Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Brother Gets Push into 500; Brian Keselowski Gets a Big Assist from Little Brother in Second Duel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Brother Gets Push into 500; Brian Keselowski Gets a Big Assist from Little Brother in Second Duel

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE

DAYTONA BEACH - As young brothers, Brad and Brian Keselowski never dreamed about racing against each other in the Daytona 500.

"I did dream about the day he wouldn't beat me up," Brad said.

Their relationship soared on a sunny afternoon at the Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, when they paired in a two-car draft in the second Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race.

With little brother's help, Brian Keselowski did the impossible - made the starting lineup for Sunday's main event.

Now they can start dreaming.

Between tears, the brothers hugged after Brian finished fifth in the heat race. He had to race his way into the starting lineup because he didn't have any provisional exemptions or a fast qualifying speed to fall back on. The two highest-finishing drivers in each qualifying race who weren't set in the starting grid were awarded the last four spots in the race.

With Brad owning a provisional exemption as a top-35 driver a year ago, it means the brothers will race against each other on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski drives for legendary and well-funded car owner Roger Penske. Brian bought an old car originally built at Evernham Motorsports. Brad had the resources of more than 400 employees at Penske working on his Dodge; Brian had two.

But when Brad spun out on Lap 41 of 60, it shuffled him to the back of the field - and right behind Brian. That's when he decided to give big brother a push.

They worked together the final 19 laps, once getting Brian up to third place.

"We talked about helping each other, but I didn't think my car was fast enough for him to even worry about," Brian said. "He gave me some tips. He told me what I needed to do with my race car. I watched him a lot when he and Kurt [Busch] worked together in practice.

"He's always been a snotty little kid, but without him I wouldn't be in the Daytona 500."

By qualifying, Brian Keselowski is guaranteed at least $250,000.

Michael Waltrip also raced his way into the field in the second qualifying race.

In the first 150-mile race, J.J. Yeley rallied from one lap down to a spot in the 500 in the final seven laps. …

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