Brad Keselowski Celebrates 2010 NNS Championship


 

It’s official. Brad Keselowski has taken Dodge and Penske Racing to the pinnacle of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keselowski was officially crowned the 2010 Nationwide champion following Saturday’s 300-mile season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s the first title in the division for Dodge and seventh overall in the three NASCAR national series. For Penske Racing, it’s the first NASCAR title in the team’s history.
 


“It’s been a long ride to get here,” Keselowski said. “It’s been a good ride, a lot of fun. It’s pretty amazing. To not having a job in this sport just a few years back and thinking that I’d have to get a real job to being out here and winning the championship, it’s amazing. Hopefully, we can carry this success to the Cup side.”
 

Keselowski clinched the title two races ago at Texas, but NASCAR delays all championship celebrations until the final race weekend of the season.
 

“It feels really good,” he said. “Obviously, for us, that meant we could come here and just take a gamble to win, and we did that. We took a pretty large gamble to win towards the end. It didn’t quite pay off, but it felt good that we knew at the end of the day, we didn’t leave anything on the table. For that, I’m very proud.
 

“Throughout the year, I think if you look at the way we’ve raced, we haven’t raced in a championship mode for the most part. We’ve raced in a let’s go for win mode. We took gambles at tracks like Atlanta and so forth. Those were gambles to win the race. We probably lost some spots because of that, but we’re all about doing what we can to win races. We kept that up and got even more aggressive with it here tonight.”
 

Keselowski finished third in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger for his 26th top-five of the 35-race season, a Nationwide Series record for top fives. He visited victory lane six times and had only six finishes outside the top 10. He completed every lap during the season except one.
 

“It’s amazing to think that we’ve raced so many times here and won races in open wheel, but to come back here and this be the site for the championship is unbelievable,” said car owner Roger Penske. “When you think just a year ago, when we decided to put this team together and Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) and Brad agreed to come on board, we said let’s build something from the ground, a whole new team. That’s what’s we’ve done this year. When you think about what Dodge went through, bankruptcy, and said ‘stay with us, don’t leave us,’ and today you see Detroit and what’s happened. We’re so proud of representing that mark through the season. Seven wins in this series and a number of poles. Of course for Brad, a Michigan guy, I think that we brought this whole thing back to Michigan. That’s pretty important to us and the state. For me, it’s a real thrill. This goes down as something that I’ve tried so hard with on the Cup side and certainly this will be a preamble to what’s going to come in the future.”
 

Four Dodge teams from Penske Racing competed in the race. All four spent time in the top 10, but late-race cautions played into the hands of teams with fresh tires and shuffled Keselowski’s teammates back in the closing laps. Justin Allgaier, competing in the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge for the last time before moving to another team in 2011, finished 11th. Parker Kligerman was close behind in 13th while Sam Hornish Jr., making his first Nationwide Series start since 2008, finished 21st.
 

Allgaier was involved in a four-car mishap on lap 30 that required an unscheduled pit stop for repairs, but the No. 12 crew had the Dodge back on the track without losing a lap. Pit strategy had the No. 12 back in the top 10 by the halfway mark and as high as fourth with 16 laps remaining.
 

“It was a bit of a frustrating night,” said Allgaier. “We got put in the fence early in the day and had to come back from it. I felt that we did a good job in the pits and out on the race track making spots up. We may have pitted too early there at the end. It’s such a tough call and we knew that we needed to take tires and we pitted. Sure enough, it got us to the front, but it wasn’t enough at the end. It was a solid 11th-place finish. I’ve got to thank all the Verizon Wireless Dodge guys at the track and at the shop. It’s been an awesome few years at Penske Racing and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to race for them.”
 

Kligerman ran as high as ninth on several occasions. “Our No. 42 Bandit Chippers Dodge Charger was really good tonight,” he said. “This was the first Nationwide race that I’ve started up front, ran top 10 the whole race and had awesome pit stops up until the second to last stop where we dropped a lug nut. That dropped us back. For a small team like this to run with the big dogs is great. We know that we’re fighting above our weight. They (the crew) did a great job all night long.”
 

