Bob Keselowski, former NASCAR and ARCA owner/driver and the father of drivers Brad and Brian, has passed away after battling cancer for the last two years. He was 70 years old. Brad announced the news on Wednesday.
“My dad will always be my hero,” read Brad’s post on his website. “He was quiet and understated, but that didn’t change the impact he had on me or that I watched him have on everyone who knew him. I am forever grateful for what I learned from this man, and I will remember him every day.”
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Keselowski was one of the biggest names in what is now the ARCA Menards Series. From 1986 to 1994, he won twenty-four races and the 1989 championship, and finished in the top four every season outside of his first.
In 1995, he brought his K Automotive Racing team up to the NASCAR Truck Series in time for the division’s inaugural season. He competed in the Trucks on a full-time basis until 1997 with starts taking place through 1998, during which he won at Richmond in 1997 and scored fifteen total top tens. Keselowski also made a Cup Series start in 1994 for Jimmy Means; his older brother Ron raced in the series in the 1970s.
After ending his racing career, he began supporting his sons’ endeavours as a team owner and crew chief. Brad ran the full 2005 Truck schedule for K Automotive Racing, during which he finished twenty-first in points, before climbing the NASCAR ladder with various teams and reaching the top level, where he won the 2012 Cup title and is now an owner/driver. Brian mainly remained with the family team and engineered a Cinderella story at the 2011 Daytona 500 when he qualified the K Automotive car for the race with his brother’s aid and father’s guidance. After last racing in 2015, Brian became an Xfinity and Truck Series crew chief.
“He was my best friend. I’m forever going to be lost,” Brian tweeted. He added in a follow-up, “Got the chance to go with my dad a couple times this year to watch him drive his car. We never thought we would be here still after 2 1/2 years of fighting this. Still losing him isn’t easy knowing it’s coming, but I’m so glad I took the opportunity when I had the chance to do it”.
“Bob Keselowski was a true racer whose determination and love of the sport embodied the NASCAR and ARCA spirit,” said a statement from NASCAR. “He worked tirelessly to build his family-owned team, doing whatever it took to compete. Our thoughts are with the Keselowski family during this difficult time.”