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Keselowski Is Ready To Rumble In Cup

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, February 4 2010
Brad Keselowski has given a thumbs up to the new bump drafting policy. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski has given a thumbs up to the new bump drafting policy. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Daytona Beach, Fla. – It’s no secret that NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski is rarely shy when it comes to using the front bumper.

The Michigan native’s aggressive nature was on display for all to see last season during his much-publicized on-track feud with Denny Hamlin.

So when NASCAR announced last month they are encouraging drivers to do more beating and banging during the upcoming season, it’s almost as if they pulled a page out of the 25-year-old driver’s playbook.

“I’m already right there for the most part,” said Keselowski, when asked about NASCAR’s new policy. “It will be interesting to see how other drivers in the sport change.

“When I met with NASCAR in Phoenix last year, they pretty much told me that’s the way the sport was pretty much going to go and they were going to be OK with it.  So I didn’t see it as much of a surprise.  I’m more interested in seeing the actions of other drivers versus myself.”

A second generation racer, Keselowski admitted during NASCAR media day on Thursday that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.

“I’d prefer to win honorably,” said Keselowski, who captured his first Sprint Cup win in spectactular fasion last spring at Talladega following a final turn collision with Carl Edwards. “I can’t always say that I’ve done that. Hopefully, we can put together strong enough cars this year to where we can win without drama.

“A goal of mine is to win a race and look back and have nobody say, ‘He screwed me over to do it.’ That’s the way race car drivers are: we never get beat fairly, just ask us.

“That’s part of the sport. The approach is to go out there and win and do the best that we can every week. We’ll see where that takes us.”

Because of his frequent dustups with Hamlin and others, some might question if the incidents have damaged his credibility with other drivers.

While Keselowski hopes to earn the respect of his peers, he’s not necessarily concerned about keeping them happy in the process.

“In my mind, it’s so hard to come into this sport and run well when you’re worried about making everyone else happy,” said Keselowski, who will compete in the Cup and Nationwide Series in 2010 for Penske Racing. “I just don’t see how you can do that because in competitive sports, anytime your competitors are happy with you is when they’re beating you. That’s when they’re going to be happy.”

While he’s earned the reputation of a driver willing to root his way to the front, Keselowski thinks he’s been fair when it comes to give-and-take with the opposition.

“I feel like that, objectively, if you step back and watch my in-car camera tapes and stuff, I feel like I give when it’s the right time to give and I take when it’s the right time to take,” he said. “For the most part I always do that.

“But at the end of the day, when I look my team in the eyes, I want to be able to look at them and say that I took more than I gave. I want to be able to look at them and for them to know that when I got out of that race car, I left nothing on the table. I never gave up a spot that I shouldn’t have. I want to feel proud of what I’ve done.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, February 4 2010
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