TMS Media Relations | Oct 22, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 21, 2014) – On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship contender Brad Keselowski played a game of cat-and-mouse with his competitors en route to his dramatic overtime win at Talladega Superspeedway that secured an automatic berth in the upcoming Eliminator 8 Round.
A day later at Texas Motor Speedway, he was playing games again with his competition but this time it was on the world’s largest, high-definition LED video board.
Keselowski, an avid gamer, took on Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and two lucky fans in ETX Racing’s NASCAR ’14 and EA Sports Madden NFL 15 on “Big Hoss TV” as part of the “Who’s Got Game?” video game challenge to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter.
Fresh off his clutch performance in claiming a berth in the Eliminator 8 Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to keep his title hopes alive, Keselowski enjoyed an evening under the Texas sky as they played what the Team Penske driver proclaimed as the “largest video game ever played” from a “Man Cave” stage in the speedway infield.
Why the proclamation? Keselowski’s “monitor” for the gaming event was “Big Hoss TV,” which provided an eye-popping 20,633 square feet of HD display that sits nine stories high on the backstretch from his seat that was about 100 yards away.
“I wanted to be the first to play video games on the biggest TV in the world, so this is the biggest video game in the world,” Keselowski said.
Keselowski, seated behind a Game Thruster steering wheel, tested his racing skills against Gossage in a six-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Keselowski was driving his traditional No. 2 Miller Lite Ford while Gossage, ever the promoter, opted for the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota of Matt Kenseth, a close friend that was a recent combatant of Keselowski at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The two squared off with a full field on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval to simulate the Nov. 2 AAA Texas 500, which turned out to resemble more of a playful demolition derby. In the end, it was Keselowski who won the war of attrition to beat Gossage to the checkered flag.
“I hope this is the kind of action we see at the AAA Texas 500 in 13 days,” said Gossage after igniting a multi-car pile-up that put a car on its roof on the infield grass.
While Gossage may be a novice gamer, it has become a passion for Keselowski. Among his favorite games are Madden and NASCAR, and the gaming has provided its share of emotions for the 2012 Sprint Cup champ.
“I’m a pretty avid gamer to a point,” Keselowski said. “I’ve broken a controller or two. I don’t like to lose in anything I do, and I am a sore loser.”
But there were no losers Monday night as the event supported Speedway Children’s Charities and Keselowski was all smiles watching as well as engaging in the friendly competition. Griffin Lain spent his 13th birthday at the event and could not have imagined the presents he would wind up receiving.
He was one of the lucky fans chosen to play NASCAR 14 on Big Hoss TV, who then defeated another fan to advance and face Keselowski in the night’s six-lap finale. Lain chose the No. 22 car of Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano, but after an early spin but him down a few laps Keselowski generously offered up his own No. 2 Blue Deuce.
Lain closed the deal for the win and got to celebrate like a champion at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski presented him with the AAA Texas 500 trophy and a cowboy hat and then they were joined by “The Great American Sweethearts!” as confetti rained down. Keselowski also gave the young teen a pair of autographed Puma racing shoes, autographed Alliance Truck Parts hat and two suite tickets courtesy of SCC to the upcoming AAA Texas 500.
“It was like racing on a whole other level,” Lain said. “It had that huge TV and the steering wheels – stuff I had never played with and it was awesome. It was really cool. It was the best birthday ever!”
“I had a lot of fun playing, but I probably had more fun seeing the faces and reactions of everyone else. That was really special,” Keselowski said. “I hope I get invited back to do it again. Texas Motor Speedway has always been world class and I’m glad I finally got an opportunity to come out here and goof off a little bit.”
Keselowski earned the opportunity to let loose Monday night after securing his spot in the Eliminator 8 Round of the Chase in dramatic fashion at Talladega. Facing a must-win situation to keep his championship hopes alive, Keselowski responded emphatically with a thrilling green/white-checkered finish for his series-leading sixth victory of the season.
The victory proved to be a monumental moment for the Chase’s new revamped format that puts a premium on winning. Keselowski’s win resembled the playoff atmosphere of Major League Baseball, best described by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France as Game 7 moments. Keselowski ultimately delivered what amounted to a walk-off home run to advance in the Chase.
“You always get excited when you win,” Keselowski said. “Everybody is happy when you win. That part is easy. For me, I still remember vividly what it was like to win my first race ever. To win my first NASCAR race, and then to win my first (Sprint) Cup race. I could easily say that is the most excited I have been to win a race ever. Between the moves that we had to make and being able to execute them – whether it was the restarts or the lane choices. To be able to pull that one off is very, very special and something I’m very proud of.”
Keselowski is now focused on maintaining his momentum for the three races of the Eliminator 8 Round, which begins Sunday at Martinsville Speedway before heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500. The Eliminator 8 Round wraps up at Phoenix International Raceway before the Championship Round where four drivers will vie for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16.
Texas Motor Speedway will once again play a pivotal role in determining the series champion and could be the track that locks Keselowski into the Championship Round. Keselowski and his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano tested on the 1.5-mile speedway in late September. The track time and learning that Keselowski and his crew chief Paul Wolfe gained from the test session should prove valuable in addition to the fact that Logano won April’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are certainly very proud of past Sunday’s win but we can’t get caught up in it,” Keselowski said. “We have four critical races in front of us. We are probably going to need to win at least one of them. Our heads are down and focused.
“Certainly, coming here to Texas in a week-and-a-half to start that race weekend, we are looking forward to that. This type of track is really one of our strongest tracks. We are really, really looking forward to coming back here. I’m looking forward to a big weekend in Texas and looking forward to four weeks to hopefully win a second championship.”
Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 are still available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.