HOW TOUGH WAS IT OUT THERE TODAY? "It was hot but it's not supposed to be easy. What a great day for this team. A great car. We went to Richmond and struggled with this team really bad. My guys took it to heart. They went testing without me, with Parker Kligerman, driver in the truck series. They went out to Milwaukee and this car was so much better than what we had at Richmond. I'm proud of them for putting that effort in on this Snap-on Discount Tire Dodge. Just a great car. I'm just proud of it. This is a tough series. Kevin (Harvick) raced me hard and there are very few guys that I'd like to race more than Kevin. He's a lot of fun to race with. I caught a little bit of a break in lapped traffic. That's the way it goes. You’re always going to have some traffic. You're always going to have those that don't know where you're at. That's part of this series, different driver learning and trying to pick up their awareness on the race track."
WERE YOU WORRIED ON THE LAST RESTART? "Sure. The left-rear tire was just flat worn out. It just didn't want to go on the restart. That's part of it."
YOU GOT A BREAK IN LAPPED TRAFFIC AND YOU RADIOED IN "HOW MANY LAPS LEFT". WERE YOU READY TO HIT THE "GO" BUTTON? "We had a good car. We caught a little bit of a break. Just one of those days that things came together for us. I've been able to sit on the pole here three times and never won. It feels good to get the job done today."
Jeremy Bullins (Crew Chief, No. 22 Snap-On Dodge Challenger) Race Winner
YOU HAD TO DO A TWO-TIRE STOP TWICE TODAY. DID YOU THINK THAT HAD TO BE THE STRATEGY? "It's just one of those things that you hope works. Luckily, it was our day. I want to thank all the guys back at the shop that built us a fast race car. We hardly had to work on it. It's been an awesome weekend. We sat on the pole, led the most laps and won the race, that's what we came here to do."
Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger) Finished 4th
“We were really good on the short run, not as good on the long runs. So all day we were hoping for some more cautions I guess. At the end of the day, a top-five finish is good. We only lost one point to one of the guys that we’re running against in the championship hunt. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how we ran. Just wish we would have had a little bit more for those guys at the end of the race.”
YOU WERE FIGHTING WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI AND KEVIN HARVICK FOR MOST OF THE AFTERNOON. “Yeah, we fought ‘em as much as we could. We were good on the short run but not as good on the long run. We were able to kind of gain a little bit of ground and get some good track position when we had that opportunity. The guys did a great job in the pits. I had a real tough battle with the 3 car (Austin Dillon) for most of the second half of the race. Unfortunately, I lost that battle towards the end there but Austin drove a good race. He raced me clean, so I have nothing to complain about other than I tried to get back to the throttle a little bit too soon.”
WHAT WAS THE STORY OF YOUR RACE TODAY? “We were really good on the short runs but we weren’t good enough the longer the runs went on. We just got way too tight in the center of the corner and weren’t able to get off the corner like we needed to. I’m real proud of the guys at Penske Racing, from the guys on the road crew here to the guys that put the cars together. They’ve built us some real good cars and real good reliability as well. I’m just a little disappointed in myself that I couldn’t hold the 3 off. He was quite a bit quicker than me and caught me a couple times but I was able to somehow dig down a little deeper and get something to stay ahead of him. Just had one little slip up trying to get through some lapped traffic and it opened the door for him.”
HOW DOES THIS MOMENTUM TODAY HELP YOU IN THE CUP RACE TOMORROW? “Well, I got to go back and get hydrated again. The good thing is this week I’ve got 24 hours to get ready for it versus last week where I had about two hours. I’m looking forward to getting out there, getting some good rest tonight, talk to the girls tonight on the phone. I miss ‘em quite a bit. They didn’t make it out this weekend but hope their having a good day. We’ll keep going at it. We’ve got a little bit of a hard row to hoe tomorrow but all-in-all, I feel like if we do the right things and make some good calls, we’ll have a good car.”
Chad Walter (Crew Chief, No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger) “I think we were good. Obviously, we still have some work to do. That 3 car, we raced the heck out of him and he got us there at the end but I mean team-wise, start to finish, Sam and the 12 Team, pit crew, it was a very solid effort. No mistakes and we came out fourth. Congratulations to our teammates for winning the race. Brad has really got this place figured out, so hat’s off to those guys. Our pit crew gave us positions every time. You know, I told ‘em on the radio after one stop that they gave us a lot more options when we can rely on them to have fast pit stops. Kudos to those guys and all the effort and work that they put in.”
MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEW
Brad Keselowski (No. 22 Snap-On Dodge Challenger) Race Winner
“This is the 25th win for Penske in the Nationwide Series. Just a great day. We unloaded yesterday with a lot of speed in our Dodge and, you know, went from there and just tried to work on making sure that it stayed there. I’ve had great runs here in the past but we haven’t been able to close the deal. So, it feels good to finally come here and close the deal and be able to not only be the fast qualifier but also to win the race. That’s a testament to Jeremy and the whole team, the work that they have put into this program to make it as strong as possible. I’m very proud of that, proud of the effort and proud of result obviously. I think that speaks for itself. Just two good, solid days here on the Nationwide side. Hopefully, we can use this momentum and carry it over to tomorrow and get another win.”
