Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Race Winner
GETTING THREE WINS NOW MUST BE A BIG BOOST FOR YOU AS WE HEAD DOWN THE STRETCH RUN. “Yeah, I wanted all three but sometimes that ain’t meant to happen but I was proud of the effort we put in all week long in the heat with all three teams, Truck series team, Nationwide team. A second, seventh and a first ain’t bad at all. Who’d have figured my best finish would have came in the hardest race but that just shows the importance of teamwork and the group of guys that I have on this Miller Lite Dodge, they’re just bad asses. They’ve put together a backup car from last year in the hundred degree heat in an hour’s time. Not even an hour; I think it was like 40 minutes. I wish I had a stopwatch for that. Got it on the racetrack, and got to run our laps for practice to make the adjustments we needed to be fast today and that’s what bad asses do. And that’s what got us to victory lane today and I’m proud of these guys for it, damn proud of ‘em. I think that sums it up.”
Paul Wolfe (Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Race Winner
TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU GUYS HAD TO OVERCOME THIS WEEKEND. YOU’VE GOT THREE WINS NOW AND THAT LEADS ALL SPRINT CUP SERIES DRIVERS. “Well it was probably the toughest weekend as a team that we’ve ever had up to this point. Obviously the really high temperatures but having trouble the first lap on the racetrack always set you back. And one thing about all the guys on the Miller Lite team is it seems like we’re able to fine another level to work when it comes to adversity, you know, and I think you see that with the driver as well as you look back to last summer when Bad Brad had a broken foot. And we were able to take that and I don’t know if he thrives off of that or what but it seems like when some people might think that we’re down and out we’re able to find another level to compete and find ourselves in victory lane. It just says a lot about everybody on the team. Some of the things that we do back at Penske Racing, the processes that we go through to build our cars and knowing that when we bring out a backup car, there really wasn’t any concerns for me. The biggest thing was that there was just a lot of work to do with changing the engine and you know not being able to have all the practice time that everybody had. But I knew the car we had was still capable of winning and it says a lot about that. You know, for us we just need to continue to work hard. I think there is a lot of good racetracks coming up for us and we’re definitely up for the challenge. I think we showed that tonight.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RESOLVE THAT YOUR TEAM AND THE HEART THAT YOUR DRIVER HAS? “There was some choices that we could have made, some things that we could have done that maybe would have been a little easier on everybody as far as changing the engine. We didn’t have to do that. We did it because we knew if we did that that directionally, that was going to make our race car better. There’s no one on the team that would ever question anything we want to do or changes we want to make. They all just seem to work hard and like I said there was points on the day Friday where some of the guys looked like they were about ready to flap out but nobody checked-up. We continued to work hard. We were able to get our car in the inspection line in time to get our qualifying spot which allowed us to, you know, start where we were versus starting in the back of the field.”
YOU SAID AFTER THE RACE THERE’S NO LOOKING BACK AT THIS POINT, THAT ALL YOU CAN DO IS LOOK AHEAD. DOES LOOKING AHEAD MEAN GOING ALL OUT TO WIN IN THE NEXT NINE RACES OR MAKING SURE THAT YOU’RE IN THE TOP 10 SO YOU CAN USE ALL THOSE BONUS POINTS? “Well, I think looking ahead means trying to make sure that we just stay in the top 10. And I think ya’ll got the points backwards. You look at who’s leading with the most points earned, that don’t mean anything. The only thing that means anything is where it’s going to restart when the Chase is going, when it starts. It’s going to be based off of who’s in the top 10 and who’s got the most wins. That’s the only think that matters. And that’s where my heart’s at and that’s what I want. I want to be the guy with the most wins and inside the top 10 and I want to look forward to making sure that we stay inside the top 10 and we can climb up a few more spots to be safe. But wins and being in the top 10, that’s all that matters.”
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO STRETCH YOUR FUEL THAT LONG? WERE THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU DID IN THE CAR TO MAKE IT LAST THAT LONG? “I think one thing to point out is, you know, everybody has worked real hard on this EFI project at Penske Engines and I feel like for the most part we’ve been as good or better than most teams when it comes to fuel mileage. And you know that’s big in a lot of these races. Any advantage you can have whether it's fuel mileage or power, you take anything can you get, because you never know when you're going to need it. From that standpoint, we knew we were as good as most or better, and from there it was just Brad saving a little bit.
“My biggest concern at the end of the race was somebody else running out of fuel with two or three laps to go and the race get extended. From that standpoint, that's what we were saving our fuel for. We had plenty of fuel to make the scheduled distance.
HOW MUCH OF EVERYTHING THAT TOOK PLACE FORM LAP ONE OF THE FIRST PRACTICE CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO NO BAD BRAD BUT A HACKED OFF BRAD? WAS THERE ANYTHING TO THAT? DID ANYTHING EXTRA COME OUT OF THAT WHOLE INCIDENT? “Well, I don't like being pushed around, and I felt like what happened on the racetrack, that someone was pushing me around, and I don't like that. I hate that. I can't stand it, and I won't stand for that. I can't stand it. I don't know if that creates a level of desire that makes us better. I would look to Paul and say my race car was just fast this weekend, and we had a lot more speed than we've had over the last few weeks. But I know that doesn't make a very good story.
