Keselowski takes seventh at Richmond, only Dodge in the Chase

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 11th “As soon as we got started there after the rain we were a little bit free and then we just way tightened up and couldn’t do what we needed to do. Just didn’t have the long-run speed that we did early on. It’s unfortunate. We keep coming close to getting a top 10 but 11th and 12th doesn’t get it for us right now. I’m real happy with the job that the guys did. Obviously we want to be better but didn’t have quite enough today.”

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Fourth Seed in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Finished 7th "It's a great feeling to make the Chase with this Miller Lite Dodge. Everyone at Penske Racing has done a great job. I'm just excited to get going next weekend at Chicago and proud of where we're at this season.”

HOW DOES YOUR FIRST 26 WEEKS SET YOU UP FOR THE NEXT 10? “A lot of fun, especially the last 10 weeks, that’d be great. The consistency and strength that we’ve shown over the last 10 races with the Miller Lite Dodge has been unparalleled. We’ve got 10 more that we need to repeat those last 10. We need to have that great average finish with some wins and laps led and I feel like my team is capable of it. I’m really, really excited about those last 10.”

THIS WAS YOUR BEST CAREER FINISH AT RICHMOND. DOES THAT GIVE YOU MOMENTUM HEADING INTO THE CHASE? “I just think the last 10 races give us that momentum. We got to keep digging. The last 10 have been great but there’s no guarantee for the next 10. We’ve got to earn the next 10.”

IS CONSISTENCY MOST IMPORTANT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “You’ve got to do everything right in the Chase: win, consistency and minimize the mistakes.”

AFTER LAST YEAR WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE INTO THE CHASE THIS YEAR? “You need to score the most points to win the Chase. I didn’t know that beforehand and now I do and I think that’s going to be the key.”

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO ABOUT DOING THAT, GO FOR WINS OR BE CONSISTENT? “Yes, that is definitely the best way to do both. You’re going to have to win, you’re going to have to be consistent, you’re going to have to minimize bad days. Throw out every cliché you’ve got and you’re going to have to do it.”

HOW FAR AHEAD IS YOUR TEAM THIS YEAR AT THIS POINT COMPARED TO WHERE YOU WERE LAST YEAR? “I think we’re slightly further ahead and I felt like we had a great shot to win in last year. We still have the youth of 2011 and the enthusiasm that we had in that season but I think we’ve got a little bit more experience. We’re slightly ahead and in good position to make a strong run for it and have another shot at the championship.”

IS WHAT YOU SAW TONY STEWART DO LAST YEAR A ONCE IN A LIFETIME THING? “I don’t know. The great thing about that question is you’ve got a whole lifetime to figure it out. I’d love to be that guy to win five races or however many races he won in the Chase. That’s a good way to win it.”

Roger Penske (Chairman, Penske Corporation)

YOU MUST BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT YOUR CHANCES TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. “Well I think it’s a credit to everyone on the team. Obviously Dodge support was very important as we went through the last 26 races and I think that moving into the Chase in fourth position with three wins gives us a chance. I think the consistency in the last 10, 11 weeks with Brad in the top 10 every week, and top fives, (and) seconds has just been amazing. It’s a credit to the team and obviously our sponsors and the support we have.”

DO YOU THINK THIS IS YOUR BEST CHANCE EVER TO WIN THE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP? “Well we’ve had some close ones with Rusty (Wallace) but I think this is a great time. If we can have the same type of consistency over the next 10 weeks I think we’ve got a real chance. We want to do our best and only get better.”

DO YOU EVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WIN THE TITLE? “Well you never know what life’s going to bring you and I think from the championship perspective you know this is a great chance for us. You know we’ve had chance earlier on but I think this team is really mellowed together, lots of momentum, and that’s what it takes to be a champion.”

Travis Geisler (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)

WHAT DOES THE No. 2 TEAM NEED TO DO OVER THESE NEXT 10 RACES TO CONTEND FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “Well I think you look at the next 10 races and continue to figure out how you can separate yourself from the few guys that we really feel like are the ones that we’ve got to beat. Obviously everybody’s got a shot at it again here but we think there’s definitely a couple of cars that are the ones that you’ve got to focus on and you’ve got to make sure that your weaknesses aren’t major. I think we’re really good on our mile-and-a-half program. I think Talladega is kind of a crapshoot so that one is a little bit concerning. I think if we can get through Dover and Loudon I’ll feel pretty good about where we are. I guess those three races are really tough. Other than that I think our program is in really good position. I think last year we kind of squeaked our way in a little bit on the wild card deal and this year we kind of solidly got ourselves in it which is a big step and kind of continuing process of evolving here.”

IS QUALIFYING ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO IMPROVE ON? “Certainly qualifying is on everybody’s radar screen. It’s something we need to make better. We knew we’ve got to improve there. This weekend was a good step at it. Qualifying 10th definitely helped. If you can qualify in that range you can race from there no problem. I don’t see us shooting for poles. Obviously that’s what you want but the biggest thing is to get yourself in the top 10 or so and then you can run your strategy the way you want to instead of having to kind of play a game on the strategy side to get track position early in the race.”

DO THESE LAST 10 RACES BOIL DOWN TO MINIMIZING A BAD DAY? “Well I think everybody that’s going to run for the championship is going to run really well every week so obviously you’ve got to do that. But that’s the thing we feel like we can accomplish. The things that you can’t kind of plan for or meet about or talk about are the bad things which are mechanical issues or accidents on the track. When that happens, you have got to make sure that you do everything in your power to get every point you can. That’s the name of the game for sure.”

Source: SRT Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags chase, dodge, hornish, keselowski, penske