February 10, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Every NASCAR season generates feud upon feud, drivers scuffling with each other over the course of a race or a month. You can come up with 2010's without thinking too hard: Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch vs. Jimmie Johnson, Harvick vs. Joey Logano, Logano vs. Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon vs. Jeff Burton, and on and on an on.
Conventional wisdom holds that the drivers let those feuds go over the offseason, that they don't carry grudges from year to year. But according to one of NASCAR's feistiest drivers, conventional wisdom is dead wrong.
"I don't think there is a 'reset period,'" Brad Keselowski said Thursday morning. "I was watching a replay of the Homestead race, and watching Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick wrecking each other, or however you look at it, and thinking to myself that I'm pretty sure that Kyle didn't forget about that over the winter."
Keselowski, no stranger to on-track brawling himself, noted that he too keeps a running track of who he believes deserves a little payback. "We don't forget," he said.
"I don't keep a list," he added, and then amended, "well, maybe I do. But it's not written down." He joked that he kept it on his phone, and titled it simply, "The List." You can probably guess which duck-sponsored driver leads that list.
It was a rare relaxed moment amid the processed sound-bite culture of Daytona Media Day. In the morning session of Media Day, drivers are paraded before cameras and microphones for hours on end, answering basically the same questions over and over. ("Is Jimmie vulnerable?", "What do you remember about Dale Earnhardt?") And from a roster that included everyone from Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick to Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya, Keselowski emerged as the people's champion.
While most drivers were content to do their requisite 15 minutes and bolt, Keselowski hung around for nearly an hour, chatting about anything and everything from Dodge's position in the NASCAR marketplace to "Jersey Shore." ("I feel like I lose a point of IQ for every minute I watch.")
Keselowski admits that he has a long way to go before being considered an elite driver, or even a Chase-level one. But he's hoping that the paring of Penske from three teams to two will help.
He also noted that it's still a little strange to be driving the Blue Deuce, but added that every driver of the Miller Lite Dodge has won a championship. He also pointed out that his car now had a helpful "Brad" on the back. Maybe it was to help fans remember who was driving, or "maybe Jeff Gordon," Keselowski laughed.
Because drivers may not forget their rivalries, but now and then they may lose track of who's running which colors.
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