Brad Keselowski beats flu to become winningest Penske driver

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Brad Keselowski was in a “daze” after Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Team Penske driver led the final 33 laps to score the win, hours after he took two IV bags to help get over flu-like symptoms.

He missed a portion of Saturday’s final practice, handing the No. 2 Ford over to Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric.

“I wouldn’t have made this race yesterday,” Keselowski said. “I was nowhere near good enough. I lost 6 pounds in less than 10 hours, and I was going the wrong way quick.

“Thankfully, it all turned around late yesterday afternoon, and I appreciate the help of those in the care center to make it possible.”

As a result of the win, any driver who pilots a race car for Roger Penske in the foreseeable future will be chasing Brad Keselowski.

He became the winningest driver in Team Penske’s 51-year history, earning his 60th for the team owner who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last month.

The victory broke a tie with Mark Donohue.

“All wins are special,” Keselowski said. “There’s no wins that don’t mean something, but some just mean more.  And this one means more for more reasons, whether it be the win record for Team Penske; that’s certainly very special to me.

“When you look at the list of drivers, it’s a pretty big list, and it’s big not just with the amount of drivers but big with the superstar power I guess you’d call it.  And just to be on that list as a winner means a lot, but to be on top of it means even more.”

Keselowski’s began competing for Penske in 2009 in the Xfinity Series and in Cup in 2010.

Of Keselowski’s 28 Cup wins, 27 have come with Penske. He also has 33 Xfinity Series wins for Penske.

He now leads Donohue, Rusty Wallace (37), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (32) and Joey Logano (31).

Of Donohue’s 59 wins, only one came in NASCAR, and it was Penske’s first, on Jan. 21, 1973 in a Cup race at Riverside International Raceway.

Here’s a series breakdown of Donohue’s wins:

Trans Am – 28

United States Road Racing Championship – 12

Can Am – 10

USAC (INDYCAR) – 3

F2000 – 2

Endurance – 2

NASCAR – 1

FIA Pro – 1

“I think when you go back and know what certainly Mark meant to our team as we were building it over time, it really set a mark that in some cases we thought nobody would ever beat it,” Penske said. “But Brad had that on his windshield.

“He’s been looking at that now for a year, and he said this was the year he was going to make it happen, so I congratulate everybody on the team. It’s in the record book now, and he’s going to make it tough for anybody in the future to get there.”

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