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Keselowski’s focus firmly on helping veterans, snaring first Michigan win

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Before his arrival at Michigan International Speedway for a weekend of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing in the Irish Hills, Brad Keselowski was busy raising money for a good cause.

With NASCAR Salutes in full swing to honor United States military servicemembers past and present, Keselowski and his Checkered Flag Foundation have focused on helping veterans and their families since inception in 2010. On Thursday, Keselowski held his second annual fundraising event at The Huntsman Hunt Club in Dryden, Michigan, benefiting the construction of a brand new Fisher House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Keselowski was also accompanied by fellow Ford Performance drivers, including Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola.

Since 1990, the Fisher House Foundation has provided comfort homes for families of veterans receiving treatments, at no cost to the families. There are 76 Fisher Houses located on 24 military installations and at 32 VA medical centers across the nation, but there hasn’t been one established in the state of Michigan.

That was something Keselowski, a Rochester Hills, Michigan, native, wanted to change through his foundation.

“It was an incredible event,” said Keselowski. “To be able to hang out with some veterans, but also have a lot of fun, raise some funding and do a site visit for the brand new Fisher House being built in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We want to see one come to the state. There isn’t one in the state, which seems absolutely crazy. It just seems so natural. Hopefully we can get them the funding they need to get going.”

Now Keselowski shifts his attention doing something his has never done at his home 2-mile track in the Monster Energy Series — win. Keselowski won back-t0-back Michigan races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2009-10, but victory in the Great Lakes State in NASCAR’s premier series still eludes him.

RELATED: Keselowski’s career stats

Keselowski earned his first Michigan pole last August, and he’ll flank Kevin Harvick on the front row for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Keselowski noted that winning at Michigan would rival even a victory in NASCAR’s biggest event of the year.

“Winning at your home track for a race car driver is like winning the Daytona 500,” Keselowski said. “It would be a huge, huge win. It would be the biggest win of my career if we were able to win.

“A home track means a lot to any race car driver. It is your friends and family and there is a lot of (prestige) that comes with it. It makes the losses sting more and the wins sweeter. The fact we have been so close and not achieved it is very top of mind every time I come here.”

MORE: Will this be the summer of Keselowski?

In 17 career starts, Keselowski has five top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 12.8. So far in 2018, the No. 2 Team Penske driver has yet to earn victory, but sits fifth in the regular-season points standings with four top fives and eight top-10 finishes.

“Am I surprised to have not won a race, I don’t know if surprised is the right word,” Keselowski said. “I try not to take success for granted and try to appreciate it as it comes. You never know where life is going to take you.

“Surprised isn’t the right word. I would say disappointed is a better word. I want to win, I want to win a lot of races. I feel like we have a pretty strong team.”

For Keselowski, earning his first win of the season on home turf would be a perfect way to wipe away the disappointment.

MORE: Keselowski meets family of fallen Marine