Brad Keselowski - Official Thread

Ford 222

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But Superspeedway racing is such a crap shoot.....Here he is again!
Glad he got a win for the playoffs but I don't take a ton of pride in this win. I don't think Tona/Dega are really as much about the driver as I do about the car/team. I'd rather see a win at Darlington.....
 

StandOnIt

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Logano not only was picked a favorite but was dominating the race until dumb ass Denny turned him. Brad drove a smart race. The Penske's had a one, two, three at Daytona until they tangled earlier this year that led to another Ford with McDowell winning the race. The Fords had 5 out of the first top ten positions at Dega. They are pretty good at the super speedways this year
 

StandOnIt

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1619463445775.png


 

Team Penske

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Well remember Brad learned the ins and outs of plate racing from Jr.

Jr literally passed on knowledge to a whole lot of drivers out there. Then, look at Logano massively improving since joining Penske on plate tracks. Same with Blaney and being a competitive on plate tracks.
Credit to Penske i would think.
 

jaqua19

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But Superspeedway racing is such a crap shoot.....Here he is again!
Saw this coming years ago.

Brad has been exceptional at Talladega, he always has been, and imo, he's been the best plate driver for years. Very good shot at getting to 8, imo.

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Revman

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Saw this coming years ago.

Brad has been exceptional at Talladega, he always has been, and imo, he's been the best plate driver for years. Very good shot at getting to 8, imo.

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I think Denny is as good if not better. He does more with less in terms of teammates, and now he has other manufacturers working with him because he is Dale Jr. level.
 

Musrat#2

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I think Denny is as good if not better. He does more with less in terms of teammates, and now he has other manufacturers working with him because he is Dale Jr. level.
Dude, you are the most bias person on here towards Toyota. Do you own a Toyota dealership are something? You gotta be getting a paycheck from Toyota to be this bias, amirite. This thread is about Brad and not Denny. Why are you even talking about Denny and saying he is better Brad? LMAO
 

Old Kid

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Dude, you are the most bias person on here towards Toyota. Do you own a Toyota dealership are something? You gotta be getting a paycheck from Toyota to be this bias, amirite. This thread is about Brad and not Denny. Why are you even talking about Denny and saying he is better Brad? LMAO

Honesty is an admirable virtue. :laugh:
 

LewTheShoe

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Jeff Gluck of 'The Athletic' has penned a timely and insightful profile of a complex and thoughtful man. I don't often say such a thing about Gluck, as he rarely has much depth or insight to offer, IMO. However, this piece is among the very best he has ever written, so kudos to him.

Subscribers can click here or read the article below. 'The Athletic' is offering free trials this month, so I'm sure they wouldn't mind me sharing an example of their excellect journalism.

Building a better Brad: How Brad Keselowski’s business has prepared him for a new NASCAR role at Roush Fenway Racing

by Jeff Gluck for The Athletic, August 26, 2021

KAM1.jpg


STATESVILLE, N.C. — Seated at the head of an eight-person boardroom table, Brad Keselowski twirls a pen around on his chin and listens intently.

Department heads at Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing are running through the agenda for their thrice-weekly operations meeting, and the namesake of the business is all-in on the updates.

He inquires about the humidity levels in one room that recently affected a machine, asks about inventory and makes a request to put drapes over a sensitive area before a prospective vendor arrives.

Then there’s the topic of an upcoming meeting with a potential customer. It’s important enough for Keselowski to attend, and he opens his iPhone to scroll through open slots on his calendar.

“We need to be buttoned up for this one,” he says. “We need to know what we’re going to say and what we’re going to ask for. We should have our sh!t together.”

Everyone nods in agreement. Such requests don’t seem out of the norm at KAM, a manufacturing facility that creates parts for aerospace and defense needs — like fighter jets, bombers and a fuel system for rocket engines (among other things).

Keselowski invited The Athletic to sit in the KAM ops meeting before touring the facility, and we’d love to tell you specifically what was discussed. But before entering the 70,000-square foot building, all visitors who don’t have a government security clearance must sign an agreement not to reveal the projects contained within.

What we can tell you, though, is Keselowski doesn’t just have his name on the building. He’s actively involved in the direction of his company, which has grown rapidly since its founding in 2018.

“The ops meeting is meant to be a debrief,” Keselowski says afterward, walking out of the conference room to begin our tour. “That’s one thing I took from racing, is departments have to talk to each other.”

