Brad Keselowski hopes Penske stores the winning car somewhere special for the Wallace family; Also, notes that idea might be inspired by the Miller he had in victory lane
Brad Keselowski took himself, Rusty Wallace and Team Penske to victory lane at Darlington Raceway on Sunday night. It was the first win at Darlington for Penske in 43 years.
It was the 25th NASCAR Cup Series win for Brad Keselowski. It was also the first win in a crown jewel NASCAR event.
“I’m kinda in the moment right now,” Brad Keselowski stated from the media center at Darlington Raceway. “I got out of the car just a little bit dehydrated and had a couple beers.”
Keselowski and the Team Penske crew put the #2 MGD car out first at the pit exit line. He nosed ahead of Kyle Larson to control the restart in the closing stage of the event. Keselowski held him off and went on to take his first win of 2018 (unfortunately, The Clash doesn’t count).
“It’s probably the biggest win of my career. Especially with it being a weekend sweep. When we added all this retro stuff at this track a couple years ago… It’s just a spark that reignited this race track.”
“We won The Clash this year but you all don’t count that. I do, I got the trophy. I know for the rest of the year I was going to get questions about why we haven’t won this year. Now, I don’t get that question. So, that feels really darn good.”
In the first 24 races of the season, Keselowski grabbed six top 5’s. He took the win on Saturday in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event. On Sunday, everything came together, picking up his first win of the year.
“I’ll be honest, I came into this race expecting to run in the 5th to 10th place range. That’s about what we’ve been on these type of tracks. Something in the combination today clicked. There was a couple things that the track threw at the field today that I think maybe caught a lot of us off guard.”
“The first being the groove in [turns] three and four never materialized on the top of the race track. Our car was setup to run low in three and four. We were going to be in trouble if the top became usable. And it never did. I think it caught a lot of other teams off guard based off what I saw in practice.”
“Then, I would add in the high tire wear characteristics of this track. It really is an anomaly for this series. The only other track is Atlanta. We ran 2nd there and Kevin kinda dominated. With that being said, there’s no tracks like this in the playoffs. Winning is great but there’s not a lot of carryover here. We still have a lot to work on and improve to be considered a favorite for the playoffs.”
In each round of qualifying, lap times dropped by about .2 seconds. Typically, cars will got faster on their second run or even the third. That’s not the case for the surface from 2009 that is starting to wear like the old Darlington.
Rusty Wallace throwback
Brad Keselowski ran a tribute to Rusty Wallace’s 1990 paint scheme and parked it in victory lane. 1990 was the last year that Wallace drove for Blue Max Racing. From 1991 through his retirement year in 2005, Rusty Wallace drove for Roger Penske.
“I had Rusty’s car. Rusty’s a legend in this sport. He’s a hall of famer. You can’t deny what he’s done for the sport. And it’s great to be able to honor him. The best way to honor him is to make the car run good and to win the race.”
“That of course is going to make that car even more immortal than it is already. That’s very special.”
What’s the plan for the race winning car?
“I don’t know what we’re going to do with this car. But, I hope they leave it together and park it somewhere special. It would be a really cool gift for Rusty and his family. If RP’s listening, it’s a great idea.”
“But, I might have had a beer before saying that.”