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Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR Madden league

Brad Keselowski plays in a Madden football league and always uses the Detroit Lions. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Video games are now intertwined with the sporting culture. Athletes play them constantly -- and in NASCAR, it has developed even further.

Driver Brad Keselowski and a handful of other racers on the Sprint Cup circuit have created their own Madden football league the past few years -- in franchise mode -- and Keselowski always uses the same team, the Detroit Lions.

Keselowski grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and is a clear Lions fan to the point he DVRs games on race Sundays. Then in his downtime, he, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith and others play often. Keselowski said Ty Dillion was also in the league but he recently quit.

"We're on our fourth or fifth season so I've developed the team," Keselowski said during a visit to the Detroit Lions practice facility Thursday. "I've got [Matthew] Stafford up, he's a 99 now, really good as a quarterback.

"I'm not very good running the ball so I'm hopeful [Ameer] Abdullah will come in and help my running game and the Lions, too. So I need him to have a really great start to the year so they'll bump up his ratings."

Keselowski said they buy the game every year and then start their franchise anew. And it gets intense, which becomes obvious when he explained why Dillon had to recently quit playing with Keselowski and Earnhardt.

"You play like two or three seasons and maybe you do a lot of yelling at the TV," Keselowski said. "And then your girlfriend or wife walks in and questions why you're yelling at a video game. You can explain that maybe for Year 1 or Year 2.

"But Season 3 or 4, it gets really old real quick and so eventually you kind of lose that battle. That's usually what happens with most drivers."

But not Keselowski, who played with the Lions in the past and will continue to likely play with them in the future.