season as a full-time driver in the Cup Series?

Stenhouse: The pressure is still on. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I don't feel like I ever get any pressure from the outside. I put it all on myself. I expect to go out and win every week. That's not going to happen every week, but you've got to show up at the race track with high expectations and high goals. ... That's how we approached this season and that's how we'll approach the next.

So there's no extra pressure with the move to Cup next year, and we're pleased to be able to finish this season with another championship. We set a goal of six to 10 wins and another championship; we got six wins -- I wish it was more toward the 10, but we got six -- and we got the championship. So mission accomplished, and now we move on to what's next, where I'll put the same kind of pressure on myself to be successful. Being able to know my future, what we're doing next, that's a relief.

3. And for James, what did it mean for you to win the Camping World Truck Series championship, and what's next?

Buescher: My plans from a couple years after I started racing were to make it to the Cup Series and be able to compete for championships at the Cup level. That plan hasn't changed. I still want to make it there. ... I still don't know how that's going to happen. But winning the truck championship, it definitely helps to be able to put that on my resume.

4. James, you saw diversity in NASCAR at work firsthand this season whenever your Brazilian teammates, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo, got together for a debrief session. What was that like?

Buescher: I think I need to start speaking Portuguese. I joke with the two of them all the time. They'll be talking about their trucks in Portuguese, and I'm like, "Hey, I'm here, too. You guys know English, and I don't know Portuguese, so you've got to speak my language." We joke about it and have a good time with that.

5. Ricky, talk about turning over your No. 6 Ford car in the Nationwide Series to your good buddy, former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, next season.

Stenhouse: I think we wanted to end on a good note. I wanted to leave my guys with another championship, and they've got Trevor coming in to fill the seat next year. I wanted to leave it the best way we could, and that was by leaving in championship form. That was a good last hurrah to finish this off, and now we leave it in good hands going forward.

6. Brad, how many Twitter followers did you pick up last Sunday night during and immediately after the race, and how do you think this championship might change you?

Keselowski: I'm going to meet some cool people. I've always wanted to date a celebrity. I'm just throwing that out there. But not a Kardashian. I'm throwing that out there, too.

And I think I started out with 328,000 followers [on Twitter prior to Sunday's race]. You take so much stock in the amount of followers. ... So I added about 6,000 [from then to about 90 minutes after the race, following his victory speech on ESPN's SportsCenter]. That's something.