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Brad Keselowski celebrates his first NCWTS victory in 62 starts and explains how Thursday’s victory carries a special sense of pride.
Brad Keselowski holds on to win his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race despite a final charge by Darrell Wallace Jr. in the final laps.
For Keselowski , a championship pursuit doesn't include local-track races RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today The last time Brad Keselowski ran a short track race outside of NASCAR was last summer, when he took part in a charity event in Canada to benefit his Checkered Flag Foundation. It was an exception, given that the 2012 champion of NASCAR's top series doesn't typically compete in local track events. The reason is simple -- his car owner, Roger Penske, doesn't want him to. But that doesn't mean Keselowski believes all NASCAR drivers should steer clear of local races, an issue which raised its head again this past weekend when three-time champion Tony Stewart was involved in an incident at an upstate New York sprint-car venue that cost fellow competitor Kevin Ward Jr. his life. That came one year after a crash at a sprint-car race in Iowa that left Stewart with a broken leg, and cost him much of his 2013 season. Although Stewart co-owns his NASCAR team, instances like those have led some to wonder whether it's time to end the practice of elite NASCAR drivers moonlighting in extracurricular events. But you won't find Keselowski leading the charge on that front. "No, not really, to be honest with you. I think there's no one‑size‑fits‑all program that really makes sense for this. Each driver has his own interests. Those interests vary between one guy might want to go run sprint like Tony, another might want to run late model like Kyle Busch . Who knows. Maybe it's a dune buggy. I've heard some guys doing that. Travis Pastrana went BASE jumping one week last year," Keselowski said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. "That's what makes us who we are. That's what makes us tick. The racing grind can really wear down on you. You have to do certain things that work for you in your life to make you happy to keep you going, to keep you at a very high level with your own happiness. It's difficult to try and limit anyone to those things. That's not just a racer, that would be any employer. So I don't see coming in and stopping those things. I think every situation's different." In Keselowski's situation, he does virtually none at all. The Team Penske driver estimated that the charity race in Canada was the only local-track event he's run in the past five or six years. "That's at the request of my car owner. I respect him for that. I get a lot of opportunities. I had one this week to run in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for one of their big races. I had to turn it down. It's not because I don't want to do it. Believe me, I want to do it. I'm a racer. I'd love the opportunity. Those were huge races that I never got the opportunity to race in on my way up, and would love to fulfill that opportunity now, go out there and have a shot at winning," said Keselowski , a Michigan native who came up on short tracks in the region. "The reality is, there's 350-some employees here at Penske Racing . Each one of them has their salary compensated through revenues generated by sponsors and fans that are counting on me to drive the car. If something were to happen to me in those races, whether we want to admit it or not, there's a higher chance of that happening, all of our sponsors, all of the people that pay for us to do these things, have the right to go away. It threatens the job and the livelihood of 350 some employees at Team Penske, Penske Racing. That's the decision, that's the balance that we have to make, that we have to weigh out." Keselowski still has a full plate when it comes to racing -- he's competing for the Team Penske stable in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway , and owns the entries of Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano that will be in Saturday's Camping World Truck Series race on the 2-mile track. Keselowski has also competed eight times this season in Penske's No. 22 Nationwide Series car, which will be driven Saturday at Mid-Ohio by Alex Tagliani. "This sounds a little bit ridiculous, but I think you have to dream big. One of my goal sets for the year was being a part of winning all three championships," Keselowski said. "The Sprint Cup championship is a priority. I think we're in position to make a run at that. The Nationwide owner's championship for Roger Penske, we are certainly in a position to win that. I think we're five or six points out with a lot of races left. Then the Truck championship with Ryan Blaney, who is leading the championship points. In a lot of ways this is shaping up to be a career‑best year for me if we can close it all out. I think we have a great opportunity for that." For Keselowski these days, that pursuit doesn't include local-track races -- although he sees no issue if other top NASCAR drivers, or their team owners, feel differently. "When those opportunities come up, everybody walks that line a little bit differently," he said. "At Penske Racing we probably walk it the furthest on the conservative side. That's worked for us so far. Then again, we've missed out on some opportunities. It's a very difficult balancing act and line to walk. Everyone is entitled to their own right and own way of walking it." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch talk about coming up short at Watkins Glen.
Trio of UNOH 200 competitors receive P2 penalties post-Bristol
Four spots in the Chase Grid remain heading into the 25th race of the season RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today All 12 race winners in 2014 have clinched a spot in the top 30 in driver points and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, provided they attempt to qualify for the final two races of the regular season. Those drivers, in current Chase Grid order, include: Jeff Gordon , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano , Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , AJ Allmendinger , Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola . If a winless driver is victorious this weekend, and is 49 or more points ahead of 31st place, he or she will also clinch a spot. If there is a repeat winner, the top 3 winless drivers would clinch if they are at least 45 points ahead of the fourth highest winless driver after the Oral-B USA 500 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman , Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle are in the provisional grid for now and on the bubble. The first four on the outside looking in include: Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne , Austin Dillon and Paul Menard . Kahne is a two-time winner at Atlanta (2006, '09). Kenseth controls his destiny if he scores 32 points AND there's a repeat winner. If there's a new winner, he's guaranteed a clinch with 37 points. See the full rundown below. 2014 Chase Grid Outlook Pos. Drivers Wins Points Chase Bonus Pts 1 Jeff Gordon 3 845 9 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 818 9 3 Brad Keselowski 3 776 9 4 Joey Logano 3 761 9 5 Jimmie Johnson 3 726 9 6 Kevin Harvick 2 721 6 7 Carl Edwards 2 716 6 8 Kyle Busch 1 629 3 9 Denny Hamlin 1 594 3 10 AJ Allmendinger 1 586 3 11 Kurt Busch 1 582 3 12 Aric Almirola 1 559 3 13 Matt Kenseth 0 751 0 14 Ryan Newman 0 710 0 15 Clint Bowyer 0 699 0 16 Greg Biffle 0 694 0 Outside Looking In 17 Kyle Larson 0 668 0 18 Kasey Kahne 0 661 0 19 Austin Dillon 0 654 0 20 Paul Menard 0 649 0 21 Jamie McMurray 0 634 0 22 Marcos Ambrose 0 626 0 23 Brian Vickers 0 621 0 24 Casey Mears 0 561 0 25 Martin Truex Jr. 0 540 0 26 Tony Stewart 0 537 0 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0 514 0 28 Danica Patrick 0 462 0 29 Justin Allgaier 0 425 0 30 David Gilliland 0 376 0 Green = Locked into the Chase, provided they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races Orange = No wins, Inside the current Chase Grid's top 16 - Currently in the Chase, not locked in Red = Inside the current top 30 in points, outside of the Chase cutoff MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
2012 Sprint Cup champ now one of 25 drivers to win in all three national series
Brad Keselowski had to hold off a late charge by Michael McDowell and others but was able to earn his third NASCAR Nationwide Series win of 2014.