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Hamlin, Keselowski clash at Daytona's opening weekend
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! MORE: Hamlin wears special pair of Jordans for 'The Clash' DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Brad Keselowski checked over the damage to his No. 2 Ford's right-front fender, the result of a last-lap crunch in a tense contest for the lead with Denny Hamlin 's No. 11 Toyota in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. The contact cost Keselowski a victory in a season-opening exhibition that -- despite his superspeedway acumen -- he's now 0-for-5 in. But after conferring with crew chief Paul Wolfe and expressing his dismay, he had no regrets in choosing to keep his foot on the gas -- and serving notice that in similar circumstances, he'd do it again. "It's unfortunate. I had to make the move," Keselowski said after Sunday's matinee at Daytona International Speedway . "I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again." The final-lap collision that scuttled the chances of two of the best restrictor-plate racers in the sport allowed Keselowski's Team Penske stablemate Joey Logano to scoot to a victory in a race delayed a day by persistent Saturday night rain. Neither Keselowski nor Hamlin seemed especially peeved by their own (lower-case) clash, the last of four incidents in the unofficial opener to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Both drivers started on the front row by virtue of a Friday draw. By the time the white flag flew, they were 1-2 again after combining to lead all but nine of the 75 laps. But Keselowski had an extra level of headway in the form of Logano, who finally linked up with his teammate in the waning laps to give both drivers an aerodynamic assist. The fast-closing Keselowski dipped to the low side of the track through the first and second turns, forcing Hamlin to chop-block into his path. The two cars wedged together, with Hamlin swerving into a lazy spin off course and Keselowski limping to the checkers to finish a distant sixth. "I was in a bad spot there," said Hamlin, who took 13th place in the 17-car invitational field. "He was just coming so much faster than what I was. There's not much that I could have done to defend." If nothing else, the non-points exhibition helped take a stick to the offseason cobwebs ahead of next Sunday's Daytona 500 (Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The revival of "The Clash" name brought back at least a nominal nod to history. The racing brought another reminder of the mercurial nature of the high-speed dance at the 2.5-mile track. "Yeah, you're definitely pulling all the strings, but that's the game," Keselowski said. "That's part of what the fun is. You have to be two moves ahead, like a chess game." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Brian Keselowski hopes 'Dega spurs another start
RELATED: Full race results from Talladega Brian Keselowski was all smiles on pit road after finishing 17th in the Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, as he debriefed with his team and chatted with those surrounding him. But under the smile lay a level of disappointment -- his chance at his first NASCAR major series victory in his first Truck start had faded away like his diminishing fuel cell, the culprit of Keselowski's demise in the final laps of the fred's 250 presented by Coca-Cola. "I'm emotional. I'm really proud of how we ran," Keselowski said on pit road after the race. "I'm disappointed that it was probably my only chance. We'll see how it works out." Keselowski -- who is a crew chief for ARCA driver Matt Kurzejewski and part-time driver in the series -- seemed poised for victory, as he was lined up to restart fourth for a green-white-checkered attempt in a Ford owned by his brother Brad Keselowski . His performance throughout the day had shown brighter than his lack of experience behind the wheel of a truck, as he had battled back to the front after getting slapped with a pit road speeding penalty early, and even led 10 laps around the 2.66-mile track. "We worked our way through the pack really quick and I was like, 'Wow, that's good,' " Keselowski said. "… All of a sudden we're out in front of a pack and everybody is starting to pit and we're weaving our way through traffic and the 4 (of Erik Jones ) is with me and I'm like, 'We might be leading this thing.' " But determination can take a driver only so far. Prior to the restart, Keselowski made the disappointing trudge down pit road, his No. 29 truck fuel cell as dry as the Alabama asphalt. It was a moment that was heart sinking for Brad Keselowski Racing team owner and younger brother Brad Keselowski , who had given Brian the opportunity to pilot the No. 29 for injured Austin Theriault . "I really thought he was going to win it," Brad Keselowski said, tilting his head back in dismay in the Talladega garage after Saturday's Sprint Cup Series qualifying session. "… He did great, he really did. I was really happy to see him run up front, disappointed he didn't finish off, but he did everything I could ever ask him to and more." Brad Keselowski 's girlfriend Paige White tweeted at Brian after the race, saying that their motorcoach needed a new floor due to Brad's pacing during the Truck race. "You made him proud!" she said. Despite the finish that was marred with disappointment, Brian Keselowski 's strong showing at the superspeedway gave the 34-year-old driver one crucial element: confidence. "It kind of validated what I always thought -- that I could do it, I just never had a chance." Keselowski said. And win or not, its certainly a performance Keselowski hoped others were watching. "We had a really good truck," Keselowski said. "I hope I showed somebody I could do it."