Hornish ran in the top 20 throughout most of the race and was as high as eighth with just 30 laps to go, but he was no match for those teams with new tires for the last 50 miles.
 

“We got caught on old tires late in the race and lost some spots to finish 21st,” said Hornish. “We ran inside the top 15 most of the race and in the top 10 part of the night. We just didn’t have anything to run with the leaders at the end of the race.”
 

Race Results
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Ford 300
Homestead-Miami Speedway
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5. Trevor Bayne
6. Carl Edwards
7. Joey Logano
8. Brendan Gaughan
9. Paul Menard
10. Jason Leffler
11. Justin Allgaier
13. Parker Kligerman
21. Sam Hornish Jr.
 

NASCAR Nationwide
Series Point Standings
(After 35 of 35 Races)
1. Brad Keselowski 5639
2. Carl Edwards -445
3. Kyle Busch -705
4. Justin Allgaier -960
5. Paul Menard -1,172
6. Kevin Harvick -1,250
7. Trevor Bayne -1,598
8. Joey Logano -1,601
9. Jason Leffler -1,698
10. Steve Wallace -1,699


  • SUBLIME

    CONGRATULATIONS, BRAD KESELOWSKI!!! Job well done! Dodge wins another championship, thank you Penske, Dodge, and all those who worked so hard on Brad’s crew. At least the Nationwide isn’t as rigged as the Sprint Cup and someone with some peronality won it this time. Great job Brad!

  • HEMIhead

    Congrats! Brad & Team, Penske, and DODGE! Excellent to see Dodge in the championship circle! Hopefully next year will be great also.
    Sublime, I see they are starting to rig it already after Dodge’s Championship, by
    now changing rules so only Non Sprint Cup drivers can win the drivers championship.
    What next?

  • http://www.westcoastchallengers.com West Coast Challengers

    Congrats to Dodge, Brad and Penske Racing! Great team effort. Job well done. Special thanks to all of the sponsors like Discount Tire that helped make it happen as well.

  • tr4petty

    A BIG Congrats to Brad and his team for the NNS Championship! I recently bought a set of four aluminum wheels for my Dodge truck from Discount Tire BECAUSE they sponsor Brad in the NNS. I also drink Miller Lite because of their support for Kurt. We need to do all we can to support those who support our favorite Dodge drivers in Nascar.

  • ChuckZ

    Way to go Brad. You had enough points to sit the car on pit road during the last race and drink beers in the shade. Would have been funny, but you needed the owner points.

    I own a stone white 2010 Dodge Challenger and enjoyed you winning 2 of the 4 races in the Challenger this year. Awsome looking car. Thanks for your Nascar support Chrysler Dodge group. It was a great year.

    Can’t wait until 2011 when the Challenger runs full time in Nationwide.

  • tr4petty

    I really, really, like Brad Keselowski. Why? Because, if you look at his family history, you will see something that is rare these days; a definite preference for Mopars!!! There seems to be a lot of guys in the Nascar garages that are Chevy guys, Ford guys, and even, . . yuk, Toyota guys now, but since Dodge Motorsports dropped its’ support of Richard Petty, there hasn’t been anyone that I know of that would call themselves a Mopar guy; until now. I REALLY wish that Dodge would see how important it is to foster loyalty in the Nascar world and do whatever it takes to get Richard Petty Motorsports back into Chargers when his contract is up with Ford but, in the meantime, Brad gives us Mopar fans someone to cheer for.
    It was PAINFUL to watch the Nascar Sprint Cup Awards ceremony last night and see Chevy, Ford, and Toyota, touted by the drivers/owners of the top ten teams. Dodge was “skunked” in the Cup series; the most popular of the 3 top Nascar series BY FAR, and that was not easy to watch. I hope Ralph Gilles was watching also and realizing what an incredible marketing venue was missed out on by the lack of effort put forth by his Dodge division. I’ve got fingers and toes crossed, hoping for a better year in 2011 and a stepped-up effort by Dodge Motorsports in all 3 of Nascar’s top series. Us Mopar/Nascar fans are hungry for success in our favorite sport!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406026051 Clayton

