BK Tests Team Penske IndyCar at Road America

Sharing a garage with one of the best IndyCar teams in the business has its perks, as Brad Keselowski learned on Wednesday.

During his off week from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Brad Keselowski headed to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., for a one-off IndyCar test in Team Penske’s No. 22 Menards Dallara Chevrolet—an incredible experience even for a seasoned stock car driver.

“I’ve always wanted to drive an IndyCar, I think Tim Cindric knew that,” Brad said. “The opportunity came up to dip my toes in the water and kind of expand my knowledge base and put it in the back of my mind for wherever it goes, I don’t know. But it was a heck of an opportunity and I’m glad to have a chance.”

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Brad wasn’t taking the wheel of just any open-wheeled car: He took the reigns of the very best. The Double Deuce, normally driven by Simon Pagenaud, currently leads the Verizon IndyCar Series in points after three wins and three runner-up finishes this season. The Frenchman shook down his racecar prior to handing it over to the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion.

“I was just making sure the car was comfortable and well set up for him to start,” Pagenaud said. “He’s pretty excited, he’s always wanted to drive an IndyCar. Hopefully he likes it and maybe we can do a ride swap someday.”

After reaching speeds of 187 mph in his stint abroad the neon No. 22, he dished out even more respect to his open-wheeled counterparts.

“First thing I told Simon is he has a very secure job, at least from me,” BK said with a laugh. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his team, everyone at Team Penske. This No. 22 Menards team, they did a great job today and I had a lot of fun going with them. Simon was fast, really fast and gave me a good rabbit to chase.”

Although it wasn’t his first time at the 4.048-mile Wisconsin road course, BK’s 2010 XFINITY experience didn’t do much good this time around. Paired up with driving in Pagenaud’s body molded seat, he knew the learning curve would be tough.

“It’s certainly a different feel, trying to get acclimated to a different seat and you lean back more,” Kes explained. “I was kind of sitting in Simon’s seat and it doesn’t always fit you perfect, so it wears you out pretty quick. But it’s a good way to get worn out.”

That morning, Team Penske President Tim Cindric wasn’t sure if the noteworthy seat swap was even happening. But after some practice, BK’s times weren’t far off the norm.

“We weren’t 100 percent sure it was going to happen, but Brad had always said he wanted to try and drive an Indy car, so he came here to learn a little bit about the car,” Cindric said. “He got down to 1:48-48.5 seconds, which is about four or five seconds off. But in the slow-speed stuff he was very confident and very good. Through the kink and high-speed stuff, he was obviously pretty conservative. He didn’t feel like it was the time to push. I think it was pretty interesting for him, and certainly he enjoyed doing it.”

Mentioning the inevitable, Cindric also made it clear that Brad’s schedule remains IndyCar free for the foreseeable future.

“I think it’s up to him and also the finding a point in time when it made sense. It’s something to think about,” said the Team Penske boss. “There are certainly not any plans, and I’d be surprised if anything came up in the near future – nothing imminent, I’d say. But it certainly gave him some thoughts going forward. Indy next year would be a stretch, but you never say never in this business.”

All-in-all it was an incredible experience for Brad, who has lived and breathed racing his entire life.

“I learned a ton today and had a lot of fun. I’ve got to let it soak in here to think about all of it.”

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