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's , on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski . It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski . But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron Keselowski , an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series. "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski , now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Hamlin, Keselowski top practices for 'The Clash'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Practice 2 " Results Joe Gibbs Racing 's newest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Daniel Suarez , got his first drafting practice in the No. 19 Arris Toyota with teammates Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin in Friday's final practice session for Saturday's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Hamlin led the second session at Daytona International Speedway with a top speed of 196.528 mph in the No. 11 Toyota as the team also rolled out the 2018 Camrys. Suarez was right behind him on the leaderboard at 198.279 mph with Busch third (196.249 mph) and Kenseth fourth (196.224 mph). Joey Logano rounded out the top five in the evening session in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford at 195.584 mph. Jamie McMurray was the lone driver to sit out final practice. Practice 1 " Results Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars fired up and hit the track for the first time in 2017 in practice Friday for Saturday's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Joey Logano came out on track first in the 55-minute practice session and laid down a quick lap of 190.795 mph in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. But his Team Penske teammate Keselowski finished the session atop the leaderboard at 191.604 mph in his No. 2 Ford. Logano finished third with a top speed of 191.351 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing came out strong in the opening session, piloting its Fords. Kevin Harvick laid down a lap at 190.743 mph for fourth place in the No. 4, with teammate Danica Patrick in fifth at 190.367 mph in the No. 10 Ford. Chip Ganassi Racing 's Kyle Larson was second-fastest in the first practice at 191.436 mph in the No. 42 Chevrolet. None of the five Toyotas -- Joe Gibbs Racing 's Nos. 11, 18, 19 and 20 ( Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth , respectively), as well as Furniture Row Racing 's No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr . -- participated in the first practice session. Kurt Busch and the No. 41 team of Stewart-Haas Racing also sat out opening practice. Saturday's action at Daytona International Speedway begins at 11:30 a.m. ET (FS1) with the opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET Feb. 26, FOX, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.) &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Talent, persistence and couch surfing lead Briscoe to Truck ride
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! For Chase Briscoe, stock car racing seemed an unrealistic goal. Having excelled on dirt, switching to pavement racing was never really the plan. Then he participated – and finished second – in the 2013 PEAK Stock Car Challenge. Soon thereafter, Briscoe made a move to North Carolina, slept on couches, and volunteered at shops while looking for a big break. Three years later, Briscoe's a success story. "I ended up going to one shop, and they let me have a test session, and that's the team I drove for last year and won the championship with," Briscoe said of Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series. However, entering the year, Briscoe had just a handful of asphalt starts under his belt. Which made his unstoppable season hard to ignore. In 20 races, Briscoe earned six wins, six poles, with 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, and 949 laps led. This year, Briscoe takes the next step with a full-time ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . In the Ford Performance driver development program, Briscoe will pilot Brad Keselowsk i Racing's No. 29 truck. "The biggest thing going from dirt to asphalt is the patience when it comes to racing on pavement," Briscoe said. "Two-hundred miles is a long time, and I'm used to 25 laps. There's a lot more that can happen and a lot more you can control in longer races. "There's many opportunities to throw a race away when you're going 200 miles, whether it's on pit road or restarts. So, I think the biggest thing (I've learned) is trying to execute an entire race. That's the one thing I've really tried to make myself better at over the past year." Briscoe's quick adaption to pavement is as impressive as his signing with BKR. During his time volunteering at race shops, Briscoe crossed paths with Brian Keselowski , who encouraged his move south. Brian was also in brother and team owner Brad's ear about Briscoe. Briscoe didn't wait around. When Austin Theriault was hurt driving for BKR in late 2015, Briscoe went and offered his services. Then during his ARCA tear, Briscoe was introduced to Brad. By the time Briscoe won the championship, he was offered the truck deal. "My goal is going to be just like it was in the ARCA," Briscoe said. "William Byron set the bar really high as far as rookie wins go. I'd love to beat that and hopefully beat it by a couple. Winning the championship (would) be big, it's a different format than what I ran with ARCA, but if you can win races, it rewards you. So, win races and hopefully a championship." As for sleeping on couches, it wasn't all bad. " Christopher Bell was there," Briscoe said of his friend. "Bell had the spare bedroom with the air mattress, and I was on the couch … It'll be fun racing with him; it's nice to have somebody that I know that I can go to who has experience with trucks like he does from last year." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Keselowski hires familiar face for BKR ride
