A whole lot has happened in Brad Keselowski’s life since 2012.
During that time, the now 38-year-old driver of the No. 6 Ford for RFK Racing has had his fair share of hot streaks and rough patches, and has even gotten into a few fights and feuds along the way (his dust-ups with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards particularly come to mind).
Getting married and having two baby girls will no doubt the two most important personal milestones of Keselowski’s life in general, but it was Keselowski’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship run nearly 10 years ago that will go down as an all-time career moment for the Rochester Hills, Michigan native. Almost as memorable as Keselowski being declared Sprint Cup champion? His drunken interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter only moments later.
WATCH: Brad Keselowski’s Drunk Interview After Winning Cup Title
Following his big win, Keselowski greeted SportsCenter anchor Kevin Connors with a swig from a giant glass full of Miller Lite, which was his sponsor at the time. When asked about how it felt to win the Sprint Cup championship, Keselowski was as honest as you could get.
“Pretty damn awesome,” Keselowski said. “I got a little buzz going. I’ve been drinking for a little bit.”
Keselowski went on to talk about things that most athletes tend to mention after a big win — teamwork, never giving up, believing in yourself — before going a little unorthodox by quoting Winston Churchill’s famous “Never ever, ever, give up” motto.
Soon after his iconic interview with Keselowski, Connors praised the conversation as being one of SportsCenter’s top on-air moments.
“This is about as genuine as it gets,” Connors told ESPN Front Row. “His reaction was so real, that’s why it received the response it did. Here’s a guy who just finished off a dream season, and he’s having a beer to celebrate. A very, very, very large beer.”
What an awesome and hilarious moment in NASCAR history, and one that will forever add a whole new meaning to the phrase, “It’s Miller Time.”
Brad Keselowski’s 2012 Season
Brad Keselowski won five Cup races and racked up an additional eight top-five finishes during his 2012 season with Penske Racing (now Team Penske). While Keselowski also won three races in the Nationwide Series (now the Xfinity Series), he was locked in on joining the legends before him and winning that 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Driving the No. 12 Dodge that year, Keselowski earned his first win at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. His second win came at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, which also marked the first time since 1976, and the fourth time ever, that a Dodge stock car won a Cup Series race at Talladega.
Keselowski won for the third time at the June 30th race at Kentucky Speedway, where he became first driver to win three races in the 2012 Cup season. After his win at the 2012 Quaker State 400, Keselowski also joined Kyle Busch as the first two-time Cup winners of the Kentucky race.
Leading up to his next win at the September race at Chicagoland Speedway, Keselowski would go on a solid streak of top-10 finishes (save for his 30th-place finish at Bristol). This included his back-to-back second-place finishes at Watkins Glen and Michigan and a third-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Keselowski’s win at the Geico 400 in Chicagoland also marked the first race of the playoffs, and he would win his fifth and final race of the season two weeks later at Dover.
While Keslowski followed his Dover win up with a seventh-place finish at Talladega, an 11th-place finish at Charlotte, and a seventh-place finish at Kansas, he lost the points lead to Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville, where the Hendrick Motorsports driver won and Keselowski placed sixth. In the following race at Texas, Keselowski drove with a “death wish” (according to Tony Stewart) and placed second. However, Johnson, determined to win his sixth title, again saw the checkered flag.
After Johnson wrecked out the next week at Phoenix, Keselowski capitalized. Keselowski’s sixth-place finish put him back on top of the points lead, and he clinched his championship win with a 15th-place finish at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Brad Keselowski’s big win put him alongside such legends as Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt as the only drivers to win the Cup Series title within their first three full-time seasons. It’s no wonder then that Keselowski celebrated as hard as he did after his impressive championship run.
This post was originally published on October 31, 2019.