Keselowski comments on switch to Ford and his tweeting

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At media day in Daytona International Speedway, Brad Keselowski weighs in on topics racing from the Gen-6 car, tweeting, and romance.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS STENHOUSE, DANICA THING? Well, we are a creative group so I am sure we will come up with some good jokes. It stinks that the two-car tandem isn’t going to work cause it will kill a lot of our material. They should bring it back just for the jokes. I think they are getting extra track time, both of them, and as a rookie that isn’t fair. No, it is difficult because there is part of you that thinks it is a little hokey and you just want to focus on the on-track part. But you have to understand that as a race car driver you make life decisions that put you in a position of danger all the time, 24-7. That inherently makes you a unique person and the decisions you make and mental process to get there. Whatever outside influences you have to that are going to affect how you perform. It is just the reality of it. It makes it a story because there is no way for it to not affect their performance. So I think it ties in. I think it isn’t so much a story that they are dating as it would be if they were to break-up. That would be incredible to watch to be quite honest. There are so many different ways that could go. Imagine if they were to break up and then then wreck each other the next six races because they were mad? That would be way more compelling. I think it is a story either way. It will be interesting for sure and those side stories to our season, as though we didn’t have enough to talk about, are fun.”

Swan Racing Toyota Town of Newton press conference: the Swan Racing Toyota
Swan Racing Toyota Town of Newton press conference: the Swan Racing Toyota

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING YOU A LOT OF BIZARRE QUESTIONS LIKE THE TANK AND THE BEER AND DATING, DO YOU LIKE THAT STUFF? Well, I am getting those in the off season when there isn’t much to talk about racing wise. You take it with a grain of salt knowing that. Once the season gets started, I would prefer the questions to be about what is going on out on the race track and how it affects the performance of our team in the sport.”

YOU HAVE GOTTEN COMPARISONS RECENTLY TO SOME OF THE OLD SCHOOL DRIVERS. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A THROW BACK GUY? I don’t know if I am an old-school driver or not. I have my own way of doing things and there is a little pride thinking that some of that is back to the way some of the people earlier in the sport did it. I think you have to fight to be relevant and you can’t do things that were done in the past and feel like you are going to be relevant to today's fans. I think you can find a balance for that and I think that is what drives me in a lot of things I do. Whether it is drinking orange juice so I can drink beer or being on Twitter so I can go out and swear when I am on television. You have to be relevant but you also have to stay connected to your roots. That is kind of speaking out of both sides of you mouth, but that is what our sport needs and what our fans expect.”

WHEN YOU WERE ON PARDON THE INTERRUPTION THE OTHER DAY. YOU HAD THOSE GUYS ROLLING AT THEIR DESKS LAUGHING. COULD THIS SPORT BE ON THE VERGE OF A NEW DAWN OF PIZAZZ AFTER SO MANY VANILLA PERSONALITIES? There is nothing wrong with a little style is there? Everyone likes a little style. I feel like I have a little style. I am wearing white shoes. Who else wears white shoes? Dario right?”

YOU TALK ABOUT PIZAZZ. THE PHOTO YOU TWEETED DURING THE DELAY LAST YEAR, THAT SEEMED TO BE THE LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE FLASH POINT FOR NASCAR’S SOCIAL MEDIA PUSH. CAN YOU REVISIT THAT A LITTLE BIT? I think when it comes to moments like that, they really are only cool because they are authentic. They are new, fresh, authentic and not forced. I do a lot of stuff on social media and a lot of people that approach me with ideas and the ones that are worth a damn are cool, fresh, have style and are authentic. If it is something that I can feel good about then it is usually something others will feel good about. I think that they key to having that style where people enjoy it is in not thinking too much about it. When that moment happened at Daytona, I just did it. I didn’t think much about it. I thought it was something different and wanted to take a picture of it and send it out. If I tried to calculate that, I never could in a million years. I had no idea that the race would be red-flagged for a fire and that it wouldn’t be my car but a car in the distance and a huge explosion. I had no idea. You can’t plan those things. What you can do is put yourself in a position to showcase how you feel about things. Put yourself out there and that same moment could have easily been a moment where I got in trouble or the fans thought it was stupid. You never know how people would react to it. I think that when you do things out of that spot in your heart and mind that are authentic it showcases who you are and what you think is cool. Other people appreciate that.”

DO YOU VIEW TWITTER AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF YOUR RACING PERSONA NOW? I would say social media has developed into part of my persona without a doubt. If I walked away tomorrow, I would feel like I lost more personally than the sport did because I enjoy it probably more than our fans do. It is a little bit selfish in nature of how I look at it but I am just glad everyone else enjoys it too.”

WHAT DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO DO TO GET A FOLLOW FROM YOU? They have to be relevant or funny.”