At this point, you might already be wondering if this story will attempt to tie Keselowski’s business interest in the manufacturing sector into his upcoming ownership role with Roush Fenway Racing.

The answer is yes. But that’s not a stretch, because Keselowski himself sees a strong tie between the two. If anything, KAM has served as a training ground for the upcoming release of Keselowski 2.0: Brad The Team Owner/Driver.

“I don’t do a lot of media about this company because it gets held against me a lot,” he says. “People say it’s a distraction, which I 100 percent object to. This company has made me a better person. It’s made me a better professional. And ultimately I think it’s made me more successful — not just in financial terms, but in leadership terms.”

There are several prongs of KAM’s business. The company’s engineers, sitting in what appears to be a darkened room behind a glass wall, create and design parts with the latest in computer technology. Then those parts get manufactured in the facility, either via metal 3D printers or CNC machine tools. Finally, all the parts are inspected down to the smallest surfaces in KAM’s quality control lab.

KAM2.jpg

[KAM has two EOS M400-4 machines for additive manufacturing. These machines allow for printing large-scale parts. The -4 refers to each machine having four 400-watt lasers working together to decrease the build time.]

Currently positioned throughout various rooms in Keselowski’s supersized building are 20 of the metal 3D printers (which Keselowski says ranks among the top three of any facility in the country) and 16 CNC machines.

Given the parts are both proprietary and being used for government projects that require a security clearance, Keselowski is unable to discuss exactly what each is being used for. But in some cases, he can drop hints.

“This part will be launching into space within the next 90 days,” he says, pulling back a cover to reveal a round object underneath.

KAM3.jpg

[Depowdering the build. A laser heat source melts and welds metal powder layer by layer. After all the layers are complete, the technician removes the powder that wasn’t melted and leaves behind only the printed parts. The metal powder is sieved and used again in another build.]

Keselowski’s creation of KAM and the firsthand business experience have provided what he views as an MBA-level education. He’s learned about building effective cultures, running meetings and the value of exercises like OKRs (objectives and key results), KPIs (key performance indicators) and SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).

“These are things I wasn’t getting anywhere else,” he says. “Yeah, I was sitting in meetings at the race shop, but I was just a participant. I wasn’t happy with how the meetings were being run, but I didn’t know how to make them any better.

“Now I know how to make them better. I know how to get more work done. And I communicate better. Those are powerful things I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life wherever I go.”

Of course, by now everyone knows where Keselowski is going next. After 12 years at Team Penske — the only full-time Cup Series team he’s known — Keselowski will depart at the end of the season to take a part-ownership role at Roush and drive the team’s No. 6 car beginning in 2022.

From the outside, it seems like a big risk for a 37-year-old driver who is in the midst of his prime years. But Keselowski doesn’t see it that way.

In fact, everything inside Keselowski’s mind and heart has guided him toward this moment.

The thing is, it’s been a journey to figure out what those things were saying.


The quality testing lab at KAM has somewhat of an ironic purpose: to find flaws in beautifully machined parts that have been manufactured in another room at the company. Each failed part can be an expensive blow to the bottom line, but it’s a vital part of the business nonetheless.

After all, if a company knowingly delivers faulty parts to the government, that’s a big problem.

“You go to jail,” Keselowski says. “That’s a little bit different than being busted in NASCAR.”

There’s a blue-light scanner, similar to a laser inspection system in the Cup Series, as well as an X-ray machine and a powerful CT scanner that is meant for metal, not humans.

“This will kill you very fast,” Keselowski says, motioning to the CT scanner. “But also very painfully.”

KAM4.jpg

[KAM’s machine shop, housed in the building that used to be Brad Keselowski Racing.]

Occasionally, a race car driver plugged into an expensive piece of technology like a Cup Series car also needs to be examined with a bit of quality control. After coming off a final four appearance in 2017, Keselowski finished eighth in the standings for two consecutive years and saw his average finish decline.

People started wondering about the reasons behind his lack of performance, and Keselowski heard the comments.

“It was ‘Brad got married’ or ‘Brad now has two kids’ or ‘Brad has this business and isn’t as focused,'” he says. “My dad (Bob) has been sick for some time now, and it even turned into that — which was really heartbreaking for me to hear people say that: ‘Oh, the reason why he fell off in 2018 and 2019 is because his dad has been sick.’ It was very hurtful.”

But none of those things changed last year — Keselowski still has two young children, still has the business and his dad has continued to struggle with his health. The driver’s performance, though, went straight up.

Keselowski ended 2020 with four wins, a 10.1 average finish (tied for his career best) and 24 top-10 finishes (one off his career best earned in 2015). And he not only made the final four, but was the only driver to pose a serious threat to Chase Elliott in the championship race at Phoenix (more on that later).

“That was such a huge confidence-builder for me, because I had almost started to believe (the talk) myself,” he says. “I had fallen into the classic trap of racing: When a team isn’t performing to the highest levels, the finger-pointing gets pretty loud and strong. And I had started to wonder if it was me. But last year removed that (doubt).”

Self-examination and introspection are hallmarks of Keselowski’s personality, and it’s been that way since before he made the decision to shut down the Brad Keselowski Racing team and turn the shop into an advanced manufacturing center instead.

Looking at Keselowski, who on this day is wearing knit Pumas, black jeans, a white dress shirt and has a computer bag slung over his shoulder, it’s almost difficult to picture the hard times in his life. Like the time when his family team went broke in pursuit of Keselowski’s racing career, and Keselowski felt a deep sense of responsibility for letting everyone down.

If only he had money, he thought, everything would be fixed. But years later, after becoming anything but poor, Keselowski realized money wasn’t the answer.

“No one wants to hear a rich guy say money doesn’t solve all your problems,” he says. “Because the reality is, it does solve some problems — but not in the direct way you think.

“It solves your problems because what it teaches you is the problem was not money. It was you. Money eliminated my excuses because I could no longer look at something and say, ‘You know, I’d be happier if I only had money.'”

That’s why Keselowski says he’s spent “a significant amount of time” over the last three years working on himself and “internal matters of emotional intelligence.” He’s sought ways to grow and be happy.

So what did he discover? There are two concepts in particular Keselowski finds worthy of exploring.

One is the idea of living up to his potential as a human. He hasn’t done that yet, and it bothers him.

“Not living up to my potential creates this inner turmoil that needs resolution,” he says.

Creating a successful business like KAM and a philanthropic organization like his Checkered Flag Foundation charity, whose mission is to honor and assist veterans, active military and first responders, has helped check boxes in those areas, but the racing side is just as important. And just one Cup championship plus 35 wins isn’t going to cut it, he says.

Second, Keselowski has bought into the John C. Maxwell idea of “failing forward.” There are two kinds of things that can happen when someone fails: People repeat the same mistakes or blindly believe things will be different the next time (failing backward); or they can learn from their mistakes and recognize that failure is part of success (failing forward).

So what does living up to his potential and failing forward have to do with becoming a NASCAR team owner? The intersection of those two thoughts, as it turns out, can be very powerful.


As Keselowski opens the door to the next room in the KAM facility, it’s impossible not to notice signs with pictures of airplanes on them. The signs say things like, “They fly safely when FOD-free” or “Every beautiful bird needs to be FOD-free.”

FOD is Foreign Object Debris, which is what can happen in a manufacturing facility when something gets into the building process that isn’t supposed to be there. Essentially, it means don’t make a mess. If an aircraft malfunctions due to a faulty part, even the most skilled pilot may not be able to overcome it.

“These are parts going into critical systems where people can die,” Keselowski says.

Winning an auto racing championship isn’t life or death in the same way, but even the most talented drivers can fall victim to a systems failure. That’s what happened to Keselowski in the 2020 Cup Series season — though it wasn’t a part that failed; it was people.

Last year, Keselowski felt he made the most out of everything around him. In the championship race at Phoenix, he passed Elliott to win Stage 2 of the winner-take-all event and put himself in a spot to contend — but bad pit stops cost him track position all day.

Keselowski was running second heading into the final green-flag pit stop, but came out fourth. With Elliott so far out in the lead, there wasn’t enough time to recover (aside from getting back to second place, which is where Keselowski finished).

“There are times in your life where you feel like you did everything right, and the circumstances just were not in your favor and you didn’t achieve your ultimate result,” Keselowski says. “On track, I lived up to my potential as a race car driver. And I’m so proud of that. I felt like a champion last year.

“But I didn’t win the championship. I didn’t have a large enough role to impact the circumstances around me that unfolded that were larger than my role as a race car driver.”