Jeremy Bullins (Crew Chief, No. 22 Snap-On Dodge Challenger)
“It’s priceless to be with an organization that gives you everything that we have to work with to get better. We had kind of a disappointing run at a short track at Richmond earlier in the season. We went and tested, worked on some new things and came here and it all paid off for us. It’s great to have an organization with the depth that we do, that we’re able to go do those things, go and test and learn things. We’re surrounded by a lot of people that are able to bring things to the table and make things better.”
DID YOU SEE KEVIN HARVICK’S SITUATION DEVELOPING DOWN LOW AND HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR PLAY? “Yeah, I saw the contact. I think he made contact with the 24 (Amber Cope). It looked like at least from my view and it just slowed down his momentum. You know, from there it’s just a matter of trying to capitalize on it and the move I made capitalized on it. That’s as short and sweet as I can be. It’s just lapped traffic and the battles that come with it.”
IT LOOKED LIKE CLEAN AIR MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE. ONCE KEVIN GOT AWAY FROM YOU ON THE RESTART YOU SEEMED TO STRUGGLE AND ONCE YOU GOT AWAY FROM HIM AFTER HIS INCIDENT. WHY WAS CLEAN AIR SUCH A DIFFERENCE ON THIS ONE-MILE TRACK? “Well, I think that there is obviously a preferred groove through the middle lanes of the racetrack. It’s so hard to keep the front ends down and turning through the corner because there is a lot of lateral load at the racetrack. So that little bit of clean air seems to keep the car pushed down into the ground, keeps the left-side tires working and that makes a huge difference.”
HEADING INTO TODAY, KYLE BUSCH WAS A THREE-TIME WINNER OF THIS EVENT AND HAD ENGINE TROUBLE. AS AN ORGANIZATION WITH EVERYTHING THAT YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS WEEK, DOES THIS WIN HELP A LOT? “I hate to put words in the mouth of everyone at Penske Racing but it certainly doesn’t hurt, how about that? It’s great to have Roger here today and everybody at Penske Racing from the management team to witness it and to be part of it. It certainly feels good but I don’t want to put words in their mouths. As far as your other question about Kyle, he’s a great racer. He’s obviously proved that here with his success. It’s just a matter of time before bad luck catches up with all of us and today must have been his day. I’m not sure exactly what happened to him. That’s part of racing.”
I THINK WE HEARD ON TV YOU SAY THAT BRAD WAS GOOD TO GO BUT TO SAVE FUEL. HOW DO YOU NEGOIATE WITH BRAD AT THAT POINT? “Well, it’s just a matter of we were close enough that we didn’t need to save fuel while we were actually racing but if the caution is out, really there’s no point in not saving fuel in case the race gets extended by a green-white-checkered. It’s one of those things where you’re good but you know if you’re saving a little, it’s not going to hurt my feelings. It all works itself out.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT WHEN YOU ARE TOLD TO SAVE FUEL? “It’s racing (smiles). That’s my term for the day: it’s racing. It’s just another challenge and that’s why the more challenges you add, the better the opportunity for talent to rise to the top no matter what it is. I welcome the challenges. I’m confident in my team and everybody that’s on it, that we’ll be able to make the most of it.”
DOES IT HELP YOU PREPARE FOR SUNDAY RUNNING THESE NATIONWIDE RACES? “You know, I think different weeks there’s different advantages. Some of them are certainly from the driver’s seat and some of ‘em are just from the team perspective. Today, we had some different pit crew members on the team and working through some different things there. It’s great to be able to prove that out today and not have to worry about that tomorrow.”
WHO CHALLENGES YOU THE MOST ON A RACETRACK? “Who? The guy who is in my mirror, whoever it is (laughs). I think that there are different talents that challenge you in different ways. You know, I think you look at it mentally and you have to look at a guy like Jimmie Johnson and his approach. You look at some of the talents of Kyle and Kurt Busch; I think that is certainly a challenge. And then you look at a guy like Kevin today who is just a solid racer, who is an expert at all the fundamentals and those are challenges as well. Each one of the elite drivers is an elite driver for a reason. They’ve got a particular category mastered and I think there’s something to be learned from all of ‘em.”
YOU STARTED FROM THE POLE AND LED THE MOST LAPS. WITHOUT THE LAPPED TRAFFIC INCIDENT AT THE END, DID YOU THINK YOUR CAR WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO GET HARVICK IF HE DIDN’T RUN INTO WHAT HE RAN INTO? “I don’t know. There’s no way of really knowing that. The odds were probably not in my favor but you know you catch good breaks and bad breaks. It was a bad break for us that the yellow came out to begin with and who’s to say that another yellow wouldn’t have come out. I mean, you just don’t know what would have happened. That’s what makes racing special.”
Source: SRT Motorsports