IS IT DISAPPOINTING THAT THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE MORE OF THOSE MOMENTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY BY NOT BEING ABLE TO HAVE THE PHONE IN THE CAR NOW? Yeah, I feel like there was a line being walked there for sure. It was a bit self policing because how are you going to hold your phone how you are driving? Sure there was potential to crack some new app or whatever but the reality of that is you could do that right now and not get caught if you just didn’t use Twitter. Everyone else in the field could have their phone in the car and just not be showcasing that they are using it and do all those things that NASCAR is worried about. I think it is more about trying to set a public statement than any impact that the phone actually has.”

LAST FALL YOU WERE SAYING THERE COULDN’T BE A BETTER TIME TO CHANGE MANUFACTURER ALIGNMENT. HAVE YOU SEEN ANYTHING FROM THE TESTING AND DATA THAT IT IS COMING TO PASS THAT YOU GUYS ARE GETTING CAUGHT UP OR ARE OTHER TEAMS STAYING WITH THEIR MAKES FIGURING THINGS OUT BETTER? We have done the testing and the switch to Ford is a lot of work but what will never be fair is to try to credit what part was Dodge and what part was our team success last year. It wouldn’t be fair to do the same things this year. There really wasn’t a bench mark last year for us to go off of. You really don’t have a good apples-to-apples comparison. I think it is difficult to answer those questions as it pertains to how competitive we were or will be next year without those benchmarks. I think our best benchmark for this year will be the first four or five races. Beyond that I don’t trust anything. There is so much potential to cheat your cars up just to put a number down in a test and that happens a lot more than what you think it does. We try to stay focused on doing our own thing and know that if we get our parts right that at the end of the day we will be okay.”

DOES IT MATTER HOW A CAR LOOKS TO A DRIVER? I did not like the way the COT car looked and I think most of the garage would say that. It does matter. It matters because that is the image we portray. I wear a fire suit with a helmet and a full seat around me. You can’t seem me. What you are seeing is this car going around the race track and the sponsors and the car construction, styling, etc. So that is what you see as a fan or as an ambassador of the sport. Yeah, absolutely it matters.”

COMING OFF YOUR WIN, DID YOU HAVE A ROUTINE FORM LAST YEAR OR ANY SUPERSTITIONS? I am not a superstitious guy. I believe if you do work and stay focused on what is ahead of you that with the constant look toward growth that you will be fine.”

DO YOU THINK WITH YOUR PERSONALITY DO YOU EVER THINK IT OBSCURES THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A HELL OF A RACE CAR DRIVER AND PEOPLE LOSE SIGHT OF THAT? That will be judge many years down the road. I am focused on the now and when I get to a time period in my life when people can judge how good I am or not, we will go down that path.”

HAVE YOU PRICED TANKS? They are very expensive.”

DO YOU THINK THE MEDIA OVERPLAYS THE ANGER ISSUES IN NASCAR MORE THAN OTHER SPORTS? Did you ask Clint Bowyer that or Jeff Gordon? We get road rage. We are human just like you guys are and I am sure all of you have had road rage at one point in your life. The difference in ours plays out at 200 mph instead of 65 or 70. Our cars, much like street cars, can be used as a weapon. That is not a good thing. I have been on record and I will stick with what I have said that I think the road rage style or intentional wrecking, however you want to label it, is really unhealthy for our sport. It makes us all look like amateurs. I would like to see that get controlled a little better but at this point that is not the philosophy and I will race around it. I definitely think it gets overplayed and I think it is unhealthy for all of us.”

HAVE YOU EVER TALKED TO A SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST? No, I could probably teach one a few things though.”

YOU REPRESENT THE NEXT GENERATION OF CHAMPION. IN WHAT WAY DO YOU HOPE TO REPRESENT THAT? I don’t put that much thought into it. I am going to do my own thing. If it works great and if not then whatever. I am going to be my own person and look out for what is best for the sport. I have always felt that way, whether I was a champion or not. I feel like every driver has a responsibility to make the sport better and all it can be. I might have a louder voice now, but I took it seriously before I was a champion.”

NOT BEING IN THE UNLIMITED SATURDAY NIGHT, DOES IT BOTHER YOU? I am disappointed. I think any driver not in a race is disappointed not to be in it. I think it limits some of your ability to win the 500. Not all of it, but some of it. This isn’t t-ball though. Not everybody plays. We didn’t earn our spot and we don’t play. It is pretty simple. This is professional sports and we need to earn our spot. We spend our time and energy working on what we could do to win the championship, not winning a pole. If I could choose being in the shootout or winning the championship I would take the damn championship 100 out of 100 days.”

YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING IN THE BOOTH SATURDAY NIGHT? I am. Maybe I will get to see a few things or maybe open my eyes on the broadcast side to make them better or maybe make me better. It goes back to you put yourself in position where you can learn things and you never know what comes from it.”

WHY A TANK? There is just something very rootsy about it. A man should own a tank.”

WHERE WOULD YOU PUT IT? Right in my driveway.”

Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Press conference
Tags daytona, ford, keselowski, nascar-cup, penske