Brad Keselowski discusses life as a champion, trash-talking, Danica Patrick, Twitter, more
FOXSports.com sat down with NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski on Wednesday afternoon to talk about a variety of subjects.
FOXSports.com: After you won the 2012 Sprint Cup Championship, you said you were looking forward to any celebrity attention and you wouldn’t mind dating a celebrity. Any progress on that front?
Brad Keselowski: I decided to go in a different path, which I think was a good thing. I was under the influence of some great beverages at the time and even though I meant what I said, I didn’t follow through with it.
FS: What is the best perk of being a Sprint Cup Champion?
BK: Having someone say that behind your name. It kind of reaffirms what you’ve done as an accomplishment.
FS: You were Dale Jr.’s employee for a couple of years and you lived on his property in North Carolina.
BK: Still do.
FS: Do you have a best "living with Dale Jr." story?
BK: The first day, I came from Detroit, where I’m from, and I moved to North Carolina to drive for him. I knew Dale, but I didn’t KNOW Dale, you know what I mean? So, my thoughts were that I was going to move into his guest house and there would be naked girls in the fountain and all kinds of great stuff. There weren’t. The first day I went there was the Fourth of July, 2007. There was a fireworks show and big party afterward and crazy stuff going on everywhere and I was thinking, "This is going to be awesome."
FS: Was it?
BK: Yeah. It was a good couple of years. I came from Detroit. I was always head down, focused, no time for partying. So this was like a "welcome to the college dorm" experience.
FS: You have a reputation as one of the more interesting athletes on Twitter. Have you ever regretted anything you’ve tweeted?
BK: Regret is a strong word. I think I’ve said things I could’ve said better.
FS: Such as?
BK: I got into this little tiff with another racecar driver (David Ragan) last year because I thought he had done something he hadn’t. He won a race at Talladega, and I thought he gamed the system to do it. And it came back that somebody else screwed something up and it wasn’t his fault.
FS: Miller Lite is one of your sponsors. How much Miller Lite do you drink?
BK: During the week, five or six, and then it depends how the weekend is going. After a win, it’s going to be a little more.
FS: What’s the best and worst thing about having a Miller Lite sponsorship?
BK: The best part is going to parties with the Miller Lite models. The worst part is having drunk fans, like the ones who throw up on you. I’ve had them hanging off me, slurring their words and stuff.
FS: If you were president of NASCAR for a day, what would you change?
BK: I’d make some changes to the car.
FS: Such as?
BK: Aero changes to the bodies on the cars.
FS: What do you think Danica Patrick has brought to NASCAR?
BK: I think Danica has brought a different fan base to our sport. What’s great about NASCAR is that every driver and every team are slightly different and they attract different people. I think that’s great. Danica attracts a group we’ve never had before, young pre-teen girls, which is great for our sport. I think that’s a positive.
FS: What did you think about Richard Petty’s comments about Danica?
BK: He had some harsh words for her. That’s his right. It seems in 21st century America you’re not allowed to share your opinion without getting scolded. I respect his right to have an opinion even if I don’t agree with it.
FS: Speaking of opinions, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam recently announced he was gay. Would a gay driver be accepted in NASCAR?
BK: I think so. I think as long as he was here not solely based on that but because he can drive a race car, much like it should be in any sport. If you can perform at a high level and earn your spot, then you deserve to be there no matter what your orientation is.
FS: It seems some NFL players have voiced concern about having Sam in the locker room.
BK: I don’t even understand that concern. Don’t they let reporters in there while they’re still changing? I’ve never been in an NFL locker room, but from my understanding you have 15 minutes to change and reporters are walking in there while you’re naked. Seems a little weird to me. Don’t you think that’s weird? You just got out of the shower and it’s like, "HERE COMES THE MEDIA!" and you’re dropping your towel.
FS: You’re a big Detroit Lions fan.
BK: Yes. Sometimes that’s unfortunate.
FS: Do you think Ndamukong Suh is a cheap-shot artist?
BK: I like him. Obviously, I’m not in the locker room to see the mentality, but I don’t feel that way about him.
FS: Who would you say is the Calvin Johnson of NASCAR?
BK: What I respect about Calvin is that he’s quiet and just does his job. There’s something to be said about that. I’d say Matt Kenseth is the Calvin Johnson of NASCAR.
FS: Who’s the biggest trash-talker in Sprint Cup?
FS: What are your go-to lines?
BK: I try not to be repetitive.
FS: Have any drivers gotten mad at you over your trash-talking?
BK: Oh yeah!
FS: Who got the maddest?
BK: Kyle Busch.
FS: What did you say to him?
BK. A lot of things. I told him he was a dirty driver. I also said at one time he was an ass. It’s PG trash-talk.
FS: Donovan McNabb recently said on FOX Sports Live that NASCAR drivers are not athletes. What do you think about that?
BK: I think the definition of athlete is difficult to come by and subjective. If you think that anyone can do it, you’re wrong. Does that make it athletic? No. If you think golfers are athletes, then it’s natural to say that race car drivers are right in line with them.
I think the association we make with athletics goes back to who’s the biggest and baddest person. Look at the NFL. You stand next to those guys and they are giants. Does that make them an athlete? You can probably argue that they are genetic lottery winners. And they’ve taken their genetic lottery fortunes and made the most of them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete without being a genetic lottery winner.
There are a lot of things we do that are very athletic. It’s a difficult question to answer, and I think the question itself brings up what other concept you’re predisposed to believe qualifies you as an athlete. You can make an argument either way.
FS: You mentioned your drunken fans earlier. What are your fans like?
BK: I don’t think I have one type of core fan. I think the fans who do like (me) are a hodgepodge of different groups. Some of them are younger and very tech-savvy, which I think is great. Quite a few of them are very opinionated like I am, and they appreciate that. And I have some older fans that just like the fact that I race with a very hard-nosed attitude as well.
FS: Have you had any strange fan requests?
BK: There are always strange ones. I get a lot of autograph requests. I’ve autographed a lot of prosthetic limbs. I had someone invite me to dinner and then get mad because I didn’t go.
FS: You’re active on Twitter. You have 493,000 followers. Do you enjoy Twitter? Do you have a love-hate thing with it?
BK: I like it. The problem with the media today is that, if you look at history, we’ve always relied on the media to tell our stories and they’re gonna tell our stories, but they’re gonna tell them in a way that is positive to sell papers or getting clicks or whatever it might be. Social media gives me an opportunity to tell my own story and tell it in a complete form that wasn’t necessarily in the best interest of the media itself when they tell it for you. I like that ability. It’s difficult sometimes to deal with the naysayers, but that’s part of the deal. You just have to have thick skin.
FS: Do you get a lot of negative tweets?
BK: I think athletes in general get a fair amount of negative tweets. You just have to blow them off. It’s part of it.
FS: We talked earlier about you getting a celebrity girlfriend. Do you ever hit up celebrities on Twitter?
BK: I haven’t lately.
FS: Lately? Who have you hit up in the past?
BK: I was a big Jennifer Love Hewitt fan, but she got married and pregnant. I’ve moved on.
FS: If you were to reach out to a female celebrity, maybe for Valentine’s Day, who would it be?
BK: I don’t know. I don’t have ONE. I’m a guy, I want them all. Why does it always have to be limiting?