Apr 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT
Even though much of NASCAR is on its annual Easter break, a re-released interview with 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski is definitely going to have tongues once again wagging over the next few days.
Since last season, when he failed to defend his 2012 title, Keselowski has become reflective in several interviews, talking about a variety of subjects including his upbringing, his early-career feud with Carl Edwards and other topics.
A segment of an episode of the syndicated “In Depth With Graham Bensinger” from late 2012 that featured an interview with Keselowski shortly after he won the Cup crown was re-released three days ago as part of a new program including an interview with defending and six-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson.
Bensinger’s syndicated show can be seen on various TV outlets and web sites, including Yahoo Sports.
Keselowski – looking perhaps as somber as we’ve ever seen him, at times seemingly ready to break into tears – discusses how heartbroken, if not potentially betrayed he felt in 2009 when team owner Rick Hendrick picked Mark Martin to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet instead of giving Keselowski the opportunity, even though Bad Brad insists Hendrick had previously promised him that ride in 2010.
Keselowski also talks prominently about how Roger Penske approached him back in 2008, inquiring if the young talent would be interested in joining Team Penske.
“He called me and wanted to know what my situation was essentially,” Keselowski said. “I knew I wanted to do the Hendrick opportunity and go for that. But this is Roger Penske. How can I say no to at least a chance to meet him, so I met him. I sat in that office and he talked to me and I just wanted to hear him talk. I never met the guy, I just wanted to hear him talk. I didn’t know what he had to say.”
Keselowski appreciated Penske’s outreach, but elected to remain with JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, believing that he was the heir apparent for the Hendrick-owned No. 5 in 2010.
“I knew what (Penske) meant to the sport, I knew what he meant to Detroit (Keselowski is a native of suburban Detroit),” Keselowski said. “… At the end (of their conversation), he asked me a very simple question, ‘Are you interested?’ I told him I’m a loyal guy, I’ve already made another commitment, but I have a feeling I’ll be back.”
Keselowski’s loyalty to Hendrick didn’t exactly work out the way he thought it would, and as he predicted, Keselowski eventually took Penske up on his offer.
Keselowski recalls it all with crystal clarity as if it happened yesterday.
“As soon as Mark Martin won that race (Phoenix, spring 2009), I knew what that meant, I knew what when he won meant. As soon as he won that race, I knew I wasn’t going to get the ride at Hendrick Motorsports in 2010, the one essentially we’d talked about and I’d been promised. … As soon as (Martin) won Phoenix, he walked up to Mr. Hendrick and said he wanted to drive the car for the next year or two, which essentially there was no spot for me.”
When Bensinger asked Keselowski if he feels Hendrick betrayed him, Keselowski demurred somewhat.
“I never really thought of it as betrayal, I guess,” Keselowski said. “Maybe I did, I don’t know. It was more heartbroken, more chippy. Maybe that’s something that comes from a sense of betrayal, but that’s a strong word. I would say it definitely added fuel to the fire of who I am and my desire to be the best.”
Click on the link below. Some of Keselowski’s comments are definitely eye-opening.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
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