ROGER PENSKE (Chairman & CEO Penske Racing) WHAT CAME OUT OF THE MEETING WITH NASCAR THIS MORNING? "Obviously it was important that we all got together from the standpoint of just having open conversation -- the drivers, Jack (Roush) and myself....
ROGER PENSKE (Chairman & CEO Penske Racing)
WHAT CAME OUT OF THE MEETING WITH NASCAR THIS MORNING? "Obviously it was important that we all got together from the standpoint of just having open conversation -- the drivers, Jack (Roush) and myself. I think it was good conversation. I think Carl (Edwards) realized that what had happened last week wasn't what he expected -- the car flying. To me, it was just good, open communication. The guys agreed that they're going to race hard. They're going to race fair and give themselves some room on the race track so that we don't become the poster boys every weekend on what's happening. I said, 'Hey, at the end of the races, if we're racing for the lead and there's a lap or two to go, you guys are gonna have to run hard, but try and stay out of each other's way during the race.' It was a good conversation. They're both good guys. To me, it's just great that we have an environment where we can sit down."
HAVE YOU EVER TOLD BRAD TO BACK DOWN? "Brad has only driven for us for this year. He's a terrific talent. I don't tell my drivers to run hard or to run soft. I think he knows what he has to do on the race track with his peers and quite honestly, he's not making any statements about what he's gonna do or not do. I think the media has taken some of that and moved it further and made him with a bigger circle around him. What I want him to do is run fair on the race track and be competitive. But he's got to respect the other drivers. They have to respect him."
BRAD HAS SAID THAT HE'S NOT GOING TO BACK DOWN, CHANGE HIS STYLE: "He hasn't said that to me as far as I'm concerned. He wants to race. He wants to have his car in the race at the end. Consequently, if you're not keeping your car underneath you, you're gonna get yourself in trouble and not be there in the end. As far as I'm concerned, it's behind us. It's an issue that was between the two drivers. I think it mounted because of accidents that had happened. Maybe it was their fault, maybe it wasn't. At the end of the day, nobody got hurt last week. We're here to have a good race."
WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU SEE YOUR DRIVER INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT LIKE THAT? "I heard on the radio from the spotter that said, 'Look like he's trying to wreck you back over in (Turn) 3.' I looked over in 3 because Kurt (Busch) was leading the race at that point and I saw that there was no contact. And then I was watching Kurt going into Turn 1 and I heard them say "yellow" on my radio and I looked down and saw the car barrel rolling. Obviously, I was concerned for Brad and his safety and anybody else's. Brad on the radio -- the first thing he said to me was, 'Did anybody get hurt in the stand?' That was the first thing that came out of Brad's mouth. And then he said, 'I'm fine.' At that point I was worried about Kurt winning the race after that."
HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT BRAD IS FITTING IN THE GARGAGE? "I'm not taking a poll in the garage area about what driver personalities are and what other people feel about them. He's a competitor out there. He drives for Penske Racing and I'm going to support him."
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF KURT'S WIN IN ATLANTA? "I think it was a great win. There's lots of conversation about the crew chief change last year. I think (Steve) Addington jumping on board has stepped us up. I think Kurt has a lot of respect for him. We've run well. We've run well and I think at the end of the day, we're going to have a great season."
DO YOU THINK BRAD NEEDS SOME "FRESHMAN HAZING" TO BE ABLE TO RUN WITH HIS PEERS? "I think Brad has raced with his peers on the Nationwide Series, with many of these people. I think he knows how to race. I've got all the respect for him. He'll earn his respect in the garage area by winning and finishing strong. To me, we need to put this behind us."
BRAD KESELOWSKI No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger:
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MEETING WITH NASCAR THIS MORNING?
"I don't know how Carl feels about it, but I don't think it's cool to say everything that was said in there. Hopefully, it will be productive to where we can move forward and continue to race each other hard and not have any more incidents like we had at Atlanta."
"We hadn't talked before. I wouldn't say there was anything said that surprised me. You have to understand, Carl and I have a mutual respect for each other in a sense we're almost the same people. We come from similar backgrounds. We drive the same way. I have a lot of respect for him before and after the accident. Hopefully, that will stay the same."
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE WAY YOU WILL BE RACING?
"Carl and I have talked before about leaving each other more room, but it seems like when it came down to it, it just never worked out. It's racing. The biggest thing to me, you know, is incidents are going to happen because we race against each other more than 60 times. We're going to run by (beside) each other. We just each have to build up a tolerance for that."
WHAT ROLE DID JACK ROUSH AND ROGER PENSKE HAVE IN THE MEETING?
"Jack and Roger are two different people for sure, but they are both extremely supportive of us. Carl and I both put a lot of emphasis and trust into our car owners, where we listen to them and talk to them. I think we both see the same things in them. They're kind of mentors to us."
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO STEP INTO THE CAR (TO QUALIFY) AFTER THE MEETING?
"If you're going to be successful in this sport, it's really important to separate your emotions from trying to get the job done. I feel good that I was able to do that."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. HAS BEEN QUOTES AT SAYING YOU HAVE A TON OF TALENT, NO CONFIDENCE. WHAT'S YOUR REPSONSE?
"To me, confidence means that you've proved yourself. I don't ever feel like I've proved myself. I always feel like every time I get in the race car is a new opportunity to prove myself and, not only that, that I've reset from whatever past accomplishments I have that they mean absolutely nothing. So, if that means lack of confidence, then yes, by that definition, yes."
-source: dodge motorsports