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Brad Keselowski Wins NASCAR Championship

2012 Ford EcoBoost 400
Tom Pennington, Getty Images

Brad Keselowski has won his first NASCAR championship. The 28-year-old Detroit native clinched the Sprint Cup title Sunday when fellow title contender Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season finale because of a parts failure.

The championship is the first for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske and gives outgoing car manufacturer Dodge the sweetest of parting gifts. It is Dodge’s first Cup championship since Richard Petty’s title in 1975.

All Keselowski had to do was stay out of trouble over the final 60 miles, which essentially turned out to be 40 victory laps around Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski says over his radio, “If he’s in the garage, let’s race.”

The kid who stole the show at the season-opening Daytona 500 ended the year under the biggest spotlight of them all Sunday, beating five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to deliver the first Sprint Cup championship to Penske Racing.

It’s a trophy that had eluded Penske since he first entered NASCAR in 1972. Although his motorsports organization is considered the gold standard of IndyCar racing with 15 Indianapolis 500 wins and his empire has made Penske one of the most successful businessmen in America.

Penske’s NASCAR team operation was always just average. But now it’s on top.

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