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Keselowski got three Truck Series starts in 2007 — one of them came at the recommendation of veterans as a last-minute replacement for suspended Ted Musgrave — and was in a crummy Nationwide deal when Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed him from obscurity 20 races into the season for the JR Motorsports ride that finally put Keselowski on the path to where he is today.

He said he looks at Joey Logano, who was in the Cup Series at 18, and Ryan Blaney, the 18-year-old who in September became the youngest winner in Truck Series history, and wonders what he could have accomplished if he had received the same breaks they had at such an early age.

“I think about them and they’re almost as good as I am if not better right now,” Keselowski said. “I think, ‘I wish I had those opportunities when I was their age.’ And then I stop and go, ‘Hell no’ because all the failures that I had from age 16-to-24 shaped who I am and have prepared me for this moment right here.

“The good Lord willing that we get through Phoenix and we’re in position to win the championship, I am going to show up at that racetrack mentally prepared because I’ve been through moments that were far more stressful than that and far more challenging for me personally. It’s because of those moments that I’m prepared for these opportunities. There’s a bunch of them that they just add up to where they’re both funny and sad. They’re part of who I am and part of what has made me appreciate what I have.”