Brad Keselowski Kansas post-race interview

Dodge Motorsports press release

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T) Race Winner

“The car was just phenomenal, absolutely a phenomenal race car. It was just one of those races that you’re trying to figure out what to do not to lose it which, it’s certainly a blessing to have one of those days. It can be one of the tougher days in the car because the heat is on you as a driver. So I was trying not to screw it up. I about did. I got behind Carl there with 20-some to go and for a minute there, I wasn’t sure if I could get back by. I just kept working it, working it, working it trying to get by him. The strength of our Dodge showed up. A great day for us. I thought there was a lot of great racing through the field. Certainly, we had the best car. There have been weeks when we haven’t had the best car. That’s the thing about this sport, it cycles back and forth. Today was our day with the best car. As a race car driver, the expectations that I have for myself, when you have one of those cars, is to make the most of it. I’m very proud of our whole team that we were able to do that.”

THIS IS YOUR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN AT KANSAS. WHY HAVE YOU BEEN DOMINATE HERE LATELY? “There are a couple different things. Obviously, the win in the spring was good, but I continue to learn different things about the track to be fast around here. The track has aged, which is a good thing, to where you can run multiple lanes. I’ve picked up on that very well and which lanes serve my car. I think as a driver, when you go to different race tracks, and I talk about this a lot with my team and with my crew chiefs, when you go to different race tracks, sometimes you rely on your team to give you good car and once you have that good car, when you come back time after time after time, you know what you’re looking for. I felt like Kansas was one of those places where I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for in the first few years of my career. After having some success in 2010, this is a track that I needed to run well at and have been able to use that approach. It’s served us well from a driver’s perspective and the team well from a setup perspective. There’s just certain tracks that you pick up on and then there’s certain track that you go to, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that California and Texas, I go there and I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a great race car and never picked up on the feel that I needed to have. As a driver, with the testing ban, experience is so important and so vital because that’s where you pick up that feel and improve.”

WAS THERE EVER A POINT THAT YOU WERE RELAXED AND CONFIDENT IN THE CAR TODAY? “We had a pretty goo lead and you have to fight that because that’s when you make mistakes, big mistakes; spin out on you own. When you leave the zone, because you’re so comfortable where you’re at, that can be when it’s most dangerous. There’s this famous video that I was watching the other day, (Ayrton) Senna when he was running F1, he had like a 20-second lead at Monaco and they told him to slow down. When he slowed down, he hit the wall because you get out of your rhythm when you either you lose focus or change your pace. The approach that I have is to just keep pushing because sometimes when you don’t do that, that’s when you get yourself in more trouble.”

GIVING THE FACT THAT YOU CAME FROM 14TH TO THE LEAD IN LESS THAN SIX LAPS ON THAT ONE RESTART, WAS THERE ANY DOUBT IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU WERE GOING TO GET BY EDWARDS ON THE RESTART? “Yeah, there was to me. The first few laps, when I was behind him, I was pushing so bad in his air that I had some serious doubts. Like last week in Dover in the Cup car, where on the last segment we restarted 21st or something and drove through all the lapped cars. I ran down the lead pack from a straightaway behind in about four laps, three or four-tenths a lap faster and caught the back-half of the field and then slowed down three or four-tenths of a second in the dirty air. I was thinking about that the whole time I was behind Carl there like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be one of those days.’ I was able to move my line around, which is a credit to this track and where it is right now; it’s a great race track. I was able to move my line around and find clean air. That’s why, when you hear all these people talk about why older race tracks are so good, it’s because you can move around without losing speed and find air and if you are a faster car, you can pass. That’s why Kansas is such a great race track as it sits right now.”

AND NEXT YEAR IT WILL GET REPAVED: “It’s really unfortunate, if that’s the case, because it’s in optimal condition right now.”

WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH YOU AND CARL ON THAT LAST TRIP DOWN PIT ROAD? “I’m not really sure. Carl was asking me about that. I was just pulling into my pit stall and he was kind of pushing me; I was already at my speed limit. I was over my speed when he was pushing me. He ran into the back of me and kind of had me turned sideways. I’m not sure what was going on with his end, but I know on my end, I wasn’t going to speed with the fastest car going down pit road.”

IN WHAT WAYS DOES RUNNING BOTH SERIES HELP YOU AND HELP FANS IN THE GRANDSTAND AND WATCHING ON TV GIVE HOPE TO THIS SERIES? “A lot of people give me s--- about driving in the Nationwide Series. You should let Parker (Kligerman) driver the car or you should not run it so a Rickey Stenhouse can win the race. Kind of the stealing candy argument. And it’s very frustrating for me. There’s a much larger picture to this series and my involvement in it than that. I guess I was trying to clarify that. It’s hard to do sometimes because people see what they want to see. Take a guy like Todd (Gordon) who worked at Michael Waltrip Racing. Todd’s a great guy and built a hell of a race car today. Look at Michael Waltrip’s Nationwide program, its shut down. So a guy like Todd, without this program, is looking for a job and that’s not fair. It’s tough, because you sound arrogant, but without me driving this car, there’s no sponsor. With no sponsor, there’s no team. Without a team, there’s no Todd. Without Todd having a team, there’s Todd on unemployment. A guy like Todd is going to find a job somewhere, but when he does, he’s going to push another guy out. It’s tough and everybody wants to look at it and say, ‘You’re running the races just to make the money or get them fame.’ I love winning. I’m not going to try and tell you that I don’t like winning, but there’s a bigger picture than just that.”

