BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TRUCK RACE LAST WEEKEND AT GATEWAY? "We had a great weekend last week and ran great in the truck race. It was my best truck finish and had some fun with my boys there. I had...
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TRUCK RACE LAST WEEKEND AT GATEWAY? "We had a great weekend last week and ran great in the truck race. It was my best truck finish and had some fun with my boys there. I had to figure out a way to run with (Kevin) Harvick because he's kind of dominating that series. I had a lot of fun last weekend up until the end (of the Nationwide race). I had two competitive race cars. I was just one step away from winning the second (one). All and all I was happy with the performance of the weekend, just not the finish. I'm ready to move on to Indy."
DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS MORE GOING ON WITH CARL THAT'S PERSONAL AGAINST YOU? "I guess you'd have to assume so, but I'd be naïve to think that I understand anything that he feels or thinks because I'm still trying to figure how I feel about it. It's kind of tough, but I would definitely assume that."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO CARL? "No I haven't."
DO YOU WANT TO TALK TO CARL? "If I felt like it would be productive...obviously whatever talk that we had at Bristol was not necessarily productive, I don't see why now would be any different."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU WERE PENALIZED? "Not really. I don't know why....it didn't seem to really bother me. There were some of my fans that got really upset about it. I did an autograph signing and they were pretty excited about it. I respect that. That's been the coolest part is to listen to your fan base. To get the emails or phone calls from the fans, even your friends and family to support you makes it a lot easier to deal with. I wouldn't say surprised. To me, what that says is NASCAR doesn't want me to go out there and intentionally retaliate against Carl which is great. I don't want to. I'm glad that they took that away. Now I don't have to worry about that."
DO YOU THINK THAT YOU DID ANYTHING WRONG? "I can see why Carl would be upset. You have to remember, being in the car you don't have the benefit of seeing it on TV. You only see what's in front of you and all that he knew is that I made contact with him. I can see why he'd be upset. I'm sure he thought that I went down there and intentionally hit him. In fairness, if I was to reverse the situation and I was in Carl's car, I would have done the best that I could to not have let him pass in (Turns) 3 and 4 and if I did get passed, I would have turned it around to the next week or next opportunity. That's just reversing the issues, but I'm not Carl."
DID YOU INTENTIONALLY HIT CARL EARLIER IN THE RACE? "No. I got into the corner and I was inside of him going into (Turns) 1 and 2 by just the smallest of amounts. I just wanted to maintain it and just slipped a tiny bit and made some contact with him. I tried to make sure that we both saved it and we did. To me that's just good racing. That's two race car drivers on edge and that's what I was trying to allude to in the interview after the race. In my eyes, when we came off the corner we were still in the same spot. I guess that's why didn't think it was that big of a deal as some other people did."
SINCE BRISTOL, IT LOOKED LIKE YOU TWO GUYS WERE GETTING ALONG. WAS THAT JUST FOR SHOW? "We're both pretty happy people outside the race car. Not that I'm unhappy inside the race car, we're just fierce competitors in it. I have a way of letting go pretty easy on things like that and I'm assuming that based on Carl's reaction he does too."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU KNOW WHERE THE 'HAVE AT IT BOYS' LINE IS NOW? "I think it's more clearly defined, but not quite defined yet."
DO YOU HAVE TO RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY? "I don't think so. I don't see me doing anything differently. It would be one thing if I was sitting here and admitted that I intentionally got into him, but you can't be mad at yourself for just racing hard and accidently running into someone. You would never be able to race anyone. I don't plan on doing anything different."
ARE YOU SATISIFED WITH NASCAR'S PENALTY TO CARL? "There is no fair penalty. The only thing that makes things fair is to go back in time and reverse it. I'm happy that NASCAR reacted because it's crucial for the sport. I'm not going to sit out here and say, 'I think Carl should have gotten this'. To be honest, I'm not focusing that much on him."
ARE YOU STILL UNCLEAR ABOUT 'BOYS HAVE AT IT'? "Intentionally wrecking, that's a big gap from 'boys have at it' in my mind. It means something different to everyone. When it was originally said back in January I think we were all wondering how far that went and everyone's different interpretation to it."
IS NOT CHANGING THE WAY YOU DRIVE EASIER SAID THAN DONE? "It's always easier said than done. For me, I've been in several hard wrecks over the last few years, but able to get out and be fine. I got out of the car at Gateway and felt fine. To me, I feel pretty good about myself and my physical well being. That's not to say that a time won't come where that's not the case. I feel good from that standpoint. I know that the mentality I have and style that I have has gotten me to where I'm at and I've got no plans to change that."
HAS YOUR DAD COOLED OFF YET? "Ya, a little bit (smiles). My brother thought that it would be funny to put in an entry blank for him. I can tell you he got a lot of sponsorship opportunities. I told someone the other day that I don't think that he could fit in his old firesuit. It's kind of cool to see him get fired up. Those who know my dad well will tell you that he yelled just as loud Saturday at Carl as he would have at me. He's a pretty equal opportunist. I think that he's cooled down but naturally I think he carries a little resentment."
DID HE CONFRONT CARL? "I don't think that he did. If he did that wasn't something that I saw. I didn't see the TV part until I got back on my bus. I got held up at the Care Center but I wish I would have seen it."
