MRN Driver of the Year: Brad Keselowski

B.Keselowski

"I know that you can expect this team to come back next year and try to be better than ever and try to improve and find that next level of success." (Photo: Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski’s first career Sprint Cup Series championship earned the Penske Racing driver the distinction of being named MotorRacingNetwork.com “Driver of the Year.”

In just his third full-time season in NASCAR’s top series, Keselowski won his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The Michigan native scored five victories and 23 top-10 finishes on his way to giving Penske Racing its very first Sprint Cup title.

''Always, throughout my whole life I've been told I'm not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough and I don't have what it takes,'' Keselowski said after claiming the title. ''I've used that as a chip on my shoulder to carry me through my whole career. It took until this year for me to realize that that was right, man, they were right.

''I'm not big enough, fast enough, strong enough. No person is. Only a team can do that.''

Keselowski was able to give legendary team owner Roger Penske his first career Sprint Cup Series title after nearly 40 years of NASCAR participation.

“It was a terrific 2012 season by Brad and the entire Miller Lite Penske Racing team,” Penske said. “With five race victories and consistent and productive finishes over the course of the long season, the team put itself in a good position for the Chase. Over the final 10 races of the year, Brad and the team raised the bar and ran aggressive, smart and disciplined races to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.”

Penske commended Keselowski’s contribution to his race team both on and off the track.

"It's not how much money you put into your race team," Penske said. "It's all about the people and the human capital, and I guess Brad is right at the top.

"He came in and said, 'Look, I want to help you build a championship team.' He looked me in the eye and shook my hand. That's how we started -- and there's no question that he's delivered way above what both of us probably thought was possible when you look at the competition and what we have to deal with. But he's a great leader on our team."

Keselowski, who also helped NASCAR’s popularity rise through his participation on social media, believes the 2012 season is just the beginning for the entire Penske Racing operation.

“I feel like the best is yet to come,” said Keselowski. “I feel like this team, we can do anything we set our mind to.

“I know that you can expect this team to come back next year and try to be better than ever and try to improve and find that next level of success.”

Post your choice for Driver of the Year on MRN's Facebook page.

Some of the other nominees

Allen Johnson: Johnson earned his first NHRA Pro Stock world championship and gave Dodge its first series title in 18 years and fifth overall. He drove the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger to a personal-best seven victories in 11 final rounds and claimed a category-best 10 No. 1 qualifying positions.

Antron Brown: Brown made history by becoming the first African-American driver to win a major U.S. auto racing championship. He claimed the NHRA Top Fuel title in dramatic fashion at the season-ending race in Pomona, Calif. The driver of the Matco Tools dragster earned six victories in 11 final rounds during the season and set a national performance record in Reading, Pa., to add 20 valuable points to his total.

Donny Schatz: Schatz put together a consistent second half to recover from a mid-season slump and score their fifth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship in the last seven years.

Jack Beckman: Beckman took the NHRA Funny Car title when he outlasted teammate Ron Capps at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, eventually winning the crown by two points in one of the closest title finishes in NHRA history.

James Buescher: Buescher scored the Camping World Truck Series title for Turner Motorsports. He won four times this season on his way to bringing the Turner team its first-ever NASCAR championship.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: Stenhouse locked-up his second straight Nationwide Series championship, becoming the first driver to score consecutive titles since Martin Truex Jr. in 2004-05. He won six times this season and ended the year 23 points ahead of Elliott Sadler to wrap up the crown.

Ryan Hunter-Reay: Hunter-Reay was a model of consistency in 2012 – posting 10 top-10 finishes in his 15 starts. That includes four victories – at Milwaukee, Iowa, Toronto and Baltimore – over the final eight races of the season. Hunter-Reay positioned himself for a championship run by winning three straight in June and July. He claimed his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship by a final margin of three points over runner-up Will Power.

Sebastian Vettel: Vettel started slowly in 2012, going winless until the fourth round of the schedule – in Bahrain. He used a late-season run of four straight victories in his Red Bull Racing Renault to help secure his third straight World Championship – beating runner-up Fernando Alonso by three points.

Photos

  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2015 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites