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

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THOSE LAST LAPS? “Obviously there was a pretty good fight there and Jimmie (Johnson) had some good speed, so did Kyle (Busch). Those two were really good. I think our three cars were the three cars to beat all day long. We had a run there where we got out front and had a shot at it. The yellow come out and then I had the issue on pit road where I just got into the brakes and couldn’t get it slowed down like I needed to and put myself in a bad position where the 10 blocked me in. It was probably my fault. From there, it was just a dogfight to get some track position back. I did the last pit stop and got up front and just fought as hard as I could to keep the lead but just came up a little bit short there. I thought that I had it until the (last) yellow came out, but there’s nothing that you can do when someone’s wrecked on the track. I can understand that. Just a good effort came up a little bit short. Felt great about the speed that we had. I felt that we caught a few bad breaks today and still put out a solid effort. I feel confident that if we keep putting efforts out like that, we can win races and be tough to beat for the championship. But it was a fun day for sure. I really enjoyed this race. I guess some people did too in the stands. I heard they were pretty excited, so that's great to know. And, we'll keep fighting.”

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DID TIRES MAKE THAT BIG A DIFFERENCE AT THE END? “I think the restarts made the difference. Jimmie probably would have gotten me with an extended amount of laps to go. But with only five or six to go when we had the lead, I felt pretty good about it. But getting that last yellow, I felt like restarts are like rock, paper, scissors. Eventually you're going to lose. It's just a matter of time. There's always time to counteract the strategy. To win two out of three, I felt lucky to do that. Obviously, I didn't win the last one that counts.”

DID YOU SPIN THE TIRES ON THE RESTART? “Yeah, every restart I didn't have very good drive today. Every restart, I spun the tires. It's one of those deals where we fought through it best we could. That's part of the rock, paper, scissors analogy. So we'll just fight through that.”

DID YOU MAKE THE CALL ON THE TWO TIRES? Your first question, the two tires, that was something that I thought was the right way to go. I stopped short of saying it was my call because we're a team and we make decisions together. Paul and I made the decision together. I might have poked him a little bit to do it, but we still made it together. I thought that was the right thing to do. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. Who knows? But it was worth a shot. Your other question was, say that again?

JIMMIE SAID THAT YOU BEAT HIM ON THE RESTART AND THEN YOU SAID HE JUMPED THE RESTART: “Okay, I got you now. Yeah, I think NASCAR said before they're not going to get out a micrometer and measure that kind of stuff. That's kind of the interpretation of the rules right now. Via that interpretation, I think it was probably fair play on both sides.”

DID YOU MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION NOT TO TAKE JIMMIE OUT ON THAT LAST RESTART? “Yeah, I felt like we were just going to wreck. I wasn't looking to be the guy that wrecked him poorly. I didn't really enjoy the last time that happened with Kyle over here, and I don't think he did either. He might not believe that, but that's just not the way you want to run a race, and not the way I want to win a championship. That was pretty much the only choice I had, was to put ourselves in a bad position like I did before. I felt lucky to survive that one.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU RACED DIRTY? “No, I didn't feel that way. I raced hard, and I'm sure someone would say dirty. Hell, anytime you run close to certain guys you're racing them dirty according to some people. But I raced hard, and we both came back around, so there's something to be said for that.”

WHEN YOU LOST EIGHT SPOTS ON PIT ROAD, WHAT HAPPENED? DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GOT BLOCKED? “It was probably a little bit of both, and starting on my side. I've got to take the blame where blame is deserved. I felt we could have gotten a little more help from the car that we were around. In that particular case, it probably wouldn't have made a significant difference, but it would have made a difference.”

IS THIS DISHEARTENING TO RUN SO WELL AND GET BEAT BY JIMMIE? “It don't feel good but there is a part of you that just feels like you're first in class. When you catch the breaks that he caught today with the yellows and then you execute like they can, you're unbeatable. I'm confident that we can execute at a high level. I'm confident that the way it's worked over the last three weeks -- we haven't caught good breaks or bad breaks, and he's caught several really good ones. I'm confident that that will come back around, and when it does, we'll change these seconds and fifths or whatever they are over the last few weeks into wins. I feel like that's bound to happen over the next two weeks, and we have the team to pull it off. I also feel like the way the points are right now, we still control our own destiny, which is if we win the race, we get the points lead. So that's about all you can ask for.”

