If Kelley Blue Book put a value on every NASCAR Cup driver, Brad Keselowski’s price would be going through the roof right now. Following the recent retirements of NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards, a proven talent and personality like Keselowski is increasingly rare.
Keselowski is one of six former Cup champs currently racing. But he’s much more than that. He’s generous with his time and resources, on and off the track. Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those military veterans who have sacrificed greatly for our country while getting back on their feet.
With the help of his sponsor Autotrader.com*, we tracked down Keselowski to find out more about the multi-faceted race car driver, father, failed fisherman and aspiring actor.
2012 Cup Series champion… Everybody can deal with success, it’s dealing with failure. That’s the hardest part. There’s a lot of failure. A Hall of Fame-level driver in NASCAR is like five percent. You think of baseball, it’s hitting .300, right? A NASCAR driver, you hit a five percent win rate, you’re a Hall of Fame driver. You hit 10 percent, you’re a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
NASCAR driver, entering his prime… Prime for a NASCAR driver is statistically 39. And I’m 34. There are certainly drivers that are much older than me that are still competing. And there are certainly drivers that are quite a bit younger than me that are competing. I like to think of myself as being right down the middle.
Michigan native… I’m a pretty big Detroit Lions fan. I know the general manager. I grew up in the area. That, and University of Michigan.
Driver for all track styles… I like to tell people, because a lot of people follow American football. Let’s pick (Detroit Lions QB) Matthew Stafford. He throws it so hard the wide receivers hands are numb. Arguably the best arm in the league. What would you say if he had to line up as a tight end? What would you say if he had to line up as a running back? That’s what being a race car driver is about, because we go to four different genres of tracks. It’s like lining up and playing four different positions. It requires an extreme amount of versatility.
Avid reader… I like Ryan Holiday — Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way. Another one I’m reading is, World Changers [by John A. Byrne]. It’s short biographies of top world changers in our era. Steve Jobs. Arthur Blank. John Mackey. Those type of guys.
Actor and broadcaster… I’ve been in three movies and a couple TV shows. It’s a different world. I’m a better race car driver than I am media player. But I have fun with it. I’m thankful for the opportunities. And you never know where life’s going to take you. Maybe I’ll get more. I would love to. But I’ve got a great job as a race car driver.
Comedian… I was at a birthday party in Nashville and we were about to sing “Happy Birthday” and somebody said, “Stop! Wait. What key are we singing this in?” … Nashville.
Good sport… I like to do things for charity that show how bad I am, because that’s a great way to raise money. It’s not much fun watching someone who’s good at fishing. I went fishing for an hour and a half at Daytona, in a tournament. I caught a bird. It’s the only thing I caught. I’m serious.
Father of a 3-year-old… (Scarlett) was in a (Ryan) Blaney phase. She really liked Kyle Larson. She likes Joey (Logano). She loves bright-colored cars. You find that a lot with kids. I used to love the Mello Yello car. It was black and green. It was neon or fluorescent or whatever you call that. So cool. Then I went to the Coors Light car. They did a neon blue and pink car. It was mean looking. I was 10, cheering for the Coors Light car.
Kid at heart… I painted my toy cars. You couldn’t buy the diecast, because (Coors Light) was a 21 and over diecast. I wasn’t good at it, but I had fun with it. I’d take a spray can and tape up little parts.
Hard worker… Work ethic, work ethic, work ethic. Most anybody who gets anywhere in this sport has talent. Most people don’t try if they don’t have some talent. But not many people are willing to put in the work ethic. Everybody wants to be Michael Jordan until they miss the shot, or they have to practice for hours, or train for hours.
*A sponsor of Keselowski’s No. 2 car, Autotrader.com is an online car-shopping destination that brings trust and speed to the forefront with the largest selection of vehicles to search from, so you can shop all the cars with confidence knowing that you’re getting the best deal on a vehicle, including the street-legal version of the Ford Fusion Keselowski drives every weekend.