“But I would probably say that's more the reality. This car was fast from the second we unloaded it. It was fast -- the primary car was before I knocked the wall down with it. The one corner I had in one and two was so good, and when I got to three and four and somebody pulled up in front of me at half speed, I didn't want to lift, and I wasn't going to lift.
“So I think that's as big a part of it as anything else. Then from there, certainly there's always that little bit extra you get when you're fired up. A lot of people would say that's a bad thing in a race car. The adrenaline is the worst thing that can happen to you, because you don't focus as well. Well, maybe it's not. I don't know. I ain't the one to answer that.
“But I do like the result, and whatever way, whatever I've got to do to get them, I'll get them. But I'm not going to be pushed around, and that's one code that I'm going to continue to live by. That's how it shaped out in the beginning, and for whatever reason it worked out the way it did in the end, and I'm not sure why. But it did, and I'm thankful for that.
“For us, I feel like as a team, we ran really well here last year. I feel like we continue to show that when we come back to places for a second time as a team, we continue to get better. So I think whether it was in the primary car or the back-up car, we tried to be smart about what we were doing and felt like we brought back a better race car.
“Maybe it's human nature that when you're ticked off or whatever, that you're able to find another level, and you definitely look at that sometimes and there are definitely a lot of instances where I've seen Brad be able to find speed in the race car when he is ticked off. Whether or not he's doing it, it seems like it happens.
“Overall we felt like we had a good race car, whether it was the primary or the back-up. We definitely did a great job executing in the race tonight.
ON THURSDAY YOU SAID THE NEW RULES COULD BE A GAME CHANGER. DID YOU FEEL THEY CHANGED THE GAME TONIGHT FOR YOU? “I felt like we were a lot closer speedwise than we've been over the last few weeks. I don't know if that's it. Obviously the 48 car was still very, very fast, and you can't take that away from them. Kind of like the time the 5 car was as well, and the 11 car has been fast all year. The same cars are still fast. It's just maybe the delta between what we're missing between them is a lot closer and I feel good about that.
YOU LEAD THE SERIES IN WINS NOW AND PRETTY MUCH LOCKED IN THE CHASE. WHAT YOU DO YO HAVE TO DO TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? “Got to win races. Tony proved that last year. You've got to win races. You don't back your way the Chase. Don't rest on your laurels. You've got to have fast car when's the Chase starts with great reliability and great execution. It's going to take all three, and those three are going to win races. Just throw that to the side.
“I think you've got to go out and win races. Luck stuff, everybody says luck stuff in races. If you go out and have good cars and win races and execute and do all those things, Tony proved that you'll win a championship. And that's what it's going to take.
DID YOU FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO JUAN PABLO MONTOYA’S CAR OR DID HE INTENTIONALLY GET INTO YOU? I don't know. I'll let Juan answer that one. We never talk, so only he knows the answer to that.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE STEERING WHEEL BEFORE THE RACE? “It broke. I don't know. I've never seen that happen before. It was a standard MOMO wheel that you would get off at the racetrack here or a typical vendor. It had a lot of miles on it. I don't think it was the wheel on the car that wrecked, but I put it on before the race started, gave it a tug, and it broke in my hands. If that would happen on the racetrack today we'd have been obviously not winning the race and potentially worse. So I'm glad I back-checked it before the race started and glad we were able to get a new one on the car.”
YOU SEEM LIKE YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF ENERGY. DID THE THREE EVENTS IN THREE EVENTS IN A ROW IN THIS HEAT TAKE ANYTHING OUT OF YOU? “Hell no. Do I look like I'm missing any energy? No, I'm great, man. I feel good. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow, but I would have done that either way.”
YOU LEAD THE SERIES WITH THREE WINS BUT YOU’RE TENTH IN POINT IS THAT A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING? IS THERE CONCERN? “Like I said, I'm looking forward. Not looking back. If you're worried about being 10th in points, then you're looking back.
WHY ARE YOU TENTH IN POINTS WHEN YOULEAD THE SERIES? “Tenth in points because we had the reliability issues early in the year. You take out our two or three reliability issues -- was it two or three? I can't remember what it was -- if you remove those, we're a legitimate top 5 team, and that's the way it's been all season long.
“We've just got to remove those. Look at Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is not a -- was he 14th or 15th place? They're not a 14th or 15th place team, but they had three races where they blew up. And the penalty for those races is catastrophic. So he doesn't deserve to be 15th in points where he's at. He's a good driver and that's a good team. So I think you've got to look at that and say that's why we're where we're at.
“We lost anywhere from 50 to 70 points in those two races. Give us those points back and we're 20 out of the lead at best, and maybe 30 or 40 at worst. I just feel like we're a good team and we just had those issues. We can't have those in the Chase. We had them in the early season, and we've moved on and we're looking forward.”
Source: SRT Motorsports