JIMMIE HAS SCORED THE MOST POINTS AND WON THE LAST TWO RACES. DO YOU HAVE TO RUN THE TABLE BASED ON HOW THE 48 IS RUNNING? “I don't expect to run the table. We'll probably need to win one of the next two races. I feel like Phoenix is a whole different animal. I know you want to bring the stats up where he's so dominant. But they repaved last year, so it's not the same track. So I don't feel like a notebook there is that significant. Other than the past two races there where we've been just as good in both races, I felt like we may have been a little better in the fall than he was, and he was probably a little better in the spring. Looking at it that way, I'd say it's probably a head's up match going into Phoenix and probably the same going into Homestead. We just need to win the head's up matches. We didn't today. That's not good, but it's not bad either. I think there is still plenty of potential to do that.”

WAS THE DECISION TO TAKE TWO-TIRES BASED ON TRACK POSITION? “Well, yeah, certainly I didn't take two because I thought they'd be better than four, but you're trying to get to the lead and present the opportunities that might be. It just didn't play out. Obviously, four tires are going to be better than two, but it's my job to find a way to win the race, and I didn't do that. Certainly put on a good effort for it.”

THE LAST FEW RACES HAVE BEEN VERY INTENSE MENTALLY? AT WHAT COST HAS THAT COME? “I wasn't aware there was a cost. I mean, yeah, I'm enjoying it. It's my dream to run for a Sprint Cup championship. It's any driver at this level's dream to run for a championship. It's a lot of fun to do. Certainly I would have liked to have won today, but I feel like we're fighting the good fight and doing some great things as a team that I'm really, really proud of. Obviously, it's not going to come easy. But anything worth doing in life shouldn't come easy, and I appreciate the efforts of the people that I'm around to make it happen. I appreciate the fact that it's difficult, because it brings out the best in everybody. As a group, I feel like we've brought our best, and I'm really proud of everybody for that.”

DESCRIBE THOSE FINAL LAPS AND FINISHING SECOND TONIGHT. “I thought I had it but we kept getting all those yellows and just kept giving him more shots. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to execute every restart and Jimmie (Johnson) did a great job on the last one. I had to choose between wrecking him and winning the race and it didn’t seem right to wreck ‘em. Ran ‘em hard and we’re going to keep him honest. I know if we keep running like this that we won’t be beat.”

RESTART AFTER RESTART YOU’RE TRYING TO HOLD OFF JIMMIE JOHNSON. WHAT IS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD THE RACE WON A COUPLE OF TIMES. “Yeah, a bunch of times, but the yellows kept coming and there’s nothing you can do about that. The Miller Lite Dodge was really fast. Just needed a bit more and Jimmie had it there with everything that transpired today. He did a good job and so did my guys. It’s going to be a dogfight all the way down to Homestead.”

IT’S UNOFFICIALLY A SEVEN-POINT MARGIN RIGHT NOW FOR JIMMIE. WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR MINDSET HEADING INTO PHOENIX? “Nothing; it doesn’t really change anything. I know that if we keep running like this, we’ll beat ‘em.”

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 17th

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT? “Just a tough night. We didn’t have the consistent race car that we needed. The Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger was good at times but we just couldn’t make it consistent like we needed. We never got track position, especially late with all those restarts. On the last restart, I was held down really tight by the 20 and got really loose. When I finally caught the car, I hit the right-front fender and bent that back which took away a lot of speed on the last few laps.”

WAS YOU CAR BETTER LATER IN THE RACE? “No. I took a big chance on the second to last restart and tried to pass on the outside but the car was just too tight. Regardless of the fender damage, we needed tires and it just didn’t work out.”

Todd Gordon (Crew Chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)

HOW WAS YOU CAR TONIGHT? “Just some tough luck late in the race. We didn’t fire out on any of the restarts and that hurt a bit. It’s been typical of us the last several races where we’re way better on the second-half of the run. We have to figure out how to make short-run speed.”

Team Chevy Racing