Brad Keselowski made news last week for tweeting from the backstretch during a long delay in the Daytona 500 – but his reasons for keeping a phone in his car have nothing to do with his Twitter account.
"The reason why I keep a phone in my car – it's a lengthy story," said Keselowski, who picked up more than 100,000 new Twitter followers during the two-hour, five-minute stoppage that followed Juan Pablo Montoya's collision with a jet dryer and subsequent fuel fire at Daytona.
"I was in California, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and I had just gotten the ride to drive his No. 88 car (in NASCAR's Nationwide Series). We were running a race there, and I got in a really bad accident. They airlifted me off, and, obviously, my family wasn't there ... and they had no idea what status I was in, and, quite frankly, neither did I."
Keselowski arrived at a hospital in Los Angeles with no phone, no clothes, no wallet and no idea where he actually was.
"I wasn't knocked out or anything, but you're strapped on a helicopter, and you have no idea where it's going," he said.
Fast forward to last August at Road Atlanta, where Keselowski broke his ankle in a crash during testing.
"I got into another serious accident, and again got airlifted off, and the difference was that I had my phone with me," Keselowski said. "And I had my phone because testing, you know, it gets really boring, monotonous. You sit in the car for an hour while they make a change.
"So I go through the incident and so forth, and they put me on a helicopter and all that same stuff. I have my phone with me, so I just send a message to my mom like, 'Hey, just want you to know that you're going to read this in the news, but I think I'm OK.' So that really kind of put the fire out before it really got started, and I think she really appreciated that."
Clearly, Keselowski's tweeting on the backstretch was just a matter of opportunity.
"I had a pocket put inside my car to be able to keep (the phone) there," he said. "I didn't put it in my car thinking we were going to have a red flag at Daytona for a guy hitting a jet dryer and causing an explosion. I didn't have that much foresight."
NASCAR does not plan to prohibit drivers from keeping phones in their cars.