BROOKLYN, Mich. (WJMN) – Michigan native, Brad Keselowski, currently ranks second in the Nascar Cup Series standings, just 81 points behind the leader, Kevin Harvick. He is his team will have their work cut out for them Saturday at Michigan International Speedway as they continue the chase for the top spot.
Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski will return to his home state this Saturday for the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, This will be his 22nd time racing at M.I.S, a track where he’s still winless on the sport’s top circuit.
“There’s no doubt about it. Every race is special in some way, but I think we can all agree that some races are more special. You know, Michigan will always hold a place near and dear to my heart, it’s a home track. One that I have a lot of family and friends that normally travel to. I just want to get that first cup win there. I know we can. I know we’ve been so close. I feel like it will happen and I’m very hopeful that this will be the year,” said Keselowski.
If Keselowski and his crew want to capture that first checkered flag at M.I.S, they’ll have to do it without a chance to test and tune before the race. Nascar COVID-19 regulations inhibit all drivers to take any practice laps prior to the actual race.
“You’re putting so much confidence in your equipment, you have to. When you drive it down at the corner at 200 miles an hour with no practice, you’re just praying that everybody has every bolt tight, this thing is dialed in. You’re travels are right it’s not going to go down the corner and fall apart or bottom out on the race track and go know the wall down at 200 miles per hour.”
For the drivers, their concerns go far beyond mechanical. Without a chance to get behind the wheel beforehand, their cars limits are unknown.
“For some of the rookie drivers that never have even been down on the race track in a cup car, you know, that’s a challenge. Even for the experienced drivers, you know, all kinds of variables can affect the grip levels on a track. Whether it be the rules package or the weather conditions or the tires that Goodyear might bring. There’s a number of variables. Generally speaking, when you drive down in that corner, you’re making a commitment that’s based on a guess, an educated guess, more like a hypothesis. But, it’s still a guess without any practice. How much grip is that car going to have? If you guess wrong, good chance you could end your day before it has really even gotten started and someone else’s and wreck really hard,” said Keselowski.
Keselowski and his Team Penske number 2 car have had success this year even without standard practice times. Keselowski won Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, capturing his third victory this season.
“I feel like if we can get another win or two before the year is over that we would really cement our position of being number one or number two when we get to the playoffs. But the reality is when we get to the playoffs it’s a whole other year. It’s nerve-wracking, it’s exciting, it’s challenging. And it has worked pretty well to date. So, all part of the new NASCAR with dealing with this pandemic the best way we know-how,” said Keselowski.
The Fireskeeper Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway will begin this Saturday at 4 PM eastern.