Brad Keselowski posted a blog late Thursday evening indicating that a new driver will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford -- his brother, Brian . The elder Keselowski will suit up for next Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM). The ride was opened up because the truck's full-time driver, Austin Theriault , was injured in an accident during the Rhino Linings 350 on Oct. 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . On short notice, Keselowski kept it close to home. Excited to announce the newest member of our @TeamBKR truck team, my brother @KeselowskiBrian . My blog on why now: http://t.co/zo1UG9xTIp — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) October 16, 2015 Brian was more than thrilled at the notion. I've been waiting most if my life to say this, I get to drive the #29 truck @TalladegaSuperS ! I'm so excited I can hardly stop smiling — Brian Keselowski (@KeselowskiBrian) October 16, 2015
Brad Keselowski Racing reveals '17 Truck Series lineup
CONCORD, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) announced its team lineup details for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season at the National Motorsports Press Association annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. Austin Cindric will pilot the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 and Chase Briscoe, who was recently named as the first driver in the Ford Performance development program, joins the organization as the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150. Cindric and Briscoe will both compete on a full-time basis as they pursue the NCWTS championship for BKR. Doug Randolph, who has been atop the pit box at BKR since 2012, will serve as crew chief for Cindric, while two-time NCWTS championship-winning crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. will lead the effort for Briscoe. "We're very fortunate to have partners like Cooper Standard and Horizon Global, with brands like Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog, that make it possible to give two young drivers an opportunity. And that's something I'm very proud of," team owner Brad Keselowski said. "Austin Cindric has already had success in various forms of racing, and has shown a lot of potential in our Ford F-150 race trucks. I certainly believe that Chase is ready to take the next step in his career, and we're excited to have him join the BKR family. He won the ARCA championship in his first full-time season, and he's proven to have the ability to learn quickly and win races. We're pleased to give both Austin and Chase the opportunity to compete full-time at a high level in NASCAR." Cindric, 18, has six NCWTS series starts dating back to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October 2015 -- all with BKR. He made four starts with BKR in 2016, qualifying a career-best second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario). Cindric scored victories in the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway and in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway. "This is a massive opportunity from Brad and everyone at BKR who trusts me and believes in my abilities as a driver to move on to the next level for a full season," said Cindric. "2017 gets more and more exciting for me with every day that goes by. I've only done a handful of one-off races in my brief stock car career, so I'm really looking forward to having the same guys by my side week in and week out. I've spent a lot of time at the shop the last few weeks and I know everyone is really excited to get back racing." The past two seasons for Briscoe read like a Hollywood screenplay. The 22-year-old Mitchell, Indiana, native joined Cunningham Motorsports in 2015 as a volunteer in the team's shop, and just one year later, the rookie driver was celebrating the ARCA Racing Series Championship. Briscoe led the series in wins (six, including four consecutive victories) and poles (six). He finished with 14 top fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 races. "It's is an absolutely huge opportunity and such an honor to drive for Brad," said Briscoe. "The competition level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is so high, but I'm going to be in the best equipment out there. It's really cool to once again be working with the Keselowski family. When I moved to North Carolina three years ago, I was helping Brian and Bob in their shop, so things have come full circle. I'm truly blessed with this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it. At the end of the day, it's all about winning races and championships, and that's what I plan to do."
