NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post race press conference Pocono Raceway
An Interview With: Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch
THE MODERATOR: We welcome into the media center at this time Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, who finished second in today's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. Brad, just talk a little bit about this past week as well as the race out there today.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I guess I was happy with the car from the start and was able to drive up there and make some moves and knew we had a strong car right before the beginning with our Miller Lite Dodge Charger. Got up to the lead there, I guess at the end of the second segment, felt pretty good about it, and felt like we were one of the cars to beat.
But I just wasn't quite good enough to pull it off there and made a couple small mistakes at the end and lost the lead to Kyle and got back by him and then lost the lead to Marcos.
Some great racing at the end. I hope everybody enjoyed it. I think that's about as good as the racing gets right there, and just proud to be a part of it.
Q. Just talk about how much the ankle played in. Did it get easier, more difficult as the race went on?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I wouldn't say it got any easier, but when your car is fast you can put a lot of that stuff behind you and make it work. You know, we were able to do that today and make it work. I was happy to have a fast car, and that's what it's all about is having fast race cars. Just life is good when you have fast race cars.
Sorry, I'm watching a fight up here. I don't know if you guys are watching this, either. Is this live?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Oh, wow. This is the story.
Okay, what was I talking about? (Laughter.) This is a lot more fun to watch. Fighting is racing, too, I guess.
But all good. We made it work. How about that?
Q. Brad, was this a tougher day than last week at Pocono physically, and when you got past Kyle and he went wide in Turn 1 on that final restart, did your eyes get big and did you start thinking about No. 3 at that point?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely they got big. I don't know about tougher. It wasn't no easier, that's for damn sure. But we had a shot at it and that's all you can ask for as a driver, great long run speed, and were able to get to the front.
I look back at this one and wish that I had been in better condition and wish that I had more experience or was able to run the Nationwide race the day before and maybe I could have made the most of my car because quite frankly I think I had one of the cars to beat. But that's just the way it goes. It kind of is what it is.
But proud of the day, proud of a good finish. I think we're on great standing now. At least we moved up a bunch in the points, which is good. Got to make the most of that wild card stuff that we were able to build up. Was kind of wishing Denny wouldn't have had trouble there so wouldn't have to worry so much about him. But still in good shape.
Q. Can you just talk about Marcos' talent on road courses? I think it's pretty obvious, but you were up there battling with him there at the end. Can you just talk about how he's just kind of like a cut above?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, he's smooth, he's smart, and he's experienced. You know, we only do this two times a year. I counted on my finger the amount of times I've raced at road courses in my life. You know, fingers and toes. I guess it was 12 career road course starts between Nationwide and Cup, and he's got to have ten times that at least, maybe more.
So he's got experience. He's a good driver with experience with a competitive car, where the rest of us are probably okay drivers, and he just -- he's a cut above right now, and I would expect him to stay that way with his experience level for quite some while.
Q. Could you take us over those last couple laps, particularly when you guys were trying to get into Turn 1?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, we got into Turn 1, it looked like Kyle had a little bit of right front lock-up and slid up out of the groove, which gave me a great opportunity to get underneath him. Marcos filled the gap, and next thing you know we were three wide for the lead going into Turn 2, and I don't know about you guys but I don't think racing gets any better than that on a road course, two passes for the lead and the last two laps -- I wish I would have been the last pass for the lead, taking it instead of losing it.
But you know, it was still pretty awesome to watch, and it was cool to be a part of. I felt like I might have had a shot at Marcos again. I was able to close the bumper on him through the inner loop when that last yellow came and just wasn't meant to be. But it was a hell of a race, just a hell of a race, and Turn 1 it was exciting. It just doesn't get any better than that.
THE MODERATOR: Brad, thank you very much for your time this afternoon.
At this time we welcome Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, who finished third in today's 26th annual Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dip. Talk about those last few laps.
KYLE BUSCH: Well, you're just preparing for the restart and trying to make sure you get your tires warmed up, your brakes warmed up. But there's only one corner you've got to make, and as soon as you make it through that corner and can keep everything behind you it'll be smooth sailing from there, and didn't do it. Screwed up first chance I got. Just got down into Turn 1, didn't stop the way I needed to, and the wheel didn't turn the way I expected it to and over-slid the corner, got too far out to the outside and by then everybody was just on my inside.
So screwed up, and gave one away. Gave another one away. And can't say enough about the guys, though. They've done a phenomenal job for me and gave me a great race car today. It was fun to run up front like that, and the last eight, ten laps there where Marcos got by and was catching us, and it seemed like any time I made a mistake, he'd really gain on me a lot, and any time he might make a mistake or slip a little bit I could kind of squeeze away from him. Last couple laps getting away from him; last thing I wanted to see was a caution. I just hate it for everybody and all my guys.
Q. Was there any contact coming out of 1, though? Did anybody get into you or did you just lose it on your own?
KYLE BUSCH: I got that far out on my own, first of all, but then when I came back, certainly those guys didn't care to give me any room. I bounced off I don't know if it was the -- I think it was the 9 and had to still run through the dirt a little bit. And fortunately stayed on the outside of the 42 through Turn 2 and he had to give way through Turn 3 and I was able to keep third.
Q. You were one of the teams using a two-pit strategy. Talk about the strategy and the day you were having with it, and towards the end how worried were you about your gas?
KYLE BUSCH: You know, we tried working through practice and everything, seeing if we could do a two-stop strategy. The more we tried to save fuel, the slower I went. We weren't too sure that it was going to work for us.
But we made some changes to the car to try to make sure that we could stay on that two-stop strategy knowing that that would help us win the race. Essentially it didn't. I guess the guy that won was on a three-stop strategy. But gave us the track position all day; we didn't have to fight anybody too hard, and seemed like our car was out in clean air much of the day.
Whether the three-stop strategy would have been any different, I'm not sure, but guys did a great job making sure we could do it on two, and I had to do what I could under yellows to try to save a little bit of fuel. We weren't too worried there at the end. We ended up getting better fuel mileage than we expected to just because when I got out and had an eight-second lead or whatever, I could kind of run my own pace and shift early and stuff like that to try to save a little bit more.
Q. Going down let's say the last 15 laps and it was you and Marcos, were you holding back playing any possum or were you kind of driving it full out?
KYLE BUSCH: No, that was full bore. That was all there was. Any time you try to get a little bit more out of it and you try and squeeze just that much harder, you slip, and any time you slip, you give up a lot of time. So that's where Marcos was getting me, so I just kind of concentrated then on hitting my marks and making sure I was consistent and maybe under-driving the car just a little bit. Instead of going 100 or 101 percent just maybe give it 97 and make sure that you stay under it and run consistent times. And when I started doing that he didn't catch me anymore; I actually started getting back away from him the last two laps before that caution. It seemed to be working a little bit.