Brad Keselowski Opines on Cali, American Idol and Authentic Emotions

While he may be the reigning champ and the point’s leader so far in the 2013 season, Brad Keselowski has already been busy this weekend, sharing his opinions on everything from being on top in the standings, racing in California, hanging out on American Idol and handling basic authentic emotions.

Keselowski could not be more pleased to be leading in the point standings, even with a brand new manufacturer. He is also the only Cup driver to start the season with four top-five finishes in the first four races, rivaled only by the last driver to start the year with five consecutive top-five finishes, Rusty Wallace.

“Yeah, it has been a solid start,” Keselowski said. “I can tell you it is a big weight off our shoulders to come out of the gate so strong.”

“It is a quick way of quieting all those that said when we switched to Ford we were going to be in a lot of trouble,” Keselowski continued. “That is really big for us at Penske Racing and big for me personally.”

“It is something I am exceptionally proud of.”

And yet, even with that great start, Keselowski expressed a hint of dissatisfaction, demonstrating just how competitive this driver really is.

“We’ve certainly got off to a strong, consistent start but we have been in position on the final restart of each race to win and have come up just a little bit short,” Keselowski said. “We have done everything but win a race.”

The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion acknowledged that he thinks California may just be where he and his team score their first win this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

“Hopefully we can close that out this weekend,” Keselowski said. “I think we have got the car to do it and the team to do it.”

Keselowski is quick to acknowledge, however, that California will post its own unique challenges, especially when it comes to aero, horsepower and handling.

“This track is just old enough where it produces tire wear and the ability to run multiple grooves in the corners,” Keselowski said. “The ability to run multiple grooves kind of eliminates some of that dreaded aero push.”

“I’m not really sure which one, horsepower or handling, will be more important this weekend,” Keselowski continued. “We are still learning how this car will react to this style track.”

“This is the fifth weekend and fifth different style track,” Keselowski said. “In general this used to be a handling track over horsepower but that might be different with this car.”

Horsepower, however, may have come back to bite Keselowski as his team had to change an engine after practice and before qualifying.

“It puts a lot of stress on the engine,” Keselowski said. “There is a certain gear ratio we use to dictate what RPM band the cars are in and to his point in the season, we have been using last year’s model which has put more stress on the engines with more speed.”

“I think it pushes the teams to make their stuff a little better and that is what this sport is about, constant evolution.”

While he has been busy on the track, Keselowski has also been actively participating in many California-like things, from appearing as a guest on American Idol to chatting about his starring role in a new Miller beer commercial.

“I think it is good to get out of your element and American Idol is certainly not my element I can tell you that,” Keselowski said. “Fox is a partner of the sport and Ford is a big partner of American Idol and when the opportunity came open I thought, ‘Why not, let’s try it.’”

“I have to admit I had a lot more fun than I thought I was going to have,” Keselowski continued. “It is just good for any of us in the sport to kind of branch out and bring people in from other areas.

Keselowski was pleased that there were at least some race fans in the American Idol audience to greet him.

“Yeah there were fans, which was cool,” Keselowski said. “There were a lot of people there you wouldn’t expect to see.”

“It was definitely a younger demographic which I think we could always use in this sport,” Keselowski continued. “It is interesting to see their reaction and the difference in culture between that world and ours.”

Keselowski also opined on his new Miller commercial, one that is not so much advertising the adult beverage but more about drinking responsibility and having a designated driver. He even admitted that after his post-championship partying, the message of responsibility was just the thing that he had to do.

“I jumped at the chance when Miller gave it to me to do something responsibility wise,” Keselowski said. “I think it is a great spot as far as that is concerned.”

“It is good for the sport to have sponsors that activate and put drivers out into the mainstream,” Keselowski said. “I think we all reap the benefits of that.”

“I am glad to see Miller step up and do that and I think it is really healthy for all of us.”

Keselowski may have had an added benefit with his Miller commercial, having met not only the other actors but also the waitress who served them in the spot. And he might just have gotten a phone number from the latter.

“She is a singer,” Keselowski said. “She is actually really good and has a hit out here in California.”

“She will be at the race track this weekend.”

And what is the champ’s opinion about that feud festering between his teammate Joey Logano and rival Denny Hamlin? Keselowski seems to think it is nothing more than authentic emotion.

“I hesitate to say it is just feuds,” Keselowski said. “I think it is authenticity.”

“It is emotions shown with authenticity,” Keselowski continued. “Whether it is joy or anger, that is what the fans crave.”

“They want to see us be human and humans are emotional,” Keselowski said. “They want to see it done in an authentic way.”

In Keselowski’s opinion, the happy moments in the sport are just as important as the angrier moments. And that is what the champ thinks the sport truly is all about.

“Certainly a fight is one way but I think of some happy moments too,” Keselowski said. “I think of Darrell Waltrip doing the Icky Shuffle.”

“Those are things that stick in my mind,” Keselowski continued. “I think a fight is a water cooler conversation but I just think fans enjoy seeing us show emotion and doing it in an authentic way.”

Keselowski would no doubt share the opinion that he will have his work cut out for him in the Auto Club 400. Although he qualified third in the time trial session, he will have to go to the back of the pack due to the engine change.

And Keselowski certainly must hope that he can change everyone’s opinion by bettering his best career finish at Auto Club Speedway, which was 18th last year in a rain-shortened event.

“Quite honestly, I think this will be one of the best races of the year.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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