The 2020 NASCAR season was a year of change, and one of the major changes was the elimination of practice and qualifying sessions, restricting the race weekends to one-day shows. Brad Keselowski recently spoke about a big benefit that has come his way as a result of having to be at the race-track for just one day.
The past year allowed many drivers to spend quality time with their families during the lockdown, something they usually do not get the opportunity to do.
When asked if the quality of his ‘family life’ has increased since the change in the schedule, Keselowski replied, saying, “One hundred percent.”
He then looked back on the initial phase of his career, when he was a young driver trying to make his name in NASCAR. He wanted to get as much time on the track as he could. Back then, NASCAR was implementing the testing ban, and Keselowski was not happy about it at all.
“When I came into Cup (with a partial schedule in 2009), they were just doing the testing ban. And I remember being so mad about that,” Keselowski expressed during an interview.
The schedule before the removal of testing saw drivers running tests on Tuesday and Wednesday. They arrived at the venues on Thursday for the next three days of racing, including practice, qualifying, and the main race.
As a youngster, Keselowski wanted to be at the race tracks as much as he could. He was less experienced than many others; and felt that the removal of testing seriously hindered his ability to prepare for the race. Keselowski voiced his displeasure with the authorities as well on the matter.
However, he reminisced that most of the senior-level drivers, at the time, did not feel the same way at all.
“I remember them countering that my peers, especially those toward the end of their careers, felt the exact opposite. No testing, no extra days at the track. So that they could have a family life. And I remember not understanding that at all and just kind of feeling like, ‘Well, too bad.’,” the Team Penske driver added.
In hindsight, and then looking at his current situation, Keselowski understands why his peers felt so.
“And now the shoe is on the other foot, and I guess it’s the hindsight, or God laughing at me. I don’t know…I feel very lucky to be where I am now and the sport to be where it is now that I can take advantage,” the 36-year-old said.
As an experienced driver, Keselowski now understands a lot of things about all aspects of NASCAR racing. When asked if he could run with the current schedule for more years, Keselowski’s reply showed how his thinking process has changed now.
“As far as not having the three-day shows, yeah, absolutely. Those are just days of your life you just never get back that were expensive and not productive,” he concluded.
Keselowski is certainly enjoying quality time with his young family these days. At the same time, he will focus on using the momentum from a successful 2020 season in his bid for a second Cup title, in 2021.