Brad Keselowski clinches NASCAR Nationwide Series championship
Another Michigan native won a NASCAR championship this weekend when Brad Keselowski, of Rochester Hills, clinched his first Nationwide Series title in dominating fashion following a third-place finish at Texas.
Keselowski’s Nationwide Series title also gives another Michigan resident, team owner Roger Penske, his first championship in NASCAR.
Keselowski now becomes the fourth driver from Michigan to win a NASCAR touring series title, joining the likes of Johnny Benson, Jack Sprague and Benny Parsons. Benson, from Grand Rapids, won the 1995 Nationwide Series and 2008 Camping World Truck Series titles. Parsons, from Detroit, is Michigan’s only NASCAR Cup Series champion with a title in 1973. Sprague, originally from Spring Lake, was the Truck Series champion three different times in 1997, 1999 and 2001.
Also, Gordon Johncock, an open-wheel favorite from Hastings, won the 1976 USAC National Championship.
As the president of Keselowski’s home-state track, Michigan International Speedway, Roger Curtis was thrilled to see a Michigan native take the championship.
“Congratulations to Brad, Mr. Penske and the entire Nationwide Series team for winning this year’s championship,” Curtis said. “It doesn’t happen that often when a Michigan native wins a NASCAR series championship so it’s with great pride as a fellow Michigander that I congratulate him. He makes our state very proud.”
Michigan, with its rich automotive heritage, takes pride in having some of the nation’s top auto racing drivers, many which have raced on the high banks of Michigan International Speedway’s two-mile oval. In fact, Keselowski is the two-time defending winner of the Nationwide Series race at MIS with victories in 2009 and 2010.
Johncock and Keselowski both won races at MIS in the same year they went on to win their championships.