Attendees at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) 2017 trade show needed no introduction to Brad Keselowski, a seven-year veteran of Team Penske with two championships and dozens of victories. But they almost certainly learned something new about Keselowski: thanks to a lifetime spent in the racing industry, he has developed a real passion for manufacturing. And thanks to Team Penske's technical sponsor, Mazak, the audience at PRI 2017 got a chance to share in Keselowski's first-hand experience in the form of his talk, "Winning the Manufacturing Race."
Keselowski began by emphasizing how quickly advanced manufacturing technologies have become the norm in the racing industry, as teams begin fabricating the majority of race car components and rely on manufacturing partners like Mazak to remain competitive. After a quick overview of his own experience with the industry, as well as his belief in the importance of manufacturing in the United States, he illustrated his point with a few key experiences.
Foremost among these was the story of success on the Texas Motor Speedway, where Keselowski faced a hot track and an underperforming car. With mere hours until the green flag fell, Team Penske managed to diagnose the problem and design a new mount for the rear-end suspension. The team's machinists in North Carolina then used Mazak's state-of-the-art technology to fabricate it in time for the pit crew to deliver it to Fort Worth and install it just in time for Keselowski to start his engine.
Following a few more illustrative examples, Keselowski closed by emphasizing the how important Team Penske's relationship with Mazak is to its success in motorsports. "With the technology that a company like Mazak brings us," he noted, "we can operate in different design parameters that allow us to design a competitive edge far beyond what we could have before. That's critical for us. That's critical for winning the manufacturing race." And it's a race he's eager to take part in himself; Keselowski also informed the audience that he plans to soon open his own manufacturing firm.
Watch a recording of Keselowski's talk on demand: