While drivers like Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch loudly complain about common incidents within the confines of the racetrack, Brad Keselowski has quietly become the toughest driver in all of NASCAR.
The Michigan-native continued to showcase that by not only running the full Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta but going on to win the race after battling a stomach bug that had lingered since Friday night.
Although the lanky driver doesn’t look like the epitome of toughness at first glance, we shouldn’t be surprised that Keselowski gutted it out to win in Sunday’s race. It’s the continuation of a trend of absolute toughness that the 35-year-old has shown his entire career.
In 2007, Keselowski got his big break to drive in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports at around the mid-season mark. In just his sixth start for JRM, Keselowski was caught up in an extremely hard crash at Fontana.
Although he was basically sent head on into the wall, Keselowski dug deep and closed out the season without missing a single race after the Fontana crash.
During a test at Road America in 2011, Keselowski had a brake failure which led to an incredible impact.
Keselowski did not miss a Cup start. In fact, four days later, he won with a softball for an ankle at Pocono Raceway.
In July of 2016, Keselowski again suffered a brake failure during a test session at Watkins Glen.
I’m ok! pic.twitter.com/Cu9yPYQnFG
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) July 26, 2016
He suffered a severe impact, but yet again he walked away and went on to race the next week. And much like in 2011 he had another great run at Pocono Raceway as he came home in 2nd.
When you look at his body of work through the years, a little stomach bug was probably child’s play for Keselowski.
“Good enough to get the job done,” Keselowski said of his health following the race. “I think first off, I’ve got to give a lot to credit to one, my wife, who’s standing in the back. She was sick just like I was, and she took great care of me along with everybody in the care center. I couldn’t be here today without them. So, thank you.”
Again, we shouldn’t be surprised that Keselowski pulled off the ill-victory on Sunday, but it’s still impressive to see him rise to the occasion so often when he is injured or sick.
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Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.