Ranking the Wildest Moments in Brad Keselowski's NASCAR Career
Just when we thought the 2012 Sprint Cup champion was starting to mellow out, he gets into a near-skirmish with longtime rival Kyle Busch Saturday at Kansas. Although there were no fists, harsh words were traded. Boy, that brings back memories of why we fell in love with Keselowski in the first place.
Although he may be the opposite of Busch, he is just as polarizing a figure. He's loud, honest, driven and very brash. But he is also one of the most enigmatic figures ever in the history of NASCAR. He's like a young Shawn Michaels. He's loaded with talent, and it is quite easy to love him or hate him.
With that, he's had his fair share of wild moments in his still young career. With wild rides, wild feuds and spectacular wins, it is clear that Keselowski is going to be one of the biggest names in all of American motorsports, not just NASCAR. That's a promise.
7. "Kyle Busch Is an Ass!"
Another instance where so little says everything you need to know.
It's no mystery that while Keselowski was trying to clinch his first Nationwide title in 2010, his Sprint Cup efforts weren't going as well. Still, he still had time to get into it with Joe Gibbs Racing's two hottest drivers, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
Busch and Keselowski have had several run-ins over the course of the years, but one of the most notable happened during the August 2010 Nationwide race at Bristol. Keselowski had been on the receiving end of a slide job by Busch when he decided to give Busch a nudge to get him loose. Busch repaid the favor by turning him around and taking the win.
The next night during driver introductions for the Sprint Cup event, Busch played up to the distaste to the fans. But whenever Keselowski had his turn, he wasted no time saying what was on his mind.
Judging by the fans' response, he wasn't alone in that sentiment at all. I wonder if he still feels that way after what happened at Kansas Saturday.
6. Brad vs. Denny
In what was perhaps Keselowski's most entertaining rivalry to date, his feud with Denny Hamlin in 2008 and 2009 made for some must-see moments, including a tiff at Dover, contact at Phoenix and a touch of revenge at Homestead. However, this is where it all began.
In May of 2008, the Nationwide Series made at stop at Charlotte, where Kyle Busch continued his dominance of the series. During a late-race caution, Keselowski and Hamlin had a disagreement over how they were racing each other. By disagreement, I mean Hamlin tried to take Keselowski's nose off.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owned Keselowski's car, was right behind the No. 20 of Hamlin and the No. 88 of Keselowski and saw the whole thing unfold. He responded by showing Hamlin what he thought of the contact, but Hamlin was more concerned with Keselowski.
The confrontation escalated on pit road, where Hamlin's crew and Keselowski's crew scuffled between the two cars before being pulled apart by NASCAR officials.
5. 2012 Championship Celebration
When Keselowski won the 2012 Sprint Cup championship, we should have seen this coming. Keselowski isn't a by-the-book driver. He's brash, outspoken and honest. With that being said, the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge was going to get down in celebrating.
How? By drinking an asinine amount of Miller Lite.
Keselowski provided for some extremely entertaining interviews, as evidenced by the above video where he is shown with a Miller Lite glass the size of a Hudson Hornet. He faced some criticism in the following days for the inebriated interviews, but when it comes to Keselowski, I doubt he really cared.
4. California, 2007
2007 was Keselowski's big break, but the one moment that stands out from the rest of his 2007 season is his spectacular crash at the 2007 Camping World 300 at Fontana.
Running at the bottom of a four-wide group, contact between J.J. Yeley and A.J. Allmendinger sent Keselowski's No. 88 sailing hard into the wall, where contact from the No. 42 sent the car airborne and onto the wall, where it burst into flames.
The JR Motorsports Chevy ended up a smoking heap on the apron, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. It is worth noting that Keselowski cited this incident as what led him to carry his phone with him in the car, which led to last year's infamous Twitter debate after Keselowski posted a tweet during a red flag at the Daytona 500.
3. A Win at Pocono with a Broken Ankle
One thing that is certain when it comes to Keselowski is that he is as tough as they come. When he broke his ankle at Road Atlanta, it was figured that we wouldn't stand a chance inside a race car. However, when that weekend rolled around, Keselowski responded by winning at Pocono, one of the most difficult tracks on the circuit.
It didn't stop there. He finished second the next week at Watkins Glen and third at Michigan before winning again at Bristol, solidifying a wild card spot in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. He would go on to finish fifth in points after winning three times and earning 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s.
2. Brad vs. Carl Pt. 1
We've already established that Carl Edwards and Keselowski have had some pretty rough run-ins. Here's the second of those run-ins.
In Keselowski's first full season driving for Roger Penske, he was making the most out of an otherwise bad day at Atlanta. Earlier contact with Edwards sent the No. 99 into the wall and to the garage for repairs, and things got a bit more complicated for the No. 12 when he slapped the wall at one point.
Yet late in the going Keselowski must have been pleasantly surprised to be running in sixth. He was unpleasantly surprised, however, when Edwards caught up with him and turned him. What was supposed to be a turn ended up becoming an almost exact copy of their 2009 Talladega encounter, only with Keselowski getting sent airborne and into the wall upside down.
It wouldn't be their last run-in of 2010, either. At Gateway, after bumping Edwards out of the lead during a Nationwide race, Edwards returned the favor and turned Keselowski again, causing a large accident that destroyed several cars.
1. Brad vs. Carl Pt. 2
Although we enjoy watching Keselowski trade barbs with Kyle Busch and absolutely loved his rivalry with Denny Hamlin, it's his rivalry with Carl Edwards that was the most volatile.
It all began with an innocuous bit of contact at Talladega in April of 2009.
Late in the going at the 2009 Aaron's 499, Keselowski had pushed Edwards into the lead following a late restart, passing the tandem of Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Edwards and Keselowski then pulled away from the rest of the field, and coming off the final turn it looked like they were going to be the ones to duel it out for the win.
In the tri-oval Keselowski faked high, and when Edwards went up to block Keselowski ducked low and got his nose on the inside of the No. 99 Ford. Edwards blocked, and as a result was turned around. Contact from Newman's Chevy sent Edwards airborne and into the fence.
Edwards' ride was one of the wildest in recent Talladega memory, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. Meanwhile, Keselowski won his first Cup event and thus began his brief feud with Edwards.