Brad Keselowski considers Darlington the consummate challenge

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 30: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads Ryan Newman, driver of the #6 Oscar Mayer/Velveeta Ford, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on August 30, 2019 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Darlington Raceway is a track that provides very little margin for error. That’s why Brad Keselowski likes it so much.

Yes, Darlington stripes from contact with the outside wall are commonplace, but if a driver strays just a little too far over the edge, the results can be disastrous.

As a test of talent, Darlington is unparalleled.

“I love coming here,” Keselowski said before opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice on Friday. “It’s always been one of my favorite race tracks. I love the challenge. I love running up against the wall. I’m not always a big fan of the heat, but I do like that it’s a very demanding track. It makes you feel like a race car driver.

“It makes you feel like you’re on the edge, and it makes me really kind of appreciate my job. All the race tracks have their challenges, but this one just has so many, and it’s so unforgiving. If you mess up just a little bit, you’re in the wall and your day is ruined. I appreciate that. It demands that, to be successful, you drive aggressively, but also that you not make any mistakes. That’s pretty cool to me.”

The defending winner of the Bojangles’ Southern 500, Keselowski was sixth fastest in final practice on Friday afternoon.

Greg Engle