Few drivers have experienced the thrill at winning at their home track at the Monster Energy Cup Level. Brad Keselowski is yet to feel it at Michigan International Speedway, but the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driver hopes to change that in this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400.
“If we could win Michigan, it would be one of the biggest wins of my career — if not the biggest,” the driver said.
Even though Brad hasn’t yet pulled through for that milestone victory, he’s done all but it. A runner-up result and a trio of third-place efforts solidify the Rochester Hills, Mich. native as a serious threat to the competition at the fastest track in NASCAR.
In his 16 MIS starts, not only has BK been around at the finish each time, but he’s finished all but two of them on the lead lap. The two exempted races, both in 2010, saw the Penske driver a total of four laps down. A track like Michigan is known for demanding every ounce of strength from the motor, the Goodyear Eagles, and the grip a driver can grasp the wheel—but completing 3,138 of 3,142 total laps run is a definite shot in the arm to the team.
His Michigan Cup debut came in the second 2009 race, with the 24th-place result to only be overshadowed by his win in XFINITY competition the day prior.
“Oh my God, I won at home! I’m speechless. I can’t believe it. I’m usually terrible here and to win here is a major accomplishment. It’s so cool to win in front of my hometown fans,” Brad said in the Winner’s Circle following his first of two second-tier Michigan feats.
The next year, he backed it up and proved the last-lap pass to win was no fluke. Even without a clutch, his No. 22 Discount Tire machine sailed the Michigan native into Victory Lane for the second straight year.
Brad hopes to put on a great race, not only because the track is home to him, but it’s also home to his team owner, The Captain, Roger Penske. With his Penske Corporation headquartered right outside of Detroit, Penske’s passion for motorsports in Michigan stretches deep. Not only was The Captain responsible for bringing IndyCars back to Detroit’s Belle Isle, but in 1972 he purchased the Michigan International Speedway—something his driver recognizes.
“Roger used to own Michigan International Speedway, and it’s a track that he holds dear to his heart,” BK said. “It’s my home track. All these things are lining up.”
If his desperation for a Michigan win hasn’t become apparent yet, it should be as he will do what it takes to claim a checkered flag. Solidly locked in the championship deciding Playoffs with a pair of victories thus far, the 33-year-old driver has nothing to lose by going for his third win of the season.
“Michigan will always be my home track, and that puts it at a whole other level compared to other tracks of wanting to win in front of your family and friends in the place you recognize as home,” he said.
Running well at MIS in recent years, and performing well the last few races is all it takes to push the 2 Crew to deliver another win. Tune into the Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 13th at 3 p.m. ET, live on NBC Sports Network.