- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Champ Brad Keselowski brings a dash of brash
Question of the Day
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Brad Keselowski chugged his cold Miller Lite, the beer splashing down the side of his face asNASCAR chairman Brian France watched with amusement as his newest ambassador celebrated the crowning moment of his career.
Dehydrated after 400 miles of racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it didn’t take long for his sponsor’s product to take effect.Keselowski beamed a mischievous grin, wiped away his foam mustache, and tried to figure out how to accept the Sprint Cup trophy from France without dropping his oversized beer glass.
He’s fresh, he’s fearless and he’s certainly not your daddy’s NASCAR champion.
What Keselowski might be is just the guy NASCAR needs to appeal to the younger crowd as it closes a season that will likely be remembered for a jet fuel explosion, Twitter, a garage-area fight. If the season-ending image that stays with the public is of a slightly drunk Keselowski being, well, Keselowski, that’s OK.
After all, the racing itself was largely forgettable this season, a huge problem for NASCAR, and France reiterated last weekend that work is ongoing on the 2013 cars “to improve” the quality of racing.
Keselowski proved he was different from the veteran drivers when he tweeted from inside his car during the season-opening Daytona 500, and his addiction to social media and his cellphone was a season-long theme. He’s 28, tech savvy and unafraid to test his limits.
“I think because of that, he’ll do great,” said four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who helped broaden NASCAR’s mainstream appeal when he emerged in the early ‘90s. “His ability to reach out through social media and the younger crowd, he’s somebody that takes it, wants to take it, and because of that, he’ll put a lot of effort into it. He’s entertaining. You never know what you’re going to get with Brad.”
That’s part of Keselowski’s charm, and while he is indeed authentic, he very much enjoys being anti-establishment.
A year ago, Keselowski participated in the season-ending celebration in Las Vegas for the first time in his career. Although the awards banquet is the only actual black-tie affair, the week is packed with appearances, events, cocktail parties, receptions and one sponsor-heavy luncheon.
When he boarded the bus that took all 12 drivers to the luncheon, Keselowski was wearing an old pair of jeans and an untucked shirt. The other 11 drivers were all in suits. Someone on the bus offered suggested they stop on the way so Keselowski could pick up something else to wear.
Keselowski, who had announced a multiyear contract extension with Penske Racing just hours earlier, refused.
“I’m a race car driver!” he declared. “Why do I need to dress like that?”
Perhaps he had a point. But it wasn’t a fight he was going to win driving for Roger Penske, and Keselowski was upgrading his wardrobe a few weeks later.
Keselowski has changed on the track, as well.
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- KUHNER: Will Russia-Ukraine be Europe's next war?
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq