On Friday, November 30, the spotlight of the racing world was focused on The Wynn in Las Vegas for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet. The glamorous event, which included appearances by many stars of the entertainment industry, culminated with the presentation of the Sprint Cup to 2012 Series Championship driver Brad Keselowski and team owner Roger Penske.
Keselowski reached the pinnacle of NASCAR success – a Cup Series title – in just 125 starts, the fewest since Jeff Gordon won his first championship in 93 starts. Keselowski also joined an elite group of drivers who’ve won a Cup title in three seasons or less: only he, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. have achieved that remarkable feat.
NASCAR writer Becca Gladden was at the banquet and caught up with Brad moments after he accepted the Sprint Cup on stage. He shared the best career advice he’s ever received, as well as his own words of advice for young drivers hoping to emulate his success.
Q. What is the best career advice you’ve ever gotten and who did you get it from?
A. My dad.
Q. What was his advice?
A. I’m not a big guy. I’m six-foot tall, but, other than that, I’m 150-some pounds. There have always been people bigger than me throughout my life that – however it might be – might try to push you around in some way, whether you realize it or not. My dad was perceptive of that and gave me the best advice:
When you get in a race car, everybody weighs the same. You no longer weigh 150 pounds and you’re no longer six-foot tall. You weight 3,400 pounds and you’re however many feet long. So, go out there and race ‘em like you’re the biggest son-of-a-bitch out there.
Q. Did you ever have a point in your career, especially growing up, when you thought of quitting and doing something besides racing?
A. I thought there were moments when I wasn’t going to have a choice but to quit (due to financial concerns). But I never thought of quitting.
Q. Did you have any other jobs as you were working your way up through racing?
Q. You never did anything else?
A. Nope, I refused to take another job.
A. I can’t remember if it was Cortez or Columbus or who it was – but, they sailed to the Americas and he knew when they arrived that, if he burned the ships, nobody would talk about going back. I wasn’t going to take another job because I wasn’t talking about going back to anything else.
Q. Your dad gave you some great career advice. Now that you’ve won the Sprint Cup Series championship, what would your advice be to young racers coming up?
A. Don’t let adversity get you down. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. And fight every day.