Brad Keselowski has a few interesting things on his holiday wish list:
A celebrity girlfriend.
And a tank.
No doubt you could combine the two to make for one of the coolest dates nights ever witnessed. Although it sounds far-fetched, please don't discredit anything Keselowski has to say.
The dude has earned all the respect due a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, even if he happens to have a little bit of a crazy edge to him. I say that in the nicest possible way.
Keselowski is the greatest thing that has happened to NASCAR since the invention of beer bongs and asphalt. The three all happen to work very well together as the nation saw Sunday night while Keselowski was celebrating his first NASCAR Cup title by taking swigs of Miller Lite from an oversized glass during a live interview on ESPN.
It was product placement gold for Miller Lite, and a good deal for Keselowski too as he rose to iconic status among NASCAR's working-class masses (not to mention the casual viewer).
"It was great, man," he said later in the night. "People love beer. I can be a big [bleep] but, at the end of the day, people still love beer."
And NASAR loves Keselowski. The sport needs a buzz, an uptick, as it struggles with the economy, key sponsors who have bailed, and racing that has been boring at times. There is nothing boring about Keselowski.
At 28, he is honest, refreshing and unfiltered. Consider this snippet after Sunday night's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"I'm going to meet some cool people. I've always wanted to date a celebrity. I'm just throwing that out there. That would be really cool, don't you think?"
His cyberspace peeps on Twitter are already trying to swing a date deal with Jennifer Love Hewitt. No doubt he would impress any celebrity date with his cool ride. That brings us to the tank purchase.
"I promised myself if I won it [the title], I would buy one whether Dale [Earnhardt Jr.] does or not," he said during a media teleconference on Tuesday. "It was kind of a little bit of motivation, I should say. I'm not one to really buy trophies for myself, but I think a tank would be pretty cool. I want to put one together and have some fun with it. When I'm done playing with it, I'll just park it in the driveway and scare off people who aren't supposed to be around. I don't know. It will be fun either way."
There's going to be lots of fun along the way. Stops on Good Morning America and The Late Show with David Letterman, followed by the NASCAR Champion's Week celebration in Las Vegas, and the potential for marketing madness there..
"You know what would be awesome?" he told NASCAR reporter Mike Hembree. "Do they have any buildings that need to be torn down that we could blow up? That would be a great NASCAR PR stunt. I just planted a seed, didn't I? No one's ever thought of that one, have they?"
I told you the boy was a little crazy. In the nicest possible way.
Gordon's vexing finish
His victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway was certainly an odd way to end an eventful and conflicted week for Jeff Gordon.
In the days leading up to the race, he was all over the place emotionally trying to come to terms with his deliberate bump on Clint Bowyer's car that set off all sorts of craziness at Phoenix. Let him explain:
"You can try all you want to try to move past the moment, but man, it just ate me up inside all week," he said. "I just kept going back and forth about the decisions that I made and wishing I had made different decisions to backing up reasons why I made the decisions I made, and I just kept going back and forth from being disappointed, being angry, feeling that I had a right. I didn't have a right. So that just ate me up all week.
"…In our team meeting before the race; I apologized to those guys for some of the things that transpired that they had to get involved with that wasn't their doing last week, and I put them in that position, and I apologized to them and I thanked them at the same time for having my back.
"That's the kind of team that we've been this year. We've had to have one another's backs because we've all made mistakes this year. And so to be able to celebrate with them in Victory Lane was very special, very meaningful, and gives a tremendous amount of momentum to go into 2013 with the new race car."
For all his ups and downs, Gordon edged Martin Truex for 10th place in the Cup standings by four points.
Regan's new crew chief
Greg Ives will be the crew chief for driver Regan Smith for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced Tuesday.
Ives was the race engineer for Jimmie Johnson's run of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships from 2006-2010.
Smith was victorious in his JR Motorsports debut Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet to a win in the season finale, marking the first win for Smith in 103 series starts.
"Regan's win on Saturday and the announcement of Greg's hiring today are huge momentum boosts for this company going into the off-season," owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "Greg comes highly regarded. He has been a huge part of the 48 team's success, and this is a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet as a crew chief. The partnership between JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports gives us the opportunity to help employees advance their careers while still keeping them in the family, so to speak."
The season has been a long grind for all involved, but there remains one order of business: Champion's Week in Las Vegas. The top 10 drivers and their teams will be on hand for the awards ceremony on Nov. 30 at the Wynn, culminating five days of assorted activities.