Can Brad Keselowski deliver for Penske?

August, 14, 2010

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Brad Keselowski is a Michigan man. He bleeds maize and blue. On Thursday he even attended the Wolverines' football practice, part of the perks of being a native son in the big time.

No moment in his life was as big time as an August Saturday one year ago. For as long as he could remember, he had dreamed of victory on the home asphalt, Michigan International Speedway.

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Brad Keselowski
Geoff Burke/Getty ImagesBrad Keselowski, the pole-sitter for Saturday's Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway, leads the Nationwide Series standings by 327 points.

On Aug. 15, 2009, it happened, in a wild Nationwide Series race during which he fended off a charge from Brian Vickers.

"It was the culmination of a dream, through a lot of hard work," Keselowski said, just before scooting off to UM to take in football practice. "Not just mine but my family, friends and my team.

"It seems like a long time ago now, but it's a moment I will always remember, and just so special that I just want to live that day over and over."

And he will. Forever. But, fact is, Keselowski is on the precipice of much bigger things.

His points lead in the Nationwide Series is substantial, 327 points, placing him in position with 13 races remaining to earn team owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship -- at any level.

"It would mean so much [getting] Roger's first championship," said Keselowski, who won the pole for Saturday's Carfax 250. "When I came here, I told him, 'Roger, I want to give you your first championship.'

"We are not having the season we want to have on the Cup side -- looks like Kurt's got a great shot at it. But the Nationwide championship is on Saturday and the Cup championship is on Sunday. So even if Kurt [Busch] does win it, I got the best shot at getting it first."

Penske Racing's IndyCar operation has a record 149 wins, 12 championships and an astounding 15 Indianapolis 500 wins. He is one of two car owners to win both the Indy 500 and Daytona 500. But a NASCAR championship continues to elude him. He came closest with Rusty Wallace in 1993, falling 80 points short.

"It would be really cool -- a special moment for Roger," Keselowski said. "Roger means a lot to the racing community, and the racing world outside of NASCAR. He's won an F1 race, won an IRL race, won the Indy 500. But he doesn't have that NASCAR championship.

"I want to be that first guy to do it, and I want to be able to walk into his office with that trophy and see a smile on his face."



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