Daytona 500: Keselowski - Media Day visit

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES DAYTONA MEDIA DAY DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY February 5, 2009 BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 09 MICCOSUKEE INDIAN GAMING IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Pre-Daytona Media Day and discussed not being locked in to...

February 5, 2009

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 09 MICCOSUKEE INDIAN GAMING IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Pre-Daytona Media Day and discussed not being locked in to the Daytona 500, '09 Cup schedule, focus on Nationwide Series this season and other topics.

WE HEARD THIS MORNING THAT NOW YOU'RE NOT LOCKED INTO THE TOP 35: "Yeah, well, I'll be honest, I didn't understand how I got in and I don't understand how I'm not, so I'm just as confused as can be and I'm back where I was a week ago and focused on doing what we can with the assumption I'll have to race into the 500."

DO YOU KNOW, IS YOUR CAR SET UP? ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE TO THRASH ON THE CAR TOMORROW TO GET READY? "Up until a week ago we were under the assumption that we had to make it on time or through the 150s. I don't think they've really changed much in that process so I don't think there was a drastic turnaround, but I'm sure there are some things, yes."

HOW WAS THE NEWS BROKEN TO YOU? "The General Manager, Steve Barkdoll, called me yesterday and told me that they had some kind of hiccup. He didn't really go into detail and I didn't really care to know the details of it."

HOW MANY RACES ARE YOU DOING WITH THE FINCH GROUP? "Well, as of now I think it's to be determined, but it looks to be somewhere around nine to 10 races. Still seven with HMS with

SPEAKING OF GODADDY.COM, YOU SAW THE COMMERCIAL DURING THE SUPERBOWL? THERE'S NO CHANCE YOU'RE GOING TO BE GETTING IN THE SHOWER IS THERE? "No, but I've got two great commercials coming out for Daytona race week and I think you're going to be really excited about them. I'm excited about them. I shot two commercials for and they're a little racy, so I hope the NASCAR crowd enjoys them.

ARE YOU MORE NERVOUS ABOUT THIS WEEKEND THEN YOU WERE? "Then I was yesterday, yes? It was going to be a huge relief to be locked in, but you know, it is what it is and you try to adapt to it and try to work around it. Like I said, I feel like I have a good car. I think now's the year to be in this situation, if there is a year. It will be interesting to see.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN SEE NASCAR, THE TRACKS OR THE TEAMS ABLE TO DO TO SHOW THEIR APPRECIATION FOR THE FANS, ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR IN THE SITUATION WE'RE IN? "Without a doubt. Well, I think there's always more you can do and I think you need to never stop looking. I think the biggest thing is we just have to do everything we can to be as efficient as possible, and by efficiency I mean whatever we can do to not waste money in specific areas that we have been. Those costs will transfer down to savings for the fans, the track owners, the teams, the sponsors, etc. and that will lower the costs of sports, but I think efficiency is just the biggest thing, and I don't think there's one area you can point a finger at. I think it's everything, you know? I look at the testing rules as being a good start, but I'm concerned about what that will do for the competition in the long run. I think that we'll have to get back to testing. I think that's something we really need to look hard at. I think it's important not just for the future drivers, excluding myself, but for the teams and for the continuity for the personnel that don't have the resources that a Hendrick Motorsports has. So, I think that's going to be interesting to see how that works out. As far as specific things for the fans and how hard it is for them to get here, I think Dale said it best when we're looking at, you know, what we can do to cut costs more than just specific to the track and the weekend, but the hotels and so forth. Those things at the tracks have really skyrocketed and made it harder on the fans. So those little things like that they all add up. I don't think there's one shining beacon -of this area here will fix everything - as much as it is just everybody, everywhere."

