Keselowski on his Nationwide title, the support of his fans, more
It was difficult to see crew chief Jay Guy leave, but the chemistry just wasn't there
Officially receiving the Nationwide title in Miami was an amazing experience
Racing will always get in the way of my relationship with my brother, Brian
All season, Brad Keselowski completed a bi-weekly diary for SI.com. Before the completion of 2010, the driver of the No. 12 Dodge talks about the ending to his season, changing crew chiefs and the mentality of the team heading into 2011. Plus: his dream girl, the details behind the relationship with his brother and a message to his fans in the last edition of "Kickin' It With Kes."
Let's wrap up your Cup Series season. Homestead was a solid run, a 13th-place result on the lead lap. Talk me through that Sunday finale.
Yeah, we didn't start off all that great. It looked like it was going to be another sloppy mile-and-a-half performance for us. And at the very end, we made some decent adjustments, made the car really good with about 30-40 laps to go, drove up into the top-10 and pitted under green.
But in that whole pit stop under green cycle, we got shuffled back as the yellow flag came out. We cycled back through once the green flag came out and we drove back into the top-10, faded a little bit late, but finished within the top-15 in 13th place. All in all, a decent finish, and if the yellow hadn't fallen the way it was, it would have been higher. We were proud of the effort, for sure.
You ended the year with three top-15 finishes in five races. What made the difference internally, and how strongly do you feel the momentum can carry over to 2011?
Wow. What makes the difference? I think we had the best car for us all year with the mile-and-a-halfs, with the exception of Charlotte in the spring, for the All-Star Race. We had the best car we had all season long at Homestead on the mile-and-a-halfs, and we've just been working away. It's all about working on our cars, not being complacent.
At Phoenix, we had a strong car there, too bad we didn't get to showcase it. But in other races, we just executed slightly better. We had a good car at Martinsville in the spring and just didn't quite execute. In the fall, we executed and ran inside the top-10. Then, at Talladega, we just caught the right breaks to score a good finish.
Despite that uptick in performance, your team still chose to promote your Nationwide Series crew chief, Paul Wolfe, into that position for 2011. Talk about the move.
Well, it's always a tough move to make those kinds of decisions. It's hard not to reward success. Paul was successful, and everyone within the program thought it was the right thing to do. Hopefully, that will carry over to the Cup side.
My Cup crew chief from this year, Jay [Guy], moved on from Penske Racing. I'm very sad it didn't work out. I take just as much of a role in that we weren't able to click together. I don't know why it didn't work out, but I do hope good things will happen for Jay moving forward.
While the Chasers went to Vegas, you already had a championship banquet of your own down in Miami. Talk a little bit about that experience and what it was like to officially receive the Nationwide Series title.
Well, banquets are really only fun when you're a champion. This year is the first time I've had fun at a banquet, and it was a blast. Just to see the smiles on everyone's faces on the crew; they really earned it, and it was just a great day of partying and celebrating that first NASCAR title with Roger [Penske].
All right, be honest: How many nights did you party and how many great stories do you have that you can't tell us?
I only partied for two nights, and I've got a couple of really good stories I can't tell you. But damn, I would like to...
Hendrick Motorsports was the big story after the season, swapping driver/crew chief combinations on three of their teams. Having worked with Hendrick for several years, you're no stranger to their thought process. Are you surprised at that move, and do you feel like there's any particular combination within those three they made better for 2011?
I'm not surprised one bit. I was actually very impressed, because it's an extremely intelligent decision. I think that's what they need to be better. I'm actually very proud of them for having the guts to do it. I think the performance across the board will be slightly better, that's for sure. I don't see anything that looks like magic off the bat that's better than the others, though. It's hard to tell.
Let's take a look back at your own season. What are the high points and the low points on the Cup side that stick out in your mind?
The High Point: Running very competitively in the spring All-Star Race, and leading at Daytona in July. The Low Point, that was very easy: running like crap at both Michigan races.
Biggest weakness that needs to be addressed for 2011?
Well, number one is to find more speed. We don't have enough speed to execute consistently. But really, there is a long list of things that we need to improve upon to compete for wins on a consistent basis..
As we wrap up the holiday season, what's your favorite Christmas memory? Do you have a particular family tradition over the holidays that's meaningful to you?
Well, my favorite Christmas memory is when I got an outdoor go-kart when I was a kid. And Christmas tradition for me is very simple: I go home every year for it. I've never missed a Christmas in our living room -- my family's house in Michigan.
My immediate family, all of them always make it ... and it's grown in size over the years.
Brad, how much do you see your brother at the race track on a given weekend? Are you guys friends, or do you fight with him a lot like with Kyle Busch?
-- Randy Thomaston, Tallahassee, Fla.
Well, Brian and I will squabble one moment and be best friends the next. That's just our relationship. Some weekends, I might see him five, six times; other times, I might actually go two or three weekends without seeing him.
But you think it's a strong relationship? Where racing will never get in the way?
Oh no. Racing will always get in the way, but he's still my brother.
For the last diary this season, it's time to spell out your dream girl. What does she look like, what personality does she have, etc.? We want details?
That's easy. I'm a sucker for blondes, but not bleach blondes, real blondes with darker highlights. And obviously, this girl has a dream smile, just an amazing smile that she uses a lot. Those are probably the two most important features. Other than that, great skin and a happy personality. Height doesn't matter; I'm not real picky. Just proportionate, proportionate is good ...
I really want a happy person who's intelligent enough and cool enough to keep up with me when I'm being a moron.
Today's Topic: Offseason
RING ME UP: Being off! Being able to spend time with family, catch your breath.
I LOST THE NUMBER: Filling the whole offseason with sponsor commitments. My sponsors are great and they've given me plenty of time to catch my breath, but there is still work to be done to get ready for the Daytona 500, our biggest race of the year.
No track preview this time, so what would you like to say to your fans?
This season has been great. I appreciate all those people who have read all these things, it's a lot of reading and a lot of words. Some of them didn't have the best grammar, but I appreciate those that have stuck with us all year. You're the ones who make the sport so great!