      i like long races, but i`d also like to see some short ones somehow. i liked the old busch clash, 20 laps arnoud Daytona. hammer down from the start, don`t worry about tires, gas nothing. that was exciting, off course that was before restrictor plates. but i`d still like to see some like that thrown in somehow.people talk about races being snoozers, well long uneventful races will be snoozers. so don`t make them any longer. if they`re going to do anything, then don`t worry about a chase, find away to make individual races themselves more exciting. and several years ago some races were shortened, one example is Dover, it used to be 500 miles now it`s 400.

  • HEMIhead

    I agree with tr4petty. I think Brad Keselowski is a true Mopar guy and has given Dodge 100% this year in the Nationwide Series. I hope next year Dodge will make sure he gets all he needs for the Cup Series. Help him win the Cup Series Championship. When I looked at his parents on the Nationwide awards ceremony, they looked like two regular, average people trying to make a living, and it made me feel a whole lot more connected to the brand, and not like some millionaires racing Porsches. It’s the average joe loyalty that will bring in the sales. I am a average joe, wife, kids, dog, 9-5 days, and in my spare time, it’s all Mopar. I watch the races, root for the teams, and buy the merchandise. So, in my mind it’s important For Chrysler to be supportive in Nascar, and the local race scene. Make your presence known, and it will pay off.
    I wish Dodge could have been able to get Richard Petty back. He’s a big part of the Mopar heritage, and at no point in time should he have been able to get away from Chrysler.
    He’s been moving around so much lately, it’s getting a bit pathetic. You need some more driver loyalty on the track, you’ve turned your back on “The King” and thus ended up in a damaged relationship, and out of respect, I don’t think it could ever be repaired.
    Kahne is also gone, but to be honest, I think Brad K is 10 times the driver he is, and I think it
    will work out just fine. I’ll be giving Brad K 100% of my attention next season!

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead is correct. Brad is an outstanding driver with the right crew chief, motor and car. We also need a way to bring Richard back to Dodge. Every Mopar fan loves the King and it is just good PR to keep him with Dodge even if he just makes special edition Challengers and Chargers for dealers. Somehow he has to stay connected with the racing division and could possibly assist in making the race cars as well. Maybe he could make limited edition Charger Daytonas for Dodge with the big rear wing like the old days and slap a nose cone on them. The new Chargers look similar enough where he could do it and weld shut the back doors. I know a lot of us would love to get our hands on one.

  • HEMIhead

    Oh! Geez. Dodge won a Championship. Better hurry up Nascar and change those rules!
    Oh no! Junior had another bad year….better hurry up nascar and change those rules!
    Maybe make the chase the first 42 cars?
    I’ll tell you what Nascar – if Brad Keselowski picks the cup series to drive for a championship,
    I won’t have any reason to watch any Nationwide races. And I won’t be.
    Now that was a brainstorm “Brain” France has there. Lets see what happens to the TV ratings and
    attendance in 2011 for the Nationwide series. What a croc! Is that guy trying to destroy Nascar as
    much as possible before he retires.

  • SUBLIME

    Yes HEMIhead, the brain child seems to screw up everything. A quote from Jerry Gappens, president of New Hampshire Motor Speedway: “The demographic of 18 to 34 has dropped 67 percent over the last three years in NASCAR. Why shouldn’t it. You have to pay an arm and a leg to sit on hard bleachers in the hot sun for over three hours, get caught in traffic for three hours so you can watch Jimmy Johnson win another championship. Who would be foolish enough to waste almost the entire year watching races for this scenerio to repeat itself? If that isn’t bad enough, then we have to screw up the Nationwide series to lower their attendance by having no name race car drivers battle it out. Great stuff, but who cares if you were born into a family that is now filthy rich.