Following a rare Monster Energy Cup Series off-weekend, Brad Keselowski is ready to return to one of his favorite tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500.
“Bristol represents a physical and mental challenge unlike any other track in the sport, but I like that challenge and suspense,” says the two-time Bristol winner.
It’s expected that the No. 2 car will unload off the hauler with some speed, as the iconic Blue Deuce has built quite the reputation at the legendary Tennessee short track. Originally piloted by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, he took the familiar blue livery to the hallowed grounds of victory lane a total of seven times. Former teammate Kurt Busch then took the reins and led the Deuce to one more victory.
“The No. 2 car has been a marquee car for a while. It’s well beyond my time and all those pieces together make it a thrill and an honor to drive that car,” Brad says on having his time behind the wheel of Roger Penske’s car.
One of the historic tracks in motorsports, Bristol has withstood the test of time, to the point that Brad doesn’t believe that even the new Stage system will change anything at the hectic short track.
“I not really sure the new format is going to impact Bristol Motor Speedway,” he said. “We’re going to learn real quick that track has been one that’s so dynamic the bottom, the top of the race track, and the middle of the race track. You seemed like you run every lane and it’s like you have to be so adaptive as drivers which makes it a fun challenge but we’ve had a lot of success through the years, and hopefully we can do it again and win another race here.”
As Team Penske has appealed crew chief Paul Wolfe’s suspension, it removes a few challenges from the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, allowing the two-time NASCAR champion shot-caller to perform at track duties this weekend. Wolfe’s hearing is currently scheduled for April 25, prior to next weekend’s action at Richmond.
A two-time Bristol winner, Brad also has 4 Top 5s, and 5 Top 10s to his credit at the concrete track. Ironically, as the Food City 500 laps the half-mile oval 500 times, BK has led 499 around the track — just one short of an entire race. The first of his triumphs came less than a month after hurting his ankle in a violent 2011 testing crash, while the second was en route to his 2012 Championship.
The last time the MENCS tour visited a half-mile short track in Martinsville Speedway, Brad took the dominant car and piloted it straight to Victory Lane. Overcoming penalties, and less-than-preferred restarts, the 2 Crew was on its game, making Keselowski’s work look easy.
Currently the only driver with multiple Cup wins in 2017, Brad will try to extend that and become the first driver with three wins this season, as well as adding his third page in Bristol’s history books. Tune into the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. ET, live on FOX to see if he can pull off another short track win.