By admin | February 9, 2010
By Richard Allen
After watching him race for a little over a year now I have come to the conclusion that I like Brad Keselowski. To me, he embodies what all NASCAR drivers ought to be.
This came to me a few nights ago when I saw him on SpeedTV talking with the likes of Waltrip, Hammonds and McReynolds. “I like when other drivers are upset with me,” the young driver said when asked about ruffling a few feathers in the garage area over the course of his brief career. “That means I’m beating them.”
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Isn’t the object of the game to win? It seems to me there are too many drivers who are concerned about how fans, media and other drivers feel about them. Many seem to be afraid of ruffling feathers. After all, that might reflect badly on their sponsors.
Darrell Waltrip used to relish ruffling feathers. Any man who invites an entire grandstand full of people to meet him in the K-Mart parking lot after a race wouldn’t be too concerned about angering the competition. And most importantly, love him or hate him ole DW was a winner.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. liked to “rattle a cage” now and then. Not only was he not concerned about upsetting the other drivers, he wanted to do it.
The Allisons and Pettys once got into a fight in victory lane. There was no concern as to whether either liked the other.
Now understand that in no way shape or form am I daring to compare a guy who has been racing in NASCAR for less than two full seasons with Waltrip, Earnhardt, Petty or Allison. What I am doing is saying Keselowski has the same sort of fire in him that could cause him to be successful.
A driver who is liked by everyone in the garage is not likely to be a frequent winner because he may be afraid of making the bold moves at the end of a race that could ruffle feathers.
What could be very interesting this season is the dynamic of Team Penske. Keselowski will be teamed with Kurt Busch who is also not one to worry about creating hard feelings. If these two, along with fellow teammate Sam Hornish, can get along this could be a formidable team. If they can’t, it could make for some very interesting stories.
Denny Hamlin may not agree but I like Brad Keselowski. I don’t think he is too worried about whether either of us like him or not. And in my opinion, that’s a good thing.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and the Knoxville Journal.
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