DO YOU SEE DRIVERS EVEN DOUBLING THEIR EFFORTS TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS, SHAKE HANDS AND TAKE PICTURES, ETC.? "Well, I think that's a tricky situation. I can't remember, somebody wrote an article this week - it might have been David Poole -- about you know we should do something where we sign autographs for the fans and so forth. I wouldn't mind seeing that be a little more organized, if we could do something there. It's always a struggle for me and just from personal experience; I think Preseason Thunder was a great example. We came here and we signed autographs for the fans and I think they gave out tickets or wristbands for 200 or whatever. And so you sign those 200 and then there are always 20 more. If you sign those 20, then 30 more people show up. And that's always so frustrating for us as drivers because we can't ever see everyone. You know if we saw 500, there'd be 550. And so that's frustrating. And it's something actually Dale and I talked about and I asked him how he deals with it because he obviously has a much larger fan base than I have. And there's the realization that you'll see those fans down the road if they're really committed to this sport. It's a tricky situation and we do all we can do, but even if we were to do more it still would not be enough. It's never enough. It's hard. It's hard to draw a line. Is the line 200 autographs? Is the line 500 autographs? Is it a two hour session? What is the line? What's fair to the fans? What more can we do? We certainly need to look at that and I certainly think about that every time I come to a racetrack. What more can I do and where is that line of this is all I've got left in me? I don't know if we have an answer to that and I don't know if that's something the tracks need to come up with an answer to or the teams or NASCAR themselves. But certainly now more than ever that's something we need to do all we can."

THE POINTS SITUATION? ARE YOU OK WITH THAT? "As I said before, I really don't know how I got in and I don't know how I got out. Those are powers way above me that control that. The decisions that are made are their decisions.

ARE YOU STILL PLANNING ON RUNNING 17 RACES IN CUP? "It's looking like somewhere in that range. Seven on the Hendrick motorsports side and nine or 10 for Finch and Phoenix Racing."

YOU ARE KIND OF GIVING UP A SHOT AT RUNNING FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. DOES THAT BOTHER YOU? "I mean a little bit. You know the discussions I've had about it are if you look at drivers like Jimmie Johnson, he's a three-time Sprint Cup champion in a row and he didn't win the rookie of the year. I don't think anyone remembers they didn't win the rookie of the year. If I wouldn't have said it, you probably wouldn't have thought of it. I think there's a lot of different ways of looking at it and my main focus right now is being the best I can be and to do that I need to run as many races as I can. And when I look at that situation and specifically the main goal for this year is winning the 2009 Nationwide championship, it became apparent that in order to do that, in order to fight the fight of Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, that I was going to have to run as many races as possible, whether that was in the Nationwide side, the Sprint Cup side or the truck side, just to be able to keep up with them. So that's what we're looking for. Those are our bullets in the gun. We're going to run as many Cup raves as I can. If we lose out on the rookie status, then so be it. But the focus is on the Nationwide title."

DO YOU HAVE YOUR CUP SCHEDULE SET IN STONE OR KIND OF AN IDEA HOW MANY CUP RACES? "We're looking at around 16 or 17, but we haven't really set that specific to date."

IT'S ONLY YOUR 17 BEST RACES FOR THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. "It is, yes. If we run that many, you don't know because if something were to happen like this situation where we're not locked in then it could potentially be where we only run 15 races. We haven't really got all the answers on that yet. I think we're kind of trying to work through that, especially with the hiccup of this morning or yesterday or whatever it was, with the points deal and how that affects that situation for that team."

COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THE COMPETITION LEVEL AS YOU GO UP IN LEVELS IN NASCAR? "Well, you're always dealing with that. There's always someone out there better than you. A friend told me when I was in high school once that no matter how bad you do in high school, someone always does worse. I thought that was a good joke and kind of playing off that theory, no matter how bad you do, or how well you do in these levels, there's always someone worse and there's always someone better, and so you focus on trying to do what you can do and try not to think about that."

THE FANS THINK YOU GUYS ARE FEARLESS SOMETIMES. DOES EXPERIENCE CURE THE FEAR? "Fearless on the racetrack; not so much off. When I look at my experiences on the racetrack and as my comfort level grows and my confidence level grows, the fear just leaves my situation and that's where I'm at with that right now. I feel comfortable and I feel extremely safe in our racecars. I can give credit to Mark and the whole staff at the seat shop at Hendrick Motorsports who are building some of the safest products we've ever seen or will ever see in this sport. With the help of Delphi and Chevrolet on that end I think we've got things going on there that technology-wise are the envy of the sports and the automobile world and I think that's really cool to see."

CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU CAN FEEL IN THE RACE CAR THAT THE FANS CAN'T? "You're feeling so many different things, the intensity and the frustration. It's hard to explain that. The mental things you feel I think probably overcome most everything else. And obviously there's the heat physically and that's always wearing on you. It seems like as time has progressed over the last 10 to 15 years we seem to find that the looser you make your race cars they faster they are. Well, the looser they are, the more you're working in the seat. So, we're working pretty hard and I think sometimes we don't get the credit from the nontraditional fans for how hard we're working inside there to do what we're doing."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Phoenix Racing