Keselowski tries to honor his dad at Daytona with a heavy heart

Brad Keselowski got out of the wrecked Daytona 500 race car, took off one glove, and threw it at a pile of steel and sheet metal.

Keselowski tries to honor his dad at Daytona with a heavy heart

Before pulling off his helmet, Keselowski did the same thing with the second glove. He then grabbed the chin strap of the helmet and tossed another heater at the mangled mess between the last two turns.

Keselowski did not initially disclose the reasons this one hurt. Before he traveled to Daytona Beach, the 2012 Cup Series Champion had informed his father that he would win NASCAR's season opening race.

Keselowski stated, "I thought about him all the way home on the plane and how close I was to him,"

Keselowski waited one year for another chance, and it comes with a heavy heart. Keselowski's father Bob, who had been battling cancer for two years, passed away in December. Bob Keselowski was the 1989 ARCA Series champion and a long-time team owner. He celebrated his son's title almost a decade ago. After a dozen years of driving for Team Penske, he joined Brad in becoming part-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.

Bob Keselowski was unable to witness his son win the Daytona 500, stock-car racing’s most prestigious event.

Brad finished in second place last year and ran second through what he called "stupidluck" on the final lap. Joey Logano, a teammate, blocked Keselowski from passing about one mile from the finish line. He also wrecked them both. Longshot Michael McDowell was able to win the 358 Cup Series for the first-time in his career thanks to the melee.

His voice was trailing off, "The sting from Daytona ...," Keselowski" he said. "I knew that my dad wouldn't be able to make it this year, and he did. It's not clear if he's that kind of fighter. But, I told him before I left Daytona that I was going to win the Daytona 500 for you, Dad.

"That's why it hurt so much, losing it like I did last year. He wanted it to be mine."

Keselowski is currently 0 for 12 at the 500. This skid was started in 2010. Keselowski finished in the top five in each of his consecutive years (2013-14), but was even closer during the final laps last year.

He said, "Daytona's... she's heart-breaking." "She has broken my heart a few times here. But, I keep coming back. "I'm trying to get out of the friendzone here with Daytona. I feel like the guy in Daytona's friend zone."

Perhaps a new car, new team, new number, and a new driver/owner role can help. Keselowski, 38, is now Roush Fenway Keselowski racing's face. Keselowski officially joined the team in July. He will be driving the No. Chris Buescher is his only teammate.

Keselowski stated that he was ready to end his career at Team Penske. "Wasn’t thinking much else would happen, and then this opportunity presented itself and some other pieces fell into position, and I was kinda like, 'Why would you do this?' The answers to why I wouldn’t do it weren’t very good, so here we are."

Keselowski is a natural choice. Keselowski started a Truck Series team back in 2008, which raced frequently between 2012 and 2017. His great-uncle, grandfather, and older brother all had brief NASCAR careers.

Brad was hooked on Keselowski's father in Rochester Hills, Michigan as a child.

Keselowski stated, "I owe much of my success to his," "Some people are self-made, while others are a result of their families and upbringing. I believe I fall somewhere in the middle. My dad wasn't a Cup racer. From what I recall, he never had any ambitions to be a Cup racer. He wanted to be a middle-class man and race.

"My dad loved the sport to death. He was one those guys who worked behind the camera more than he did in front. He gave his life to the sport from Day 1. That's something that is very special to me. He is a proud man. He's accomplished many great things.

There is no better way to pay tribute to his father than by winning the Daytona 500 just two months after his death.

"Someone once said to me that you don't win Indy 500. The Indy 500 picks you as the winner." Keselowski stated that he believes there is a lot to this about the Daytona 500. You put yourself in a position to win and the race will choose you. ... "In some ways, I don't believe the race chose me."