Keselowski, Hornish have mixed results for Dodge at Loudon

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 6th “There was a lot of clawing today. We’d have liked to have been a little faster but we still had a decent day. Like my 2 crew does every week, they just keep digging and made something happen.”

YOU FOUGHT YOUR WAY TO A SIXTH-PLACE FINISH TODAY. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT? “Yeah and that’s respectable. We’d like to be just a little bit faster than where we were today but this is what a championship team does. They take weekends where they’re not the best and they make something out of it. Probably could have got a top five or so if that last yellow wouldn’t have come out but ended up sixth so we can’t complain.

We just didn’t really have any short-run speed. We had decent long-run speed but we didn’t have the short-run speed to keep up with some of those guys. The 11 car (Denny Hamlin), we didn’t have anything on him, short or long. He was just dominant. But we had really good long-run speed but not the short-run speed.”

IT SEEMED LIKE IT WAS DIFFICULT TO PASS HERE TODAY. “Yeah, it was really tough here today to pass at Loudon but we still ran solid and put in a good effort that gave us a shot at a great finish and that’s what we got.”

ARE YOU PLEASED WITH HOW THINGS WENT TODAY? “Overall, I’m happy with the finish. I just wanted to be a little bit faster but you’re not going to be the fastest car every weekend.”

WAS THERE ANY POINT DURING THE RACE WHEN YOU THOUGHT DENNY HAMLIN WAS GOING TO BE IMPOSSIBLE TO BEAT? “Yeah, the whole race (smiles). Their car was just phenomenal.”

YOU TOOK TWO TIRES ON THE LAST STOP AND THE TRACK POSITION PAID OFF FOR YOU. “We had a pretty good car, not quite as good as the 11 and some of those guys but a decent effort for the Miller Lite team. I’m proud to bring home a decent finish. I didn’t think we were as strong as we wanted to be but the guys on my team made something out of it.”

YOU ARE ONLY ONE POINT BEHIND JIMMIE JOHNSON. “One point doesn’t seem too bad (smiles). We’ll go to Dover and give ‘em hell.”

THOSE TWO TIRES GOT YOU A HANDFUL OF SPOTS THERE AT THE END AND THAT MIGHT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP. WHAT KIND OF A DAY DID YOU HAVE? “We had a decent day, not an awesome day or even a bad day, just a decent day. The Miller Lite team kept digging and made something happen there at the end. We had some great long-run speed. Not quite the short-run speed that we needed to keep pace but the 11 car was just phenomenal today and they did a great job; hats off to Denny and his gang. Sixth-place is a solid effort. You do that every week, that’d be pretty good. I’m proud of my team and we’ll get ‘em next week at Dover.”

DID YOU HAVE CONCERN CREW CHIEF PAUL WOLFE CALLED FOR THAT TWO-TIRE STOP? ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE TOOK FOUR. “No, he’s Paul Wolfe, man. I trust him.”

YOU HAD A TOP-10 FINISH AND STILL LOST THE POINTS LEAD. “You’re still in the opening weeks of the Chase. Like Tony (Stewart) won the first race last year and didn’t even have the points lead so you just have to keep it in perspective.”

DENNY HAMLIN COULD PASS EVERYBODY. HOW IS ONE CAR THAT MUCH BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE? “I don’t know. You know I thought early in the week that it was Denny and when I saw him go by, I thought damn, that’s a hell of a car, so it’s probably a little bit of both.”

IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT LENDS ITSELF TO THAT KIND OF DOMINANCE? “Obviously, he had a great car but you know drivers deserve credit for having great cars because they give the feedback it takes to get it there. And maybe it’s him giving the great feedback or maybe he just had a great car, it’s hard to tell. But I don’t think there’s a coincidence that he runs well every time he comes here.”

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR DAY? “I wouldn’t say thrilled but happy, yes.”

IS THIS ABOUT AS GOOD OF A START TO THE CHASE AS YOU COULD HAVE HOPED FOR? YOUR AVERAGE FINISH IN THE FIRST TWO RACES IS 3.5. “A 3.5 average is pretty solid with one of those being a win, yes, I’m pretty happy with that.”

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 21st “We just fought being tight all race long. Our changes didn't really bring the car around like we needed it to be. We did track bar and air pressure changes without seeing very much relief. We finally stuck a rubber in the right rear and that helped some in the center of the corners. That was about as dominant of a car we've seen in a long time -- that 11 car was. With him running such a torrid pace and with so few cautions, we were able to make it up to about where we finished and just stalled. Well, it's back to Dover where we will be running both cars again. I’ll be glad that we'll be practicing and qualifying in both of them this weekend.”

Paul Wolfe (Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) “Overall, it was okay. I thought we needed to get a top five here today to feel like we had a good day. We came up a little short of that. Brad drove his butt off. We can’t seem to find any speed short-run here; we kind of fought the same things the first race. Long run, we felt like we were as good as most. We just lose too much on the front side of it. Long green-flag runs seem to suit us, we seem to move forward. Just hated to see the caution there at the end; that probably cost us one spot there to the 5 (Kasey Kahne). The guys are working hard and we’re still in it. That’s all we can ask for. We didn’t have a disaster today.”

YOU CHANGED TWO TIRES THERE ON THE LAST STOP. COULD YOU AFFORD TO CHANGE ALL FOUR? “I figured two the whole time. Actually, I didn’t realize some guys were doing four. I thought it worked out well for us to jump some guys like that. I thought most of them were going to do two. I thought two was fine for us. We were able to get some track position. Our car, I feel like, was better on four today than it was two but the way the strategy played out, I think it worked out well for us.”

IT SEEMED LIKE PASSING WAS DIFFICULT TODAY AND YOU ALMOST HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT ON THE PIT STOP TO GAIN TRACK POSITION. “That’s typical Loudon. It’s very hard to pass here unless you have a good car. On long runs, you can pick some guys off but it was typical Loudon.”

ARE YOU CONTENT WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS? YOUR AVERAGE FINISH IN THE FIRST TWO CHASE RACES IS 3.50. “If you tell me that’s the same stat when we come to Homestead, we’ll probably be doing a lot better (smiles). Two races in, it’s a little early to say. Like I said, I thought we needed a top five today and we came up a little short. We’re still in it. I think we’re one point back and that’s respectable. It isn’t going to be easy. We’re going to have to continue to run in the top five and challenge for another win or two to stay in it.”

Source: SRT Motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race reports
Tags dodge, hornish, keselowski, nhms, srt