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SBD/February 22, 2013/NASCAR Season Preview
Defending Sprint Cup Champ Brad Keselowski Calls For NASCAR To Make Changes
Published February 22, 2013
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OTHER ISSUES: Keselowski notes all tracks "should have Wi-Fi." Keselowski: "That's so obvious, you don't even think it has to be said. But it does, and it goes back to all the factions. ... The fact I can go to a race with a Verizon phone and not have service when the race starts is a major problem." He adds, "You can't tell a fan that doesn't have service, 'We're working on it.' They bought their ticket already. That money they spent was for 'worked,' not 'working.' We have to open our eyes to the big picture. That's our sport's challenge: Can we do that?" He believes it is every driver's "responsibility to carry the sport whether they're a champion or not." Keselowski: "I feel I've taken that responsibility as much as I was allowed to last year, and some people have told me -- a lot of people -- they wish I'd be quieter and that I hadn't earned the right to speak. But I never listened to that. I've always done as much as I wanted to do and could manage. I'm sure there will be more demands going forward, and I think I'm capable (of) handling it smoothly. That doesn't mean I've got it figured out" (USA TODAY, 2/22).
TWITTER REAX: USA Today's Jeff Gluck wrote on Twitter, "This is like a State of the Union speech without all the BS." SportsBusiness Journal's Tripp Mickle wrote, "Most interesting @keselowski comment on NASCAR's biz? A call for new team revenue." Marquette Univ.'s Chris Jenkins wrote, "Applaud NASCAR's @keselowski for pondering the big picture." Keselowski wrote on his Twitter feed, "Thank you everyone for the responses. I want the best for our sport, an open dialogue is where to start."
STAYING TRUE TO HIMSELF: In Boston, Michael Vega notes Keselowski "may be ushering in the era of NASCAR's next-generation champion -- young, personable, techno-savvy, and quick with an opinion -- which would dovetail nicely with the unveiling of NASCAR's next-generation car." Keselowski said, "I have my own way of doing things, and there is a little pride thinking that some of that is back to the way some of the people earlier in the sport did it. I think you have to fight to be relevant and you can't do things that were done in the past and feel like you are going to be relevant to today's fans." Fellow driver Jimmie Johnson said that Keselowski's voice "will have some resonance in the garage as well as the grandstands." Johnson: "Once you are the champion, your voice carries much further. The more success you have in the sport, the voice will carry further and further." Noting Keselowski's celebration following his win last year, in which he appeared on ESPN drinking a Miller Lite, Johnson said, "He'll have a few moments like that, which will rein him back in some, and make him think about what he says and be more calculated." But Vega notes Keselowski "doesn't intend to mute his voice or homogenize his personality now that he's champion." He will "stay true to himself: outlandish and outspoken" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/22).