Growing up in a racing family, Brad Keselowski was well aware of the sacrifices that needed to be made to reach the top level of racing. After years of climbing the steps of the NASCAR ladder, it’s somewhat fitting he earned the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of the most iconic rides in motorsports history – the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – and made the most of it in 2011. Keselowski made the move with confidence and momentum fresh off his first NASCAR championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) in 2010. As Paul Wolfe also moved up to join Keselowski as crew chief of the Miller Lite team, he was well positioned for a strong run in the Miller Lite machine. Then in 2012, in just his second season behind the wheel of the "Blue Deuce," Keselowski delivered his second NASCAR championship in just three years by winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Championship.
Keselowski was raised in an environment where spending time at the race shop and the track was just a way of life. His father, Bob Keselowski, was a 1997 race winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). His uncle, Ron Keselowski, competed at the NSCS level in the early 1970’s.
At the age of 14, Keselowski made the transition from turning wrenches for his family owned team, K Automotive Motorsports, to racing. He started competing in the Senior Honda 120 Quarter Midget division in 1998. In his first season, he earned six feature wins. The next year, he moved up to the Senior Honda 160 Quarter Midget division where he won eight feature races and the championship.
In 2000, Keselowski began racing stock cars in the Factory Stock division. That season, he collected nine feature wins as well as Rookie of the Year honors at two Michigan tracks – Auto City Speedway and Dixie Motor Speedway.
During the next three years, Keselowski balanced his budding racing career with his full-time job working for his family’s NCWTS operation. He advanced to the Limited Late Model and Super Late Model divisions and continued to rack up wins despite competing on a limited basis.
In 2001, he earned five fast qualifier positions, one feature win, and five top-five finishes. Over the next two seasons, he collected 11 fast qualifier positions, two Super Late Model wins, two Limited Late Model victories, and nine top-five finishes.
Keselowski graduated to NCWTS competition in 2004 as he drove the truck operated by his family’s team for eight races. The following season, he ran the full NCWTS schedule. His best finish was seventh, which he recorded in February of 2005 at Daytona International Speedway.
In 2006, Keselowski continued to gain more NASCAR experience as he ran a partial schedule in both the NNS and the NCWTS. He earned valuable seat time as he competed in 13 combined races – seven in the NNS and six in the NCWTS. That experience prepared him for 2007 when he caught the eye of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., owner of JR Motorsports.
Keselowski entered the 2007 season expecting to compete full-time in the NNS for Keith Coleman Racing, but he had to alter his plans when the team suspended operations in June. Keselowski, who already raced in two NCWTS events earlier in the season, was given another chance later that month when Germain Racing needed a last minute replacement for Ted Musgrave in the NCWTS race at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Though Earnhardt was aware of Keselowski’s talent, he really became intrigued as he watched the young driver win the pole position, lead 62 laps, and compete for the win that day in Memphis. What struck Earnhardt, Jr. the most about Keselowski though was how he handled himself on the track especially after being spun out with 10 laps to go by the eventual race winner, Travis Kvapil.
Keselowski still salvaged a 16th place finish after the incident. The race was the turning point in his NASCAR career. Realizing how much Keselowski had to offer, JR Motorsports signed the young gun to drive the No. 88 car in the NNS.
Keselowski made his debut for JR Motorsports in the July 2007 NNS race at Chicagoland Speedway. He earned a 14th place result – the first of eight top-15 finishes he would score during the season. Keselowski competed in 27 races in all, but earned his best results driving the No. 88 entry recording five top-10 and eight top-15 finishes in 14 starts.
In 2008, Keselowski enjoyed a banner season. He finished third in the NNS standings as he produced wins at Nashville Superspeedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in his first full season of NNS competition. He also earned one pole position, 11 top-five, and 20 top-10 finishes.
The promising driver led in 21 races for a total of 295 laps as he earned the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award for 2008. Keselowski was also chosen by the fans as the NNS’ Most Popular Driver.
On November 2, 2008, Keselowski made his NSCS debut at Texas Motor Speedway driving the No. 25 car for Hendrick Motorsports. He climbed from his 37th starting spot to finish 19th. Later that month, he made his second NSCS start and finished 23rd in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 2009 campaign was a season to remember for Keselowski. Not only did Keselowski capture four victories and two poles in the NNS, but he won the biggest race of his young career up until that point when he took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway in April marking his first NSCS victory.
Over the final three NSCS events of the season, Keselowski took over behind the wheel of the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger, and he earned a finish of 25th place at Homestead.
Keselowski earned four top-10 results in a total of 15 NSCS starts in 2009. He was once again a force in the NNS as he finished third in the championship battle for the second consecutive season, and he was also voted the Most Popular Driver in the series for the second year in a row.
In 2010, his first full season as a member of the Penske Racing family, Keselowski did something that no other driver in motorsports history was able to accomplish – he captured the first NASCAR championship for legendary team owner Roger Penske and was voted the Most Popular Driver for a third consecutive year. With Wolfe calling the shots, Keselowski rewrote the record book as he won the 2010 NNS title. He also won his first career NSCS pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September to go with two top-10 finishes and nine results inside the top-15 behind the wheel of the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger.
The confidence level for Keselowski remained high as he prepared for his first season behind the wheel of the “Blue Deuce” in 2011, which was full of firsts for the Rochester Hills, Michigan native.
Following a slow start to the 2011 season in which Keselowski was mired in the 28th position in the point standings after nine races, his season began to turn around following a third place finish at Darlington Raceway in May. He followed that up with a pole position at Charlotte Motor Speedway the following week. His win at Kansas completed a three week stretch that propelled the team to the torrid summer portion of the schedule that included two more wins at Pocono Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway and the No. 1 “wild card” spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
In one of the gutsiest performances in recent sports history, Keselowski picked up his final two victories along with two more top-three finishes in a four race stretch immediately after breaking a bone in his left ankle during a testing incident at Road Atlanta in early August. This earned him the 2011 Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver Award by The Sporting News, and the respect of everyone in the garage.
Though he wasn’t able to defend his driver’s championship in the NNS, Keselowski continued to produce at a high level in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in 2011. He earned five wins and four poles in 29 races as he scored his 17th career NNS victory. Still, it was his impressive performance at the NSCS level as the season wore on that made 2011 so special.
In 2012, Keselowski and Wolfe picked up right where they left off as they entered the season with confidence and the knowledge that the Miller Lite team was a championship caliber unit over the second half of the 2011 season. With many of the same parts in place and another year of experience under their belts, the Miller Lite team hit the ground running out of the gate and never looked back. Keselowski recorded a personal best five wins at Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicago, and Dover in addition to 13 top-five finishes and 23 top-ten finishes on his way to securing Penske Racing's first ever NSCS Championship.
Keselowski also found continued success on the NNS as he secured three wins, 11 top-five finishes, 14 top-ten finishes, and one pole in 21 races and showed his versatility by competing in 6 NCWTS races in which he captured three top-five finishes and four top-ten finishes.
Keselowski enters 2013 looking to repeat as the NSCS champion behind the wheel of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion and continue his impressive production in both NNS and NCWTS competition. He will also return to race the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang as he will share the 2010 NNS championship ride with Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and young gun Ryan Blaney, his protégé who also drives for Keselowski’s team in the NCWTS. The NASCAR champion will also compete in select races throughout the NCWTS season in the No. 19 Draw-Tite / Reese Towpower Ford F-Series.