Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T)

IN LESS THAT 24 HOURS FROM NOW WE’LL HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THE GREEN FLAG FOR THE FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON WHERE YOU’LL BE COMPETING FOR YOUR FIRST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP. TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS RIGHT NOW. “I’m still in a focused race mode so I don’t know if I’ve got a lot of thoughts but I think our car is pretty good. We probably have enough speed to control some of our destiny, at least that which is controllable. So, I’m really proud of that and the effort that we’ve had and just ready to get it on.”

Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge
Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ON THE FRONT ROW AND HOW HARD ARE YOU GOING TO TRY TO LEAD THAT FIRST LAP? “Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be on the front row for this weekend’s race. It’s a little bit different for sure than what we’ve been used to but it’s different in, you know, a good way for us. It was unfortunate what happened to Joey (Logano) and those guys. I still haven’t seen a really good replay to understand that but obviously it’s a good place to go and I’m going to do what I can to lead that first lap. I think we have the car to do it.”

DO YOU WANT TO HEAR WHERE JIMMIE (JOHNSON) IS DURING THE RACE? HAVE YOU DISCUSSED TALKING ABOUT WHERE HE IS? “No, I haven’t had those discussions. I’ve been more focused on just producing the most amount of speed possible in our car and then we’ll worry about those things later. I really haven’t thought about it. I just know if I run well enough it doesn’t matter.”

ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT RACING TOO HARD TO GET A POINT FOR LEADING A LAP? "Yeah, I mean that's every race whether you're in the points of not. I have a great car. I can run up front and lead laps. I'm proud of that. If I can take the lead without wrecking myself, that's what I'm going to do."

HOW GOOD IS THE BALANCE OF YOUR RACE CAR.? HOW DOES IT FEEL COMPARED TO WHEN YOU'VE WON RACES? "I think this car is driving very similar to what I had at Texas and Chicago and those were two very strong races for us, so I think pretty good. It's got comparable speed and comparable feel. It certainly can always be better. As a race car driver that's your goal, to find that last little bit to be drastically better than everyone else. I don't think that we're drastically better than everyone else. That's my focus – try to find it if it's out there. But from the standpoint to how we compare to other places, we compare rather well."

SOMETIMES WHEN PAUL WOLFE ASKS YOU THINGS, YOU TELL HIM THAT YOU'LL TELL HIM WHEN YOU GET BACK TO THE GARAGE. YOU SAID THAT AGAIN TODAY. IS THAT BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT OTHERS TO HEAR THE ANSWER? "Maybe (laughs). When it comes to decision-making, I subscribe to the belief that you take that most time possible, or available, in order to make the most informed and credible decision. When he asks me things, he's basically asking for me to make a decision about the car. I'll take as much time as needed to make the smartest decision."

DO YOU SLEEP WELL THE NIGHT BEFORE A BIG CHAMPIONSHIP RACE LIKE THIS? “I don’t know. I’ve never been before a big championship night like this (laughter). I’m going to say I will, yeah. I’m going to eat a big meal and probably have a beer and fall easily to sleep I imagine. I sleep pretty well.”

BOTH PRACTICES WERE PRETTY EVENTFUL. WAS THE TRACK DIFFERENT TODAY? WAS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT IT THAT CAUSED SO MUCH ACTION? “Yeah, I’m not quite sure why that was the case. It’s a great question though from the standpoint that I think this was, you know, one of the most action packed practice sessions I’ve seen in a long time but I don’t know why that is the case. Obviously, the cars are certainly on edge but you know they usually are. That’s usually what makes for a fast car. I don’t see them being drastically different so I don’t have a great answer for you. I guess the only perspective I have to that point is, you know, I think for the majority of the field this is the last race for this particular car. I would expect them to really not care if it got brought back in one piece. I think we’ve seen that in the history of these series. The last race on any particular car seems to always have a lot of carnage. I’m very cognizant of that as well.”

WHAT IS THE GAME PLAN TONIGHT? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO RELAX? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND THE NEXT 12 HOURS? “I don’t plan on relaxing other than maybe Tweeting. I plan to do a lot of focusing on what I need to get the job done, whether that’s with the parts and the componentry that combines itself in the car to make the most speed and efficiency or the decisions that I need to make inside of it. Other than that, I don’t really plan on doing much relaxing. I plan on focusing.”

TALKING TO RICHARD PETTY THIS MORNING AND HE WAS SAYING IN ALL LIKELIHOOD THIS IS NOT GOING TO COME DOWN TO KESELOWSKI VERSUS JIMMIE JOHNSON; IT WILL COME DOWN TO FATE. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? “I think we have enough speed in our car where that’s probably the case, yeah. It’s going to come down to whether it was meant to be or not meant to be. It’s going to come down to if there is a wreck in front of you or something of that nature to probably be our undoing. And if that happens, then that’s just like I said before, it’s a pure act of God. If that’s the case, you just roll it off and move on.”

AS JIMMIE HAS SAID, HE HAS NOTHING TO LOSE AND IT’S AMUSING THAT HE’S GONE FROM DENNY HAMLIN TO WILL POWER. WHAT IS YOUR BASIC REACTION? DO YOU IGNORE IT? “No, I haven’t ignored it but I certainly laugh at it because I think if we could trade places, he would in a heartbeat.”

YOU SAID YOU DON’T REALLY CARE WHERE JIMMIE IS DURING THE RACE. WHAT ABOUT CLINT BOWYER AND JEFF GORDON? YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW WHERE THOSE GUYS ARE? “You want me to go through the list (laughter). I mean, jeez, there’s a whole bunch of people that seem to be very angry at each other as of late. I don’t know how you pick just one or one pairing. Like I said, if that happens, it happens and it’s nothing I can control.”

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