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Bob died at age 70 in 2021 and the loss is still fresh for Brad and the rest of the family coming into the 2022 Cup Series season. For him, his dad was more than one of the best drivers to ever grace motorsports — he was a hardworking mentor whose dedication and work ethic allowed Brad to have the career he enjoys today.
Bob’s biggest claim to fame within NASCAR was that he was an ARCA Menards Series champion. He won 24 times, finishing top 3 in the series standings seven consecutive times. He went on to become a pioneering driver when what we now know as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was just getting started in the 1990s.
The Keselowski family had racing in their blood even before Bob became a staple in the sport. His father, John, got his start racing motorcycles in the 1950s before moving over to stock cars, according to The Detroit News. Bob and his brother Ron began working for their dad after he started his own racing team and the duo remained involved with professional motorsports in some capacity their whole lives.
After becoming a massive ARCA champion, Bob moved over to Truck Series racing in 1995, winning a lone championship in 1997. However, his obituary from NASCAR notes back pain and a pinched nerve in his hip forced him off the track in the late 1990s. Fortunately, he was still able to maintain a presence within motorsports as a team owner.
Sadly, the family team folded in 2006 due to a lack of sponsorships. At the time, Brad was the team’s driver and felt responsible that the family business fell apart on his watch. But in a 2012 USA Today profile, Bob explained that was simply not the case.
"I don't think we did anything wrong,'' Bob Keselowski said he told his son. "I just think that God had a way bigger plan than we had. Our family plan was to run a truck team. We were very content to be involved in NASCAR in the truck series level. My goal was to have a strong enough company where both my sons could race and they would run the operation.''
Still, Brad watched as his dad sold off everything to pay off what they owed, a memory that still sticks with him, according to the profile. Fortunately, the hard times paid off and Bob got to see his son become one of NASCAR’s top-tier drivers and even saw him win the Cup Series championship in 2012.
Meanwhile, Bob wasn’t quite done being impressive behind the wheel. In 2018 he set a stock-car speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, reaching 271.8 mph.
Following his death, Brad took to Twitter to eulogize his late father, writing: “My dad will always be my hero. He was quiet and understated, but that didn’t change the impact he had on me or that I watched him have on everyone who knew him. I am forever grateful for what I learned from this man, and I will remember him every day.”
Now, Brad tries to honor his dad’s legacy both on and off the track.
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