Brad Keselowski looks forward to challenges of Gateway, Indy
What’s up, guys!
We’re officially halfway through the NASCAR season and, man, it has flown by. It seems like yesterday we were in Daytona for Speedweeks. I’ve had a good first year at Penske Racing. We’re running up front almost every week in the Nationwide Series and I can see progress being made every race on the Sprint Cup side. There is a lot of racing left and we have a lot of work left to do, but I’m excited about what the future holds.
The No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Charger in the Nationwide Series is running as well as I could have imagined. Three wins on three different racetracks is a testament to that. With a few exceptions, we are a top-five car every time we cross through the tunnel. Unfortunately, we lost a few points at Chicago when I ran past my pit stall. That was driver error and as bad as I felt about it, I really thought we were going to be OK. If the caution doesn’t come out with five laps to go, I think we finish second, but that’s racing. When things like that happen it makes you thankful that you have a fairly big lead in the points. This weekend we head to Gateway International Raceway, which is a fun place to race. It’s a very unique racetrack in that it is egg-shaped, like Darlington Raceway, but it has different degrees of banking at each end, too. It’s a challenging place and a place where I’ve worked to get better.
I know a lot of you were as excited as I was about the debut of the new Dodge Challenger. What a cool race car! It’s a lot of fun to drive too. Winning the first pole in the Challenger was pretty special. I wish we could’ve won the first race, but I was happy for my friend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. That was a pretty wild Victory Lane.
Many people don’t know that Dodge has been with the Keselowski family for decades. My father, Bob, and my uncle, Ron, raced Challengers throughout the Midwest in the 1970s. It’s great to see that make back in the sport. It’s even better that it is with Penske Racing.
On the Cup side, I think we’ve turned a corner with the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger. I was really happy with how we started the season, but we hit a little bit of a lull late in the spring. Our last two races have been very solid. We didn’t get the finish we deserved at Daytona when we ran inside the top 10 for most of the race. That’s restrictor-plate racing, though. At Chicago last week, we were close – just a tenth or so away – from being a top-10 car again.
The second half of the season truly begins in two weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s a race that I’ve had circled in my mind for several reasons. One, I think we should be very competitive. We took part in the Goodyear tire test there earlier in the year and came away with a bunch of notes that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Second, everyone wants to race at Indy and this will be my first time. Unlike most other drivers, however, I’m driving for Roger Penske. Mr. Penske has had as much success at Indianapolis as anyone. That track means a lot to him and, because of that, it means a lot to all of the drivers at Penske Racing.
As I write this I’m on the plane back from a short trip to Lake Tahoe. Discount Tire has an annual company retreat out there every year. This year was their 50th anniversary. Being my first trip to Tahoe, I had no idea what to expect. I’d heard a lot about it, but it was much more than I expected. What a beautiful place. Next year, I’m going out earlier.
See you in Victory Lane.