And that’s exactly where the ideas of living up to one’s potential and failing forward collide. When someone maximizes their performance and the outcome still isn’t reached, what does it mean?

“If I did nothing and allowed that to happen again, I just failed — I didn’t fail forward,” he says. “I want to have more ability to impact my success and my failures than I have today. I want to apply key lessons I’ve learned. And that’s part of living up to my potential.”

That said, Keselowski isn’t leaving Team Penske just because of a couple bad pit stops in one race. There were multiple contributing factors, he says.

“Some were external, but the majority were internal,” he says. “I would very much hesitate to say one thing made me decide this isn’t for me.”


There’s still plenty of room for KAM to grow. One large area isn’t being used for machines yet; instead, it has what amounts to a small museum of Keselowski’s history.

There’s the restored No. 09 Miccosukee car that won at Talladega Superspeedway for Keselowski’s first career Cup win, his 2010 championship-winning Xfinity Series car, a custom Dodge Challenger he received as a gift from his former manufacturer and even his custom A-Team van built in the style of the TV show.

In the lobby are trophies, including three of NASCAR’s four majors — except the Daytona 500, which he still lacks.

Keselowski says he’s not particularly attached to the area and would love if KAM needed to use the space for more machines instead. In the meantime, customers love to see the vehicles and the trophies.

His status in motorsports and name recognition, of course, helps with the business. Keselowski got an audience with the head of the Space Force because of it, he says.

But KAM is just one facet of the vision Keselowski has for his future. First, there’s much more to accomplish in NASCAR. At Roush in 2022, he hopes to take many of the lessons from KAM and apply them to the racing world.

His new ownership interest assures he’ll have a chance to build things his way.

“Racing is still very important to me,” he says. “Yes, (the business and racing) is a two-headed monster, but these things connect.

“It’s back to that fundamental goal of, ‘Did I live up to my potential?’ Now, if everything I’ve got going on fails, I’ll be able to sleep well at night — because I answered that question.”
 

LewTheShoe

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RFK Racing 2021-11-16 A.jpg


There are still no details known about Brad Keselowski's ownership stake in newly-renamed Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, but the naysayers speculating it is only a token percentage of the team's shares have been silent of late. First, would they change their name if it was only a token, figurehead amount? Probably not. And second, it seems as if Brad is pretty fully in charge of the team's racing effort, at least according to a recent in-depth article by Dustin Long of NBC Sports.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether RFK Racing can claw its way back to the upper levels of cup teams. It will take better management and leadership than they have had of late, but can Brad (and longstanding team president Steve Newmark) provide it? It will take some time and some money, but do they have it? The Next Gen car -- and the related improvements in the team ownership business model -- will help, but will they be enough?

Brad has come a long way in NASCAR by being willing to bet heavily on himself. I for one am hoping this huge gamble works out. The Dustin Long article is below...

Brad Keselowski building a ‘culture of high expectations’ at RFK Racing​

By Dustin Long for NBCSports.com November 19, 2021

Brad Keselowski doesn’t shy from using the world fail as he discusses the culture he seeks to create as owner/driver of the rebranded Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team.

There’s a purpose in using the word fail. Just as there is purpose in all that Keselowski does, even if it doesn’t seem apparent at first.

Ultimately, Keselowski’s goal is to do something that hasn’t been achieved in NASCAR in more than a decade: Turn a struggling organization into a winner.

While RFK Racing’s history features tales of success, it is winless in its last 163 Cup races — dating to July 2017. The organization last had a team finish in the top 10 in points in 2014.

“I’m not coming into the building trying to fire everybody,” Keselowski said. “That said, we are going to demand a higher level of performance.”

And a culture that matches.

“A culture of high expectations,” Keselowski calls it. “A culture that is not afraid to fail forward. Those are things that are really important to me. We’ve had some big discussions on it. A culture of accountability is super critical to me.

“Fail forward means not being afraid to fail but learning from it and getting better. I told the team in one my speeches, ‘I’m not afraid of failing. I’m afraid of not trying.’

“That doesn’t mean you can be reckless and fail in everything you do. It does give you permission to try things and learn from it. I think that’s really important for us.”

Keselowski, who once owned a Truck Series team, says running his company, Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing, has helped shape his ideas of running an operation.

