Brad Keselowski won the Sprint Cup Series title, a first at NASCAR's highest level for him and team owner Roger Penske.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Here’s a tweet for Brad Keselowski: NASCAR champion.
Roger Penske must like the sound of that, too.
The driver who virtually stole the show at the season-opening Daytona 500 ended the year under the biggest spotlight of all Sunday, beating five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to deliver the first Sprint Cup Series championship to Penske Racing.
Keselowski’s first act as champion at NASCAR’s highest level? Sending a tweet, of course, from inside his car after the Ford EcoBoost 400 won by Jeff Gordon.
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“We did it!” was Keselowski’s tweet, with a picture of the celebration waiting for him.
“Always, throughout my whole life, I’ve been told I’m not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough and I don’t have what it takes,” the 28-year-old Keselowski said from the championship stage. “I’ve used that as a chip on my shoulder to carry me through my whole career. It took until this year for me to realize that that was right, man, they were right.
“I’m not big enough, fast enough, strong enough. No person is. Only a team can do that.”
With the Penske organization behind him, he delivered a trophy that had eluded “The Captain” since his 1972 NASCAR debut. Although his motorsports organization is considered the gold standard of open-wheel racing — 15 Indianapolis 500 wins — and his empire has made Penske among the most successful businessmen in America, his NASCAR team has tended to be average in Cup competition.
Then came Keselowski, the blue-collar, Twitter-loving Michigan native who visited Penske in 2008 convinced the NASCAR team also could win.
They hoisted the Sprint Cup trophy together at Homestead-Miami Speedway after Keselowski’s 15th-place finish in the race.
“It’s all about the people in our organization and obviously Brad coming on our board three years ago, and we set a plan and we stuck to it,” the 75-year-old Penske said.
Keselowski needed 125 starts to win his first championship, the fewest starts since four-time champion Gordon won his first title in 93 starts in 1995.
Keselowski got worldwide attention when he took to Twitter from the cockpit of his car during the red flag in the Daytona 500.
Gordon, who avoided suspension but was fined $100,000 by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer a week earlier in Arizona, beat runner-up Bowyer in the finale.
Bowyer finished second in the standings, 39 points behind Keselowski, and Johnson was third after a 36th-place finish.
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw ended up fourth in the standings after finishing 21st in the race. Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was fifth in the race and in the standings.
F1 race in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas — McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain won the U.S. Grand Prix, the first Formula One race on American soil since 2007.
After his fourth victory of the season, Hamilton pumped his fists, waved to fans at the new $400 million Circuit of the Americas and danced on the nose of his car.
“Wicked!” he roared. “This is one of the best, if not the best, Grand Prix we’ve had all year.”
Hamilton wore a black cowboy hat on the podium after beating Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany by 0.675 seconds.
Vettel leads Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain by 13 points entering the season finale Sunday in São Paulo, Brazil.