“I was driving this backmarker car, the #23 car,” Keselowski told Sporting News
earlier this year, “There was a restart, and I had pitted with Tony Stewart. He came out right in front of me, or maybe two spots in front of me - I don't remember - so we both had tyres. They dropped the green, and Tony and I were working our way through the field.
“I went to the outside in turn three - I passed six cars in one corner, and he was one of them. It was a pretty cool experience, because I'd never really even been racing with those guys before. I'd been in races with them, but I'd never was racing with them, if that makes any sense.
“So, here I was in this backmarker car, passing the Roush cars and the Gibbs cars, and it just happened to be that Dale was in a suite in turn four. I think it was that moment right there - when he saw that - that kind of solidified in his mind that I was the right guy to drive the #88 car. It wasn't till I got that opportunity that I really got to go forward.”
Keselowski has made the most of his chance. Though his driving style and singleness of purpose may not be designed to make him the most popular driver in the garage, they will stand him in good stead when it comes to winning races and contending for championships.
And all the evidence suggests that's what Keselowski really cares about.
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service