Keselowski completes weekend sweep of qualifying
Brian Scott will join Brad Keselowski on the front row
Brad Keselowski , Paige White get married
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and fiancée Paige White were married on Feb. 10 in a ceremony the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion said would "live on forever." Keselowski tweeted the news and posted a video of the event Saturday evening. Last night will live on forever, an amazing night w/my bride @PaigeKeselowski & our family/friends! https://t.co/UY2rcSMJwh ⚖️ — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) February 11, 2017 Best night ever! ❤ https://t.co/JxcsQzcpng — Paige (@PaigeKeselowski) February 11, 2017 The two dated for years before announcing their engagement in December 2016 -- a lavish proposal in which Keselowski dropped to one knee in front of a beautiful horse and carriage, the moment captured by a photographer and shared on Twitter. Crazy fun day, this was more nerve racking than 500 miles @TalladegaSuperS ! Ps: she said yes pic.twitter.com/mfR0TcoPBp — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) December 12, 2016 Keselowski , who turns 33 on Sunday, and his wife have one child together, Scarlett, who will turn 2 in May. Congrats to the happy couple!
Keselowski shows speed in final Darlington practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results " 10-lap averages Brad Keselowski closed out final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice with the fastest lap Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway . Keselowski registered a best lap of 174.649 mph in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford in the 80-minute final prep for Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kurt Busch posted the second-fastest lap with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet at 174.031 mph. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson , fastest in opening practice, was third-best in final practice (174.019 mph), followed by teammate Kasey Kahne (173.656 mph) and Richard Childress Racing 's Paul Menard (173.454 mph) to complete the top five. Kyle Larson , last weekend's winner at Michigan International Speedway , added his name to the list of drivers scraping the wall for a "Darlington Stripe." His No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet sustained minor right-side damage early in the session. Brian Scott replicated the mishap in the session's final two minutes, scrubbing the outside wall with the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 44 Ford. He finished the session 13th. Defending race winner Carl Edwards notched the seventh-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota (172.826 mph). Pole-starter Kevin Harvick , who inherited the first starting spot after Hurricane Hermine's effects scrapped all Friday on-track activity, was 19th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Two-time winner Greg Biffle was the fastest in the 10-lap average category, driving the Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford. He landed in the sixth spot during final practice (173.234 mph). Johnson sets pace in first practice Jimmie Johnson roared to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup leaderboard in opening practice Saturday at Darlington Raceway . Johnson guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 to a best lap of 176.025 mph on the 1.366-mile track. He'll start ninth in Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) after severe weather related to Hurricane Hermine washed away Coors Light Pole Qualifying and all other on-track activity Friday. Denny Hamlin was second-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota with a lap of 175.060 mph in the 85-minute session. Ryan Blaney , Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman closed out the top five. Points leader Kevin Harvick , who will start from the pole position after Friday's qualifying rainout, was 11th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon -- making another substitute start for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who is sidelined for the rest of the season with concussion-like symptoms -- was 14th-best in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Defending race winner Carl Edwards landed the 22nd-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. A handful of drivers scraped the wall in the opening session, earning "Darlington Stripes" with mostly minor right-side damage. Among them were Brad Keselowski , Blaney and defending Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch . Danica Patrick also overshot pit road late in the practice, looping her No. 10 Chevrolet without damage.