It took just four years.

On Aug. 22, 2008, a 24-year-old kid from Rochester Hills, Mich., who had wanted to do nothing his entire short life but race, rolled into Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway after winning the Food City 250 Nationwide Race.

This kid, son of a blue-collar racer, was overshadowed briefly by his car owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who appeared to congratulate his young driver. It was just his second career Nationwide win in his first full season on the tour.

And it was a sign of things to come for Brad Keselowski.

Now, a mere four years later, that kid has grown before our eyes, winning 18 more Nationwide races, nine Sprint Cup races – two at Bristol – and, more importantly, heads to Las Vegas this week to be crowned the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.

He left Bristol in August, before the reset of points for the Chase, seventh in the standings.

He returns in March to defend his Food City 500, and the series, titles as well.

Roger Penske rolled the dice on the young, brash driver and won his first Sprint Cup title as an owner. They should take that good fortune to Vegas.

Oh wait … they are.

Congratulations, Brad and the entire Penske Racing team -- it’s been a heck of a ride!