NASCAR's Brad Keselowski on Logano: He Was Always Near the Top and I was 'Definitely Jealous'
They're teammates and good friends now, but that hasn't always been the case.
Team Penske’s two most veteran Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, 2012 champion Brad Keselowski and reigning series champion Joey Logano, seem to have a solid friendship and teammate relationship nowadays. Keselowski even was instrumental in bringing Logano into Penske ahead of the 2013 season. However, the two drivers weren’t always chummy, at one point, Keselowski was even jealous of his future teammate.
"If you don’t know what the Prospect List is, it’s basically like ESPN’s Mel Kiper NFL draft board, only for NASCAR,” Keselowski said in an article he wrote for NASCAR.com about his teammate and NASCAR’s latest champ. "Back in the day, when Joey and I were just getting started, Joey was always near the top of the Prospect List, always number one, two or three. I, on the other hand, was never on it."
"So I’d always see his name on there, and I definitely was jealous, mostly because I couldn’t even crack The List, let alone get to the top of it," he added. "And if I’m being honest, I definitely felt a bit of animosity toward him, being someone who wanted to beat the best, and be the best.”
Keselowski’s first encounter with Logano didn’t improve the former’s opinion of the latter, either.
"At a race in 2008, Joey was making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start, and in practice, he pulled out in front of me when I was right in the middle of running a simulated qualifying lap,” Keselowski wrote. "I was going really fast, and he drove out right in front of me at half speed. I had to lift and slow down, and it ruined my whole lap. So I gave him the finger.
"That was how I met Joey Logano.”
Keselowski came to respect his future teammate, though, after the two drivers began racing each other week-in and week-out as full-time Cup Series drivers. Logano broke into NASCAR’s premier series in 2009 and Keselowski a year later. Keselowski was finally recognizing, an respecting, Logano’s talent. And the two drivers even bonded.
Logano struggled in his first Cup Series gig as Tony Stewart’s replacement at Joe Gibbs Racing. He won only twice in his four years at JGR. Keselowski, already at Team Penske, knew Logano was a better driver than those results showed. And with the clout that came with his Cup Series title, Keselowski urged Roger Penske to hire Logano to drive the No. 22 Team Penske livery.
Penske took Keselowski’s recommendation to heart, and the rest, as they say, is history. Keselowski and Logano both are top-echelon drivers with Cup Series championships. They’re also friends the days and have each other’s utmost respect.
"As I grew to know Joey, I really started to appreciate his values as a person,” Keselowski wrote. "He’s big on family. He’s a fairly spiritual person. He has a pretty high level of ethics. Over time, his wife and my wife became very close friends, which is a great thing.
"I also came to value him as a teammate."