Keselowski 14th, Hornish 24th in qualifying for Phoenix 500

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 14th

THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING. DID YOU ANSWER THEM WITH THAT LAP? “There are a lot of cars left to go so I don’t know if we answered anything but we put down a decent lap. Obviously we’d like to have a little bit more. I think Mark Martin is going to lay down a hell of a lap but we’re working on it and we’ll go racing on Sunday from where we end up.”

Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge
Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU HAVE TWO MORE PRACTICE SESSIONS TOMORROW. WHAT IS LEFT ON THE CHECKLIST? “Just keep finding more speed. The more speed you have, the more ability you have to control your race. We’re going to keep working on it.”

THE WEATHER CHANGED A BUNCH BETWEEN PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING. HOW BIG OF A FACTOR WAS THAT? “It definitely affects some things. The track is a little faster. We were able to pick up some speed, so that’s not a bad thing. I would have liked to have picked up just a little bit more.”

IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU HAVE STARTED AHEAD OF JIMMIE JOHNSON IN THE CHASE? DOES IT MATTER? “I don’t know. How did he qualify at Talladega? I haven’t really been keeping track of that part. I’m keeping track of the races (smiles).

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? “The driver scoring the most points – isn’t that what Tony Stewart said (smiles). He’s pretty smart. He’s won two of them, so I’d take some notes from him. You just got to have a great team. This is a team sport whether anyone will admit it or not. It’s the people that you’re surrounded by.”

BECAUSE THIS IS A SHORTER RACE, DOES IT ADD A SENSE OF URGENCY? “No, I don’t think so. Three hundred is still a lot and I feel like if you get in the back, you’ll get there in 300.”

IS THERE AN ADDED CHALLENGE GETTING THROUGH TRAFFIC? “Yeah, it’s very challenging but no more so than Martinsville and those places. I think we saw Denny Hamlin go to the back twice and drive to the front and that was supposed to be a place you couldn’t pass. If you’re good, you find a way.”

DO YOU RACE THE RACE OR DO YOU RACE HIM (JOHNSON)? “I’m running to win whatever that means (laughs). Win the race and things become a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about those things.”

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 26th “I feel bad for the guys first of all because we wrecked the first car. We got down on the splitter and actually started bouncing the front of the car. That’s my call to know when it’s too much. We were very free getting into the corners here for qualifying. Guys worked real hard on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge and I feel pretty good about what they’re going to give me moving forward from here. It’s been a rough day but we’re going to keep our heads and keep working at it. I appreciate all their help.”

WAS THIS AN INSTANCE WHERE THE NATIONWIDE CAR HELPS THE CUP CAR BECAUSE OF YOUR LIMITED TRACK TIME TODAY? “No because you want to drive it in there like a Nationwide car (smiles) and you just can’t do that. Both laps into Turn 1 the car was a bit free and the second lap, I just couldn’t turn it into Turn 3. It just slid up the track a little bit further than what I wanted to. I’d say I probably lost at least a good tenth of a second down there. The guys did a really good job of getting us one run out there today in the backup car before we had to come out and qualify. We’re not going to start anywhere near as well as we want but at the end of the day, this is still a 312-lap race. I started 38th here and finished ninth so I know that it can be done.”

SRT Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mark Martin
Teams Team Penske
Article type Qualifying report
Tags dodge, hornish, keselowski, phoenix, srt