DETROIT — Are we likely to see a different Brad Keselowski now that he is rich and famous and intends to buy a tank?
After all, a payout of almost $6 million for winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship could go a long way in changing the most dedicated and focused individual.
Since capturing the championship last Sunday, the 28-year-old from a hardworking, blue-collar racing family in Rochester Hills has appeared in Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and on "Good Morning America", "The Late Show with David Letterman" and a host of other TV and radio programs.
Keselowski, who drives for Roger Penske, says he wants to hang out with cool people and date a celebrity. He'll probably get the chance.
So, will success spoil Keselowski, who was brought up to work hard, respect his elders and drive fast?
"No way, Brad is a genuine and caring person — there's no fagade about him, and I don't see that changing."
Those were the words of Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis, who has seen Keselowski mature from a teenager with potential into a racer who has suddenly become the new face of NASCAR, moving aside the likes of Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.
"Brad is still Brad and I expect him to be that way," continued Curtis. "Of course, he'll have more commitments now and more restraints on his time, not to mention more popularity, but I really don't see that changing him."
Keselowski appreciates the support of people like Curtis and his MIS crew.
"It's been a great ride, and I'm fortunate to be part of it," said Keselowski of Dodge. "Hopefully, they'll find their way back into NASCAR very soon, and I'm sure when they do, they'll be very competitive as they were to end this season. I appreciate all the support along the way, and making it possible."