Brad Keselowski was all smiles Friday as he gathered with his Penske Racing family – tuxedo-clad – for the traditional NASCAR Sprint Cup championship photos ahead of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards hosted by “America's Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel at Wynn Las Vegas..
After a whirlwind of post-
Homestead appearances stretching south to north, east to west and culminating with Champion's Week in Las Vegas, the magnitude of what Keselowski, owner Roger Penske, crew chief Paul Wolfe and the entire Penske organization had accomplished.
“I've enjoyed every second of my time in Vegas,” Keselowski said. “It was tough to really sit back and realize how special this opportunity is. Because of that, now I really want to come back next year and do it all again.
“The fans have been amazing this week. I can't believe how many came out to celebrate this week with me. It's special how passionate our fans are, and I'm proud to be a part of all of it for them.”
Wolfe especially enjoyed Tuesday's tour of various Las Vegas landmarks such as the Welcome To Las Vegas sign, the set of Beatles LOVE at The Mirage and the House of Blues Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay. To view and download those photos, visit nascarmedia.com.
“There was a lot to take in. It seemed like we were non-stop on the go. I tried to take it all in and enjoy it,” said the championship crew chief.
Car owner Roger Penske was clearly moved by the magnitude of his team's accomplishment, as he finally sat at the NASCAR champion's head table.
"The thing I am most proud of is that you have to earn your way in and we did,'' said Penske, who then acknowledged last year's champion Tony Stewart in the audience and jokingly (presumably!) offered him a ride in the Indianapolis 500 next year, proposing he do the Memorial Day weekend double with NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. "You available?'' Penske asked Stewart.
Addressing his new champion, Penske said: "To see Brad and how he's going to represent the sport probably means the most to me – what you see is what you get,'' Penske said. "He didn't have a speech prepared, he said what he felt from the heart and you can see the quality in this young man.
"Three years into the sport he's able to win like this. How many people have done that. I think it shows his depth and commitment. I think he's going to drive the sport even further. He's going to be a great champion and someone we will all say, deserves it.''
The week's highlights included the champion's media tour, participation by all 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifiers in Wednesday's game-show style “Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” at the Fremont Street Experience and Thursday's annual NASCAR/NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon during which Keselowski received the Goodyear Tires and Sunoco Diamond Performance awards. On Thursday came the traditional Victory Lap festivities during which NASCAR Sprint Cup stock cars performed burnouts on the famed Las Vegas Boulevard. (ABOVE).