Keselowski Returning to Site of First Career NCTS Start; Planning on Better Results: It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Brad Keselowski made his first career start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the Martinsville ...
Keselowski Returning to Site of First Career NCTS Start; Planning on Better Results: It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Brad Keselowski made his first career start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the Martinsville Speedway. A year ago, a 20-year old Keselowski entered the garage area that he had become so familiar as a child working with his family on their NCTS entries only he was looked upon differently, this time as a fellow competitor looking to make his mark on the series. The young rookie qualified his way into the event, but would experience the full gamete of highs and lows that come along with being a rookie at Martinsville. At the end of the day, Keselowski would take home a 33rd place finish and a tremendous amount of experience.
With 11 NCTS starts now behind him, Keselowski now returns to the tight half-mile Martinsville Speedway for a type of vindication. One could say that Keselowski wants to show the track how far he has come since that first start one year ago.
"It is really hard for me to believe that it has been a year since I started driving in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Keselowski. "I feel like I have learned so much in the 11 events that I have competed in, but it is almost overwhelming to think about how much I still have to learn about this series and these competitors. But stepping into driving duties at a track like Martinsville may have seemed a little crazy now that I have been able to look back on it. That weekend was full of highs like qualifying for the race on time and lows like making contact with the end of pit wall when I was trying to exit after a pit stop. But I know that these are all pieces that come with being a rookie in a series that is this competitive and with making your first start at a track as difficult as Martinsville."
Keselowski has certainly taken his second career trip to Martinsville seriously spending a day testing the track just two weeks ago to better learn a solid line around the track and get more laps with fewer trucks before returning with 47 other competitors this week when practice begins Friday morning. While Keselowski struggled at the short track of Martinsville Speedway last season, his short track experience in the series evened out when he competed at the .44-mile oval of Mansfield Motorsports Speedway and ran second for much of the day to series veteran, Ted Musgrave.
"I actually like running on the short tracks," said Keselowski. "I have certainly had more success in this series on the speedways, but we had a really good run on the short track at Mansfield last year and with some of the changes that we have made to our short track truck, I think if we can stay out of trouble we will have a solid finish out of Martinsville this week. That was one of the primary reasons for testing at Martinsville other than for me to get some more laps in, we changed the front of one of our short track trucks for this race and we just wanted to ensure that we had made the right changes."
The Kroger 200 is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00pm ET on Saturday, April 9. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel.