Brad Keselowski 2014 Season Review

December 30, 2014

In a season full of change in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) in 2014, Brad Keselowski embraced the new challenges and excelled in the new landscape.

At Team Penske, the season of change began early with two key partners, Alliance Truck Parts and Wurth, stepping up to join Miller Lite as primary sponsors of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion. With a new elimination format of the Chase for the Championship and an adjustment to Cup Series qualifying as well, there was a fair amount to adapt to this season. All of these changes created the potential for Keselowski and the No. 2 team to have a phenomenal year, and that is just what they did.

The No. 2 Miller Lite/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth Ford Fusion team produced a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leading six victories in 2014. The top performance was accentuated with two weekend sweeps as Keselowski and company scored NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories on the same weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The No. 2 team accentuated its six victories with 17 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. Keselowski also had a career-best season of qualifying as he earned five poles in 2014 after coming into the year with only three to his name. The team’s efforts were rewarded with a berth in the Chase, during which it scored two victories, including a clutch win to avoid elimination and stay in the championship hunt at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski began the season strong with top-three finishes in the first three races of the year and it took just three races to earn his first victory of the 2014 season as he made a dramatic pass to earn a last-lap victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel.

On top of its series-leading six victories, Keselowski and the team scored four runner-up finishes over the course of their solid season. The team further added to its strong stats with 17 top-five results, which translated to an impressive 47% top-five to start ratio. The team also notched a solid 20 top-10 finishes on the year.

Keselowski has been an established race winner for all of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. However, it was not until this season that he truly came into his own as a great qualifier. Through his first five full-time Cup Series seasons, he had earned just three Coors Light Pole Awards. In 2014, he broke out with a career-best five awards.

Two of those poles, at Kentucky and at Richmond, preceeded dominant victories. At Kentucky, Keselowski led 199 of 267 laps from the pole to the checkered flag as he earned his second victory of the year. Then at Richmond, he converted his fourth pole of the season to his fourth win of the year as he dominated the field – leading 383 of 400 laps. These commanding victories and impressive finishes also enabled Keselowski to nearly double is career laps led tally.  He entered the season having led 1,558 laps over the first six years of his NSCS career and he ran at the front of the field for 1,540 laps in 2014.

While each of his six victories were impressive in their own right, Keselowski also earned back-to-back win to end the regular season and start the Chase with top finishes at Richmond and then Chicagoland. In perhaps what was one of the most dramatic finishes of the season, Keselowski came through with a clutch must-win victory at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the third round of the Chase.

In a year filled with achievement, Keselowski also excelled in NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) competition. Racing the No. 22 Discount Tire/Hertz Ford Mustang, Keselowski, crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the No. 22 crew had a phenomenal season as they earned five victories, five poles, 10 top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in just 11 starts. While he ran only one third of the 33 race season, the 2010 Nationwide Series Champion contributed the lion’s share of the victories for the team, claiming five of the six wins earned as the No. 22 squad captured its second consecutive NNS Owners’ Championship.

Taking a closer look at a truly memorable season in 2014, Keselowski started a combined 47 races. He won 11 (23.5%), scored 23 top-five (49%) and earned 30 top-10 finishes (64%). These statistics represent 12,395 laps of competition and a 98.3% of total laps of competition completed. By any and all measures, Keselowski showcased his skill, tenacity and meddle in extraordinary fashion this season.

Besides his incredible on-track performances, Keselowski also had quite a few off-track highlights too. He made his second prime time television sitcom appearance on the hit show Sullivan and Son in July. In conjunction with long-time Team Penske partner Miller Lite, he starred in “Bartender Brad,” which cast the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion as a sage mixologist that dispenses wisdom and cold Miller Lite beer. As one of the American motor racing’s most prominent voices, he was in high demand. Highlighting his numerous media commitments over the course of the season, Keselowski spent a day at the ESPN compound in Bristol, Conn., as he visited numerous ESPN media outlets in an activity that has come to be known a “carwash.” Earlier in the year he did a similar visit in Los Angeles at the FOX television studios.

Another area where Keselowski broke ground and forged further into the social sphere was with his blog. The blog, that received critical acclaim from the media and public alike as it showcased Keselowski’s ability and willingness to cover a wide range of topics from the very personal to his views on the sport. This along with his continued high degree of engagement on Twitter further cemented his reign of excellence on track and online.

While Keselowski came up short of the ultimate goal of winning his second Cup Series title, he and Team Penske further cemented their status as a force to be reckoned with both on and off track.