“I just did it,” said Keselowski. “I didn’t think much about it. I thought it was something different and wanted to take a picture of it and send it out.
“I had no idea that race would be red-flagged for a fire and that it wouldn’t be my car but a car in the distance and a huge explosion. I had no idea. You can’t plan those things. What you can do is put yourself in a position to showcase how you feel about things.’’
So what does it take to earn a “follow’’ from him on Twitter? “You have to be relevant or funny,’’ he said.
When Keselowski does speak up, Johnson said, his voice will have some resonance in the garage as well as the grandstands.
“Once you are the champion, your voice carries much further,’’ Johnson said. “The more success you have in the sport, the voice will carry further and further. I had my own experiences where I would just casually mention something, and I didn’t realize how far it went, and maybe I wasn’t as accurate as I needed to be.
“So I think he’ll have a few moments like that, which will rein him back in some, and make him think about what he says and be more calculated.’’
But Keselowski doesn’t intend to mute his voice or homogenize his personality now that he’s champion. He intends to stay true to himself: outlandish and outspoken.
“I am going to do my own thing,’’ he said. “If it works, great. If not, then whatever. I am going to be my own person and look out for what is best for the sport. I have always felt that way, whether I was a champion or not.
“I feel like every driver has a responsibility to make the sport better and all it can be. I might have a louder voice now, but I took it seriously before I was a champion.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.