In 2008, Brad Keselowski was sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting on a commercial flight to a standalone Nationwide Series race when a couple reporters walked by his gate.
The reporters were not on his flight, but rather headed to a Sprint Cup Series race – the big show where every NASCAR driver wants to be.
Keselowski saw the reporters and broke into his typical wide, goofy smile.
"I'd like to be on that plane someday," he called out.
Four years later, Keselowski's rise is now complete. He's not just on the plane race with the big boys, he's the top dog.
After a hard-scrabble upbringing and a rough road on the climb to the pinnacle of NASCAR, Brad Keselowski is the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
It was no sure thing, though. Keselowski appeared to have blown his 20-point lead by playing bad pit strategy – and it appeared Jimmie Johnson was poised to take advantage.
But Johnson went to the garage with mechanical problems with roughly 40 laps to go, and that finished off all the drama.
Ultimately, Johnson's troubles didn't even matter – Keselowski finished 15th, which would have clinched the title regardless of what Johnson did.