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 5th

“That’s good short-track racing. Fought hard with the Miller Lite Dodge and I think we were probably good enough to run in the first two or three. It looked like the 11 car (Denny Hamlin) was probably the fastest car. It just came down to finding track position and we just didn’t have quite enough track position there at the end and give ‘em a shot for it. Certainly proud of the fact that we were able to get from a 20-something starting position all the way up to the top five. It was a good effort all day long and we were solid on pit road. Obviously we want to win but it’s still a good day.”

YOU GOT SHUFFLED BACK ON A RESTART WITH ABOUT 100 LAPS TO GO. DID THAT SINK YOU? “You know what really killed us was the line we kept getting on the restarts. It was the inside line of fifth and I just couldn’t get going from there.”

IT’S HARD TO KEEP THE CAR UNDER YOU FOR ALL 301 LAPS. “Yeah, I mean I think we had really good long run speed and we weren’t quite as good as we needed to be on the short run. Our balance was a little bit shifted. That played a part into it but then track position and the further up you are, the better the air you’ve got. We just never really had that.”

YOUR DODGE WAS REALLY STRONG ON THAT LAST RUN. “At the end, we were coming pretty hard. I think we were probably a second or third-place car but just didn’t have the track position that we needed.”

YOU HAD A HARD FOUGHT DAY AND CAME AWAY WITH A GOOD FINISH. “Yeah, it was hard fought and you know we drove from the back to the front. Had a really strong last run as well. You hate to not be happy about it but you know being happy for us is winning. That was pretty much all we had. I’m proud of the effort.”

DO YOU THINK KASEY KAHNE IS KIND OF DOING WHAT YOU DID LAST YEAR? “Kasey won and good for him. He’s got two wins now, so he’s probably got a good shot at the Chase. That’s what you’ve got to do and that’s a good team.”

THIS IS YOUR NINTH TOP 10 OF THE SEASON. HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT EVERYTHING TODAY? “We had a really, really good long run car today and we were off just a little bit on short runs. Proud of the effort. Obviously you want to come here and win. Wins are really what matters for us but a good strong, consistent effort that we can bring something back here for the Chase and feel comfortable about it. So, I’m proud of the effort.”

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE OFF WEEKEND? “Yeah, a couple days off aren’t going to hurt anybody. I know my crew chief Paul Wolfe is getting married so we’ll hang out with them a little bit and have some fun.”

HOW WAS YOUR RACE TODAY? “We had a really good car. The Miller Lite Dodge was really strong on the long runs, needed a little bit of speed on the short runs but we put in a strong effort, passed a lot of cars and had a shot at it there if we could have just got a little bit of track position but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Paul Wolfe (Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T)

“It was a great day. Any time you can finish top five in the Cup series, that’s a pretty strong day especially how we had to fight back on a couple of those restarts. The car just didn’t seem to go real well on two tires and we got stuck on the bottom as well on both of those restarts. So both times we went from fifth to tenth. Our car was really good 15, 20 laps into the run but this place is so tough to pass. We were able to fight our way back. Brad did a great job saving a little bit there at the end and was able to get a few of those spots back. Overall, I’m pleased. We want to be better and we know we need to be better but at least we feel like we’ve got a decent baseline if they don’t change the tire when we come back here for the second race in the Chase, so that’s encouraging. We have to work hard and figure out how to get this thing qualified better. That’s been a challenge of ours. We continued to show that this weekend, that we’re struggling there. It’s something that we’ll put a little emphasis on and see if we can get it better.”

IT SEEMED LIKE YOU RAN A LOT OF LAPS ON THE LEFT-SIDE TIRES. “Yeah, I mean that was just kind of the situation we were in. We had to stay in suit with the rest of the leaders because the last thing you wanted to do was to get buried back in the field. I knew it was a lot on the lefts but I felt like, compared to the guys that we were against, if we were on equal tires as far as the amount of laps on the lefts, we were good on a long run. So, it wasn’t a big concern.”

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

“A little bit frustrating. We were really free on entry and that kind of plagued us most of the day. We struggled with it but we persevered and brought the car home, didn’t get into any bang-ups and hopefully didn’t make anybody mad (smiles). At the end of the day, I was pretty happy with how the guys did in the pits. It just didn’t seem like we ever got the right adjustment to make it better. What we had at the beginning of the race was what we had at the end of the race. Hey, I got to drive a Cup car two more times; I’m not disappointed at all. I wish both races had gone a little better but the first one, we couldn’t do anything about Daytona and the tire coming apart. This one, I think the big thing was that we didn’t really know what we wanted out of the car and I didn’t know what I wanted for this first race back in the Cup car because I haven’t driven on this flat-of-a-track for quite a while. It’s definitely a lot different than what the Nationwide cars are. I’m really grateful to Penske Racing and Shell/Pennzoil for giving me the opportunity.”

HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO HAVE A SOLID FINISH TODAY? “I mean, it was really important but the big thing for us was just to make sure we were smart about how we ran and to stay out of trouble. I would have liked to finish on the lead lap but that really wasn’t in the cards for us today. At times, I thought we were pretty good but we just weren’t consistent enough. We didn’t have that corner entry stability to be able to drive in the corner to pass people. I could get up to ‘em, roll the center on ‘em in the middle of the corners and come up off the corner beside ‘em but I couldn’t drive it down in there like I needed to be really be able to make passes.”

ROGER PENSKE WAS ON THE RADIO WITH YOU A LOT TODAY. “Well, believe it or not, there’s a time when he called my races so he was on the radio a lot more than that even. It’s always good to have the boss here. I heard him in my ear yesterday for the first time since maybe Las Vegas or somewhere in that period of the year, so it had been 10 or 12 races at least. We’re glad to have him here and wish we could have put on a little bit better show today. But there’s always next weekend and we’ll get out there with the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger and see if we can’t figure out how to win this year when we go to Chicago.”

Source: SRT Motorsports