“There’s a much larger cause to the Nationwide effort at Penske Racing. It’s about giving opportunities to people and showing depth and doing some things that I take a lot of pride in. I’m just trying to share that accordingly.”

TODD GORDON (crew chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T)

“Yeah, I think the team has done a great job. Brad challenges us to make better race cars. I think yesterday we thought that we had speed, but we weren’t happy with the balance. We chased ourselves, but put our heads together to try and make the car a little better. It fired off well. It came back through traffic well. I was kind of anxious there when we stalled on pit road with some miscommunication between Brad and I. We drove back through to the front and it seemed like the race track opened up with multiple grooves today. It opened up where you could race a little bit. I’m just proud of the guys. To Brad’s point, we don’t make a mistake in the pits and cost ourselves and jeopardizes track position from where we were.”

HOW MUCH ADJUSTMENT WAS THER ON THE CAR AND HOW MUCH PRESSURE WAS THERE ON YOU WITH SUCH A DOMINANT CAR? “A lot. These races are almost worse on the box than a race when you’re trying to catch up because you have time, you know where you’re at, and you want to make sure that you’re making correct adjustments. You’re good enough; you don’t want to mess it up. To the focus part, you’re trying to make sure that you’re prepared for ‘what should we do at this point.’ Thinking 10 laps ahead if the caution comes out and what we’ll do and what the rest of the field does because you’re in a position where a lot of people, like we showed at Lap 60, the field will play the opposite from you when you’re in this position. Trying to figure where your counter is, where they are and make sure that you don’t’ give up an opportunity like this because they’re rare, very rare. You want to make sure that you’re prepared for everything that comes.”

VICTORY LANE NOTES & QUOTES

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger)

WHAT DOES IT DO FOR A DRIVER TO HAVE A CAR THIS GOOD ON A DAY LIKE THIS? “Well, it’s amazing. This Dodge Challenger, it just hauled all day. I knew it was pretty good in practice, but I didn’t know it was going to be this good. I’m proud of these guys and I’ll tell you what, Todd Gordon back there, you know I get a lot of questions of why I run this Nationwide deal and days like today, I know I’m going to get people on my Twitter account you know asking me ‘Why do you do this? Why don’t you just focus on the Sunday deal?’ But the reason I do this is guys like this. You know there are pit crew guys out here that are getting their first opportunity to pit cars, a whole bunch of different opportunities. Todd, without this program, would be laid off on unemployment and because of Roger Penske, because of Discount Tire, and all of us putting this program together, these guys are all out there working in tough times right now. And not just the whole world, but NASCAR, everything and it makes me very proud to be a part of this program, very thankful for that and everybody on this Discount Tire team. It’s very special and that’s my way of giving back to everybody and being a part of this program.”

WHAT DID YOU GLEAM TODAY THAT COULD HELP YOU POSSIBLY IN THE CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP RACE HERE TOMORROW? “Well, I wish I could take this car tomorrow and what I learned, but my Cup car is really good, the Miller Lite Dodge. These Nationwide cars have been so good, I’m always learning and I’ve got to thank everybody on this team once more. It’s just an unbelievable car and unbelievable day. To Nationwide and all the fans, thank you so much. It’s a privilege to get to do this.”

COMMENT ON HOW STRONG YOUR CAR WAS TODAY. “You couldn’t ask for more, that’s for sure. This car was just hauling the mail. We had a fast car, good pit stops, and all the things. It was just an awesome day, very special. I wish I could have cars like this all the time, but very, very thankful to have a car this fast. Ready to go race ‘em on Sunday now, I can tell you that. This Discount Tire Dodge Challenger, awesome.”

IT SEEMED LIKE IT TOOK YOU A LITTLE LONGER TO TAKE THE LEAD ON THAT LAST RUN. “Carl [Edwards] was just good. Carl had a great car. It was tough to get by him and just slowly broke him down until I got the mistake I needed and was able to get by him.”

ARE THERE CERTAIN ASPECTS THAT YOU LEARNED TODAY THAT YOU CAN TRANSLATE TO TOMORROW? “Well, in this sport, you’re always learning. No matter how long you’ve been doing it, things change: tires change, tracks change, cars change and you’ve got to keep learning if you’re going to keep on top. I certainly learned some stuff today and very appreciative of the opportunity, and I think I’ll be a better driver come tomorrow, that’s for sure.”

TODD GORDON (Crew Chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger)

WHAT IS THE KEY TO THIS KIND OF DOMINATING PERFORMANCE TODAY? “Brad Keselowski does a lot for this Discount Tire Dodge. You know, the guys keep working, we keep building new race cars. This is a brand new car. We keep pushing. The shop is doing an awesome job pushing forward, building us a little better parts, a little better pieces and obviously having that guy behind the wheel puts the whole program together, Discount Tire giving us great support, Dodge for all their support. They really help us.”

TRAVIS GEISLER (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)

"What a great day for the Discount Tire Dodge team. It was one of those days that you work your whole career for. It's pretty awesome what these guys have been able to accomplish on Nationwide side this year. It's a testament to that Dodge Challenger. It's great to see these guys in victory lane."

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Series NASCAR-NS
Tags dodge, keselowski, penskse