Modern NASCAR has had a problem for years with a new sanitized version of what stock car racing used to be. The drivers look and talk like they read off a script plus if you listen intently, it's almost as if the drivers all got together with talking points and then they all spew out the same quotes. And hardly ever will you hear a negative note, although I'm certain many check their thoughts at the door in case NASCAR is listening.
There's more deficiencies but we'll not get into the 'what's wrong with NASCAR'. Instead, there's a newer up-and-coming superstar who tells it like it is. And yet, he seems to be a lot more articulate than any other driver in the garage: Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing.
Bad but with a brain
Sometimes known for his nickname, 'Bad Brad', Keselowski is a 21st Century NASCAR stock car driver with a 20th Century attitude. Now, I'm not talking about Hall-of-Famers like a run-your-mouth kind of guy such as Darrell Waltrip was or short-and-sweet no nonsense driver like Dale Earnhardt Sr. or for that matter, a surly and short grumbler like David Parsons. And by the way, I'm not insinuating that Keselowski is a future Hall-of Famer … yet.
No, Keselowski may drive hard like Waltrip, Earnhardt, Parsons plus Cale Yarborough but the 28 year old from Michigan has the easy articulate way that maybe is more like part Ned Jarrett, another Hall-of-Famer. Brad K doesn't mind hard driving as long as everyone's okay with it and no one arbitrarily takes someone else out. But bumping and and grinding is fine.
Brad has just seven wins and he's in only his third full season of Cup racing, but he has proved he deserves the accolades like the next up-and-coming superstar because for one, he already won a NASCAR championship. He's the 2010 Nationwide series champion after coming in third twice in-a-row the previous two years. Keselowski has 20 victories to his credit in Nationwide.
He is fifth in the points for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and nobody has more victories this year than Brad's current three. He also has three wins in Nationwide plus three second places, driving a limited schedule. He also has a Truck team for which he drove five times this year and has come in second twice. In fact, after the just concluded Michigan race where he finished second - that's two-in-a-row overall - Brad said: "I think they're going to start calling me 'Silver Medal' since I've finished second in three of the last four races." (Source - Gaston Gazette)
No "Flintstone pills"
And what he says brings out what I as a fan would call charm. He's articulate, yet to the point - a hard combination to find nowadays. When Brad's teammate A.J. Allmendinger was tested positive by NASCAR for what then was an unknown substance, Keselowski said: "I don't feel you should be allowed to take Flintstone pills."
After Michigan, Jimmie Johnson had left early without talking to reporters after his Hendrick engine had blown up. Keselowski didn't mind jumping into the fray with a little acerbic verbiage saying: "I can taste the legitimacy of being a championship contender." Keselowski infers that the Hendrick cars aren't exactly legal when he furthers suggests: "There's parts and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that make the car more competitive." (Source - ESPN)
Brad Keselowski is a serious driver and doesn't think there should be any extra supplements or tricks allowed. He's not afraid to call people out and he does it eloquently, if a bit callously.
Again when Allmendinger was under suspension of some sort of illegal supplement, Keselowski didn't sugar-coat his disdain for what his teammate did. To that point he said: "Man up and drive the damn racecar."
And that's what Keselowski does very well - he drives a racecar. The new star is a cut different than others and it's refreshing to this fan. Let's hope others learn from Keselowski. Of course, they need a bright mind to go with the quips and the hard-charging driving style of Bad Brad. For now, I guess we'll just have to wait for and listen to what Keselowski has to say. It will be good, whatever it is.
Sources - ESPN, Racing Reference
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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