Keselowski gives big bro a truck ride, but doesn’t tell mom
As a Camping World Truck Series team owner, Brad Keselowski enjoys giving opportunities to young drivers in the sport.
However, for next weekend’s truck race at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad has appointed someone who is older than him to drive the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford.
That driver isn’t just anyone, however. It’s his older brother, Brian, who has limited racing experience — most notably, three Sprint Cup Series starts, including one at the 2011 Daytona 500.
Brian, who at age 34 is two-and-a-half years Brad’s elder, spends most of his time as a crew chief in the ARCA Series where he’s made a total of 39 starts as a driver, including three this year.
Brian has never raced a truck, though, so having him make his series debut at a track known for high speeds, close-quarters, three- and four-wide racing and major multi-vehicle wrecks was an idea Brad admits he was initially reluctant to entertain.
"It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and sometimes when those things come together you just feel like it came together for a reason, and so that’s kind of how I feel about that particular topic," Brad, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, said on Friday at Kansas Speedway. "I’m really happy about it. He’s my brother, so I’m gonna have to watch as a nervous brother, which is a little different than a nervous car owner, because as a nervous car owner, you’re counting the dollars.
"As a nervous brother you’re saying, ‘Oh, it’s Talladega.’ But Brian has some pretty good experience on the plate tracks, having run the Daytona 500 and the (Daytona) Duels and done all that, so I feel pretty confident he’ll have a good day, and I’m just really excited to kind of be able to provide that opportunity for him."
The seat of the No. 29 BKR truck was originally scheduled to be filled at Talladega by driver Austin Theriault, who is now recovering from a back injury suffered in the recent truck race at Las Vegas. With Theriault sidelined for the time being, Brad needed a driver for Talladega and found a willing candidate in his older sibling.
"I wish the circumstances were better and that someone didn’t have to get hurt for that to happen," Brad said. "That’s probably the first thing I would say, but on the other side of it, I’m fortunate to have a partner with Cooper Standard and Ford that will allow me to do things like that, and that’s a really good feeling."
Brad didn’t feel so good about being the one to tell his mother, Kay, that he had picked Brian to race at Talladega, however. So he chose another option.
"I didn’t tell her," he said. "I was nervous she would be thinking, ‘Talladega. Why Talladega?’ But I was nervous she would be worried about Talladega, so I let her kind of find out on her own. It was like, ‘Who broke the window?’ I figured she would kind of figure it out on her own and be OK, but she was very excited about it, too."