NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski changes lanes easily before, behind ESPN cameras
Should Brad Keselowski want to expand his ESPN moonlighting gigs beyond reporting cameos or commercial appearances to actual jobs within the company, the NASCAR driver knows whom he would most like to job shadow. For a job off camera, he’d like to apprentice with ESPN President John Skipper because “he sees everybody, he’s the boss of everybody. That would be kind of a great job.” As for preparing for an on-camera job, Keselowski would like SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy to show him how it’s done. “He does hockey, he does everything, and plus, I know him pretty well.”
Through the years, ESPN has chronicled Brad Keselowski’s rise through NASCAR’s racing ranks to become one of only two drivers to win both Nationwide and Sprint Cup season titles. Along the way, Keselowski, 30, has become familiar with how ESPN works, too.
Wednesday, he visited the company’s Bristol, Conn. campus for a “Car Wash” in advance of competing in the Brickyard 400 (Sunday, Noon ET, ESPN/WatchESPN). He saw plenty of familiar faces on and off his itinerary, crossing paths and needling SportsCenter anchors Sara Walsh and Bram Weinstein in one instance.
“At the end of the day, we’re fans of ESPN, too,” Keselowski said. “We might be a participant in the sport. . . but we’re still fans of what you guys do. Sometimes we’ll get starstruck by ESPN Talent.”
He played ESPN reporter for a few minutes in Los Angeles recently, asking fans on the street whether they could spell his last name (see video below). Only one of the eight people he approached even recognized the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, and that fan – “a postmaster or something like that” – was just visiting LA.
In September 2012 in Richmond, Va., Keselowski sat in ESPN’s production truck during the network’s coverage of the Nationwide race that weekend. As Vice President, Motorsports, Production, Rich Feinberg recalled, Keselowski’s expertise helped ESPN’s production of an accident’s replay.
“The technology is just fascinating. There’s no better spot in the world to watch a race from than the ESPN production truck,” Keselowski said. “I wish I could do that every week.”
NASCAR teams routinely review television tapes to assess performances, but Keselowski recalls at least one instance when ESPN’s coverage helped his team detect a problem during competition.
In the 2011 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, his Penske teammate Kurt Busch had trouble – the source of which wasn’t immediately apparent.
“We couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then someone who was watching the race from Charlotte texted back and said, ‘Yeah, I saw the [radiator] pan blow out in the race coverage. That’s what’s going on’,” Keselowski said. “I thought that was pretty interesting.”
Keselowski’s live “buzzed” 2012 Sprint Cup title celebration interview with SportsCenter anchor Kevin Connors means the driver will never have to reach for his wallet when thirsty.
“It gets mentioned a lot with younger male fans,” said Keselowski.”They all want me to drink a beer with them.”