DID YOU ANTICIPATE CARL COMING BACK AND RETALIATING? "To be honest, I anticipated him hitting me in the first place and that's how he passed me. When we were going down the backstretch right after the restart I left him a whole lane on the outside because I figured he was going to go down into Turn 3 and hit me anyways. Again, going back to that Atlanta incident, you try and think if you were (Carl) and my mentality is that I would never intentionally wreck somebody straight into the fence, right-rear quarter panel or whatever style that is. So to me, I gave him the outside for that reason on the first lap and that's how he passed me in Turn 4. I kind of read that wrong."
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK WITH SHELBY HOWARD? "He was running great. I haven't talked to him. I heard that he hurt his foot, but I don't know if there is any substance to that. I haven't talked to him but I'm sure that I'll see him this weekend."
DO YOU THINK THAT NASCAR SHOULD HAVE ADDRESSED (CARL'S PENALTY) WITH ALL THE OTHER CARS INVOLVED? "I just don't know how you do it. There is some way to address it, I just don't know how. It's very tough for a series where every dollar goes a long ways."
DO YOU THINK CARL'S ACTIONS ARE PERSONAL? "If that's not personal I don't know what personal is. I'm still trying to learn that. I don't carry anything personal. When I get into the car everyone's the same other than trying to guess how they're trying to react to something. I don't feel like I give preferential treatment out there."
DO YOU HAVE A SCORE SHEET OF TALLY WITH CARL IN YOUR HEAD? "No, not really. I don't really do that. I know that there are some people that are one for one, eye for eye. I think that if you look back through our history together, we've had run-ins but I don't really label that at saying, 'I'm two down, or two up'. I think that it works its way out when you look through the garage, there's always that one guy that has probably wrecked you more than you have him. When you look back at your career it's probably the opposite with someone else. I think it's a little childish to keep a scorecard."
WHAT HAPPENS THIS WEEK IF YOU'RE RACING AGAINST CARL? "Hopefully we win. I'm just going to do what I normally do and that's try and pass him the best way that I know how."
DO YOU THINK THAT THOSE DRIVERS WHO DON'T PUSH THE 'BOYS HAVE AT IT' MANTRA HARD ENOUGH ARE MISSING OUT ON WINS? "Sometimes, but it depends on the situation. That's where Jimmie (Johnson) has it so good. He's got a car that's so dang fast he doesn't have to. I think that's why everyone is so envious of him. It still comes down to the end that you have to have fast race cars. Kurt (Busch) made a pretty cool, aggressive move at Loudon to get by Jimmie, but at the end it was for not because Jimmie was able to go right back by him. He nudged him in the process, but when you have fast race cars, you're still capable of winning."
HAS NASCAR EXPLAINED TO YOU WHAT PROBATION MEANS? "No, not really. I think they kind of gave me a little bit of credit that I have some knowledge of what it means. I don't think anyone really sat me down and explained it to me. I talked a little bit to Robin (Pemberton) and he basically said that I had a little bit of skin in the game were his words regarding probation. The way that I read it is to not go out and intentionally wreck Carl. Like I said, I think that's why the penalty really didn't bug me so much as it was almost a relief as anything else."
DO YOU THINK THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN THAT EXPECTATION? "Absolutely. It's almost a relief. It makes me ready to go out there and go racing and not have to worry about it."
WITH ALL THIS TALK ABOUT YOU AND CARL, HOW ARE THINGS WITH YOU AND DENNY HAMLIN? "I think they're good (laughs). I don't know. I haven't been racing around him because he's been running too good. He's up front and I need to get up there with him."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE TOOK YOUR SIDE? "Ya, I've been surprised by a lot of people's reactions. Most of them on the positive side. I thought his was pretty cool in particular. It's funny how as a group we all have a way of rallying for what's best for the sport at key times. I'm glad to see that. And to be clear, intentional wrecking is not good for the sport. It's good to see that some people will stick up for it. Whether there's any pre-conceived or prejudice against those involved, it's cool to see those people step up and say what's best for the sport."
WAS THAT A HENDRICK SEAT IN YOUR CAR? "Yes. They're the safest out there. I had a commitment to safety before I got to Penske and felt like that I had the safest cars in the garage before (I got to Penske) and learned a lot from testing Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie's (Johnson) cars. I feel very confident that I have the safest car in the garage. We all have cars. I feel mine are even safer and that's why I'm here walking and talking to you today."
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT DRIVERS RACING BACK TO THE START-FINISH LINE AFTER A YELLOW-FLAG IS THROWN? "I thinks that's one of the most concerning things and I've seen that in all three of the major series over the last year. It seems to be a growing trend, not slowing down when there is an accident in front of you. In this case, it magnified my end of the incident. Looking toward the future, I see it magnifying more accidents before we can break that mentality. I'm not sure what has happened there. There have been more than several incidences this year...even on the Cup side...with the (scoring) loops it doesn't even matter. The yellow (flag) will come out and five or six cars will just drive right by you. You know there's a wreck in front of you. You know something's wrong. You might not see it, it's just concerning to see it happen."
-source: dodge motorsports