Keselowski on IndyCar: “It’s a good way to get worn out”

All photos: IndyCar
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Brad Keselowski made a surprise Verizon IndyCar Series testing debut as part of an 11-car test today at Road America.

The initial social post is linked here.

Meanwhile IndyCar posted some photos and a separate release after Keselowski completed his initial laps in Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, which the series points leader will compete in at next week’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Those photos (all photos: IndyCar) and release are below, as is Keselowski’s tweet after the event:

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Wednesday, June 15, 2016) — Brad Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Cup champion, turned his first laps in an Indy car today as part of a multi-team test at Road America, the 4.048-mile permanent road course that will play host to the KOHLER Grand Prix, the next event on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule June 24-26.

Keselowski, driver for Team Penske in NASCAR, climbed into the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet of teammate Simon Pagenaud late in the afternoon of a full day of testing that included 11 cars. The 32-year-old Keselowski enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve always wanted to drive an Indy car, I think (Penske Racing President) Tim Cindric knew that,” Keselowski said. “The opportunity came up to dip my toes in the water and kind of expand my knowledge base and put it in the back of my mind for wherever it goes, I don’t know. But it was a heck of an opportunity and I’m glad to have a chance.”

Pagenaud ran a few shakedown laps in the car before turning it over to Keselowski.

“First thing I told Simon (after the test) is he has a very secure job, at least from me,” Keselowski said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his team, everyone at Team Penske. This (No.) 22 Menards team, they did a great job today and I had a lot of fun going with them. Simon was fast, really fast and gave me a good rabbit to chase. I learned a ton today and had a lot of fun. I’ve got to let it soak in here to think about all of it. It was a heck of a day here at Road America.”

Keselowski quickly noticed the difference in the handling and braking abilities of an Indy car compared to a stock car.

“It sure was getting in the corners a lot deeper,” he said. “I think the Indy car just pulls so many G’s through the center of the corner and in the brake zone. You have to build confidence in it because the stock car does everything it can to wreck your confidence and in the Indy car it’s important to have confidence. So you have to kind of unlearn everything you learned in a stock car to be good in these cars. That’s a heck of a process but a fun one.

“It’s certainly a different feel, trying to get acclimated to a different seat and you lean back more. I was kind of sitting in Simon’s seat and it doesn’t always fit you perfect, so it wears you out pretty quick. But it’s a good way to get worn out.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

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Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

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Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.