DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On a day when drivers gave reporters the usual pat answers that satisfied the corporate sponsors, Brad Keselowski went off the script and gave his honest, unique take on everything.
Often, it had little to do with racing.
The defending 2012 Sprint Cup champion talked about subjects ranging from driver Danica Patrick’s relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to his role in the sport to Twitter, delivering the goods to the media as Daytona International Speedway kicked off its NASCAR season by hosting its annual media day Thursday.
If you drink enough orange juice, you can drink a lot of beer, said Keselowski, arriving and brandishing a bottle of orange juice during the morning session in the Daytona 500 Club facility behind pit road.
The Michigan-born driver, last seen celebrating his first title at Homestead, Fla., last November, immediately jumped into the fray on the subject of Patrick and Stenhouse Jr., who revealed recently that they had begun dating.
When told that Stenhouse Jr. had tweeted an apology to the drivers for something, Keselowski responded: I wish he’d have tweeted a picture or something. I’d have much preferred that.
It’s not so much a story that they’re dating. It’s much more of a story if they break up. That would be incredible to watch, to be honest. There are so many ways that could go.
Imagine if they wrecked each other for the next six races because they were mad.
Keselowski, who turned 29 Tuesday, said his role in today’s NASCAR world is far more different from previous champions’, despite the fact that he’s been called an old school driver.
I don’t know if I’m an old school driver. I have my own way of doing things. There’s a little bit of pride in thinking that some of that goes back to how the drivers earlier in the sport did it, he said.
But you have to fight to be relevant, too. You can’t do things that were done in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s or ’90s and feel like you’re going to be relevant to today’s fans. You can find a balance.
You’ve got to be relevant, but you’ve got to stay connected to your roots.
Keselowski playfully defended his lifestyle.
He partied hard and deep into the night after his title-clinching race in Homestead, and his postrace interview in the media center had the writers raving. He doesn’t shy away from his affinity for indulging in his sponsor’s product – Miller Lite beer.
There’s nothing wrong with a little style, is there? Look, I’m wearing white shoes. Who does that? Dario Franchitti. That’s it’s, right? he said, displaying his footwear with an embroidered No. 2 on it.
Active on social media, Keselowski tweeted during the delay in last year’s Daytona 500. He was upbraided by NASCAR because of it, but he stands by his decision to do so.
I think when it comes to moments like that, they really are only cool because they are authentic. They are new, fresh, authentic and not forced. I do a lot of stuff on social media and a lot of people that approach me with ideas and the ones that are worth a damn are cool, fresh, have style and are authentic, he added.