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Brad Keselowski's run bittersweet for Dodge's NASCAR effort

As manufacturer prepares to bow out of the sport, one of its drivers is in contention for his first Sprint Cup championship.
by Scott Wright Published: November 3, 2012

Toyota's elevation among the elite racing teams has contributed to Dodge's demise as well. After a slow start when it entered Sprint Cup in 2008, Toyota has come on strong, providing engines for owners like Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip.

Keselowski has shown excitement about Penske's move to Ford.

“That was the piece that I feel like puts us in a position to make a run for the championship for the next few years,” Keselowski said in March when the announcement was made. “I think there were some limitations in making that happen with the road we were on, so we changed roads.”

Watching Keselowski's success down the stretch has been bittersweet for those at Dodge.

“It's tearing me up right now, to be honest with you,” Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of the SRT Brand and Chrysler Group LLC, told earlier this week. “It's a very emotional time for the whole team right now. We didn't expect to be this good. So on the one side, I'm happy because we're going out with a bang.

“On the other side it's, ‘Man, the potential.' It's so hard to get to this level and have all the different things working so well. Everything we've been working for for 11 years is happening.”

It has been clear this week that Keselowski isn't focusing on winning one last title for Dodge, but winning the first for himself and the first for his team owner, Roger Penske.

Asked what it would mean to win the championship, Keselowski turned wistful.

“To anyone that's asked me that question,” he said, “I just want to grab them and go into a time machine and send them through the course of events, because I don't think I can put into words what it means.

“It's basically the culmination of a life's worth of work, and not just one, but three or four or even more than that, when you count in my crew chief and mechanics, family, car owner and so forth. The best way that I can probably answer that is that it's a culmination of several lives worth of work.”

by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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