“It served as a petri dish for me to basically try new things,” he said. “I could learn from some tough mistakes … and become, overall, a more rounded person. With that came also some understanding of some other technologies that I really was not in a good place with before.”

Keselowski talks often about understanding new technologies and how the inability to do so could have a played a factor in the failure of others to excel in the sport.

It’s not just that area that Keselowski is examining. He talks about the process of turning RFK Racing into a consistent winner. Few things have been overlooked by Keselowski.

“We are investing pretty heavily in upfitting and upgrading our facilities within the current footprint,” said Steve Newmark, president of RFK Racing. “A lot of that may seem trite and cosmetic with paint and new floors and all that, and others more structured like where we’re going to put the human performance center.

“But these are things that Brad came in and said ‘I know you guys have been doing this for a while, but I don’t think this is the optimal way to do this.’ … He’s struck that right balance between coming in and trying to listen and understand how or why we do things, but, at the same time, saying ‘Hey I feel passionate that we can do better in this area if we change this.’ That’s the spark.”

Kevin Kidd, technical director at RFK Racing, said that “there are no sacred cows in the building as far as what our process is and what it should be.”

What Keselowski is trying to do was last done by Tony Stewart. He joined Haas-CNC Racing to form Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009.

Haas-CNC Racing was winless in 284 Cup starts before Stewart arrived. He won four times in 2009 and the championship in 2011.

So, there’s a possible roadmap, but that doesn’t mean the same path can be taken, or the same results can occur in the same manner.

Other organizations that once were pillars of the sport, including what was known as Roush Fenway Racing, have fallen from the top tier. Roush’s two wins since 2014 equals Front Row Motorsports’ victory total in the same span.

It’s quite a change for Roush, which was was among the dominant teams from 2002-08, winning two championships and an average of nine races a season.


The organization’s steady decline saw Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards leave for Joe Gibbs Racing. Roush could not continue their success after they left.

Rising to the sport’s elites will be challenging. Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske combined to take 80% of the top-10 positions in points the past three seasons.

Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing were the only other organizations to have drivers finish in the top 10 in points during those years.


So, how can a team that was among the sport’s pillars return after such a long time away from the top pedestal?

Steve Newmark, team president, says the Next Gen car will help balance the power in the sport since teams no longer build their own cars. All teams are learning the fundamentals — and nuances — of the car and what it will take to make it faster.

“Now as before, the best teams are going to be the best teams … but we think that Next Gen presents a fairly unique opportunity in the history of this sport to rise back on top,” he said.

Newmark also preaches patience in this journey.

“It’s not going to happen with a snap of a finger,” he said of becoming one the elite organizations again. “You have to have realistic expectations that it’s going to be gradual.”

Newmark also notes the organization expects to show improvement in 2022.

“If you talk to Brad, he’s going to tell you he’s going to win races next year and compete for the championship,” Newmark said.

“From my perspective, we just need to be climbing that ladder and becoming more competitive on a day-by-day basis.”


That also means playoffs.

“Our expectations are both teams in the playoffs next year,” Newmark said. “(Keselowski’s goals) will be higher than that, which I want. I want him to be pushing.”

Keselowski is.

“I challenged the team to expand into areas that are outside of their comfort zone,” he said. “I prefaced it by saying that I’m way outside my comfort zone. … I left a team that had won or been playoff eligible for the last 10 years for one that hasn’t won a race in three or four years.

“I’m outside my comfort zone. I left Roger Penske, whose got this golden legacy, to come here. I left that comfort zone because I believe what we can do here. I still believe it. I’m more confident than ever that we can do it.

“That said, I think I’m asking the entire company, every employee to push their limits as well and to get outside of their comfort zone. That’s what is going to be required to turn this thing around.”
 

Truex_rox

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If he can turn the team back into what it was during its glory days, that’s a heck of an accomplishment right alongside his early ascension to becoming a Cup champion. Chris Buescher being his team-mate is fantastic too - he’s well overdue for some more success. It’s mildly frustrating seeing what he did in Xfinity only to remain stuck around the lower top twenty in Cup.
 

Team Penske

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It sounds to me like Brad has the drive that a young Jack Roush had when he entered racing and is using his outside interests in much the same way. The difference is Brad has more knowledge than Jack had.
If Fenway is smart, he will step aside from interfering ( he is profit driven) and allow the purse strings to accommodate Brad's knowledge and drive to becoming successful.
 
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