Brad Keselowski: “I think it is safe to say race car drivers push the limits of every rule.
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – WALK US THROUGH THE ENDING OF THAT RACE THERE. “That was a pretty strong day. We got to that one green-flag pit cycle which helped us get the track position at the end that we needed and then we were just kind of picking them off one-by-one as we made our way to the front and made some moves. We got some help from a couple different people.
I thought we had a chance to pull it off quite honestly. We cleared the 7 on the restart and he got a really strong push from the 6 and that was too much for me to be able to hold off. Coming off of four we were all real tight there and Kyle wasn’t able to stay with me and push and that was enough to get Regan the win. All in all it was decent day. There was one point in time when I was stuck in the high lane that I thought we would be lucky to have a top-10. From that perspective I am happy to get second; as happy as you can be with finishing second.
We have been really strong all of Speedweeks and have come as close to winning all three races that you can that we have been in with the Unlimited and Duels and then here today. We have a lot of momentum for tomorrow and I think my Cup car is the best car we have ever had here by a long way and we are going to try to focus on that.”
TREVOR BAYNE, No. 6 Advocare Ford Mustang – YOUR THOUGHTS ON A THIRD PLACE FINISH TODAY AND THE WAY THAT RACE FINISHED “Our car isn’t upside down, so that is a good day for us. You always stress that about these races because you have no idea what direction they will go. The first quarter of the race was about what we though, two-wide and everybody all over the place. We were trying to work our way forward from 31st and it started getting pretty crazy and I saw Brad and Matt Kenseth dropping toward the back and I thought that must be a pretty good plan so I followed suit with those guys.
We came down pit road and had a little struggle on the right front. We lost the lead pack which turned out to be a bad thing. The caution came out and we were able to work our way up toward the front. It was a pretty calm day for until the last 10 laps or so. Working with Brad was fun on the top and it seemed like we kind of stalled out and then I was able to work my way up to the second position on the top row and give Brad a couple of hard shoves. It is so much different now.
I feel like it took a lot less thought to tandem race. You just had to get on somebody’s bumper and stay wide open. Now you have to time your runs and figure out how to bounce off their bumper without crashing them and not staying attached. That was the game we had to figure out. I worked pretty good with Brad. It was a good finish at the end. We were hoping to come out of there with a top-10 and that was a good points day when you are running for a championship.
With that mindset every weekend you hope for a good finish in one piece while battling for a win and that is what we were able to do today. We had a chance to make a move by pushing the 7 until I felt I could pull down without losing any spots. It was a little too late because the middle closed up. Overall, we are pleased with a third place finish.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – YOU MENTIONED THE PENALTY TO THE 99. IS IT SAFE TO SAY YOU GUYS WERE PUSHING THE ENVELOPE UNTIL THAT HAPPENED? “I think it is safe to say race car drivers push the limits of every rule. That is what we do. We push the limits of ourselves and those around us and the sanctioning body. That is just who we are. That is what I think makes the sport so great. Yeah, obviously I don’t know where the limit is but I would say NASCAR made a rule or determination that he was over it and that is what happened there.”
A YEAR AGO YOU AND REGAN WERE STARING DOWN THE FINISH LINE, DID LAST YEAR GO INTO YOUR MIND AT ALL? “Not really, no. Maybe it should have. I am not that smart. I have a terrible memory. I wish I could give you something more exciting. I guess it isn’t a bad place to be, racing for the win with the same guy every year. There are a lot of people that would feel lucky to have that chance and I do as well.”
IS THERE SOMETHING GOING ON WITH THE TRUCKS AND THE NATIONWIDE CARS THAT IS MAKING IT HARD FOR THE TOP GROOVE TO COME IN? ALSO, WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG FOR THAT LINE TO BE USEABLE? “I think it is the way it is because of the combo of aero package and the track having as much grip as it does. The Cup aero package is quite a bit difference and a lot more sensitive to running the high lane. You don’t see that at the Cup level. The Truck and Nationwide level the cars have quite a bit of grip and they also don’t seem to be as sensitive to the right side draft. Running the bottom of the track is the shortest distance.”
TREVOR BAYNE - IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE CLOSING LAPS YOU CAN APPLY TO TOMORROW IN TERMS OF STRATEGY? “You know, to the last question as well, to me it is whatever lane that has the most cars is where you want to be at. That is how the races have gone here so far. Most drivers in the Truck and Nationwide have chosen the bottom because it is shortest way around and we don’t have a handling issue like the Cup cars do.
If everybody were to go to the top, the top lane would be the preferred lane to be in, in my opinion. I think that will be the case for the Cup race tomorrow. If everyone groups up and decides they want to be at the bottom then that is where we will be. If they all want to be at the top, then that is where we will be. You just can’t do it on your own here and that is what makes it so tough. As race car drivers we are used to being in control and figure out how to make our cars as good as possible and using our ability to get to the front. Here, if you make a move and nobody goes with you, you are in trouble.
I think we have learned a little about it as far as the bumping and pushing, if I were to hit someone tomorrow like I did Brad when we were going to the lead there they would be turned sideways across the field and that is just due to the bumpers not being aligned the way they are in the Nationwide cars. It is just different tactics. We push the limits like Brad said but all the while we were being very intentional about not hooking up. I really had to think about that. There are a lot of times that I just wanted to get to somebody’s bumper and stay there or have someone pushing me.
Just like at the end of that race on the back stretch when the 11 car was bumping me, it would have been very easy to stay on the back of that 7 car but I had to have at least a paper thin air gap between us or we could be in trouble. So I jumped on the brakes a little bit and tried to time that run to push to the finish. That is very complicated and I don’t know if it will work the same tomorrow but you can bet it will be an exciting finish tomorrow for sure.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – TV SEEMED TO CATCH YOU SCRATCHING YOUR HEAD ABOUT THE NATIONAL ANTHEM. ANYTHING THERE? “Well, I wish they would just sing the damn song. That is my reaction.”
WERE YOU UPSET AT ALL THAT AFTER YOU PUSED THE 7 TO THE LEAD HE KIND OF LEFT YOU HANGING? “The Cup cars are way different. I wouldn’t take anything from today and say that is what will happen tomorrow. Regan did what he needed to do. That was being a smart racer. You aren’t going to get very far in life if you sit and dwell on things like that.
TOMORROW ON THE LAST LAP, DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FIRST OR SECOND? “I want to be in the lead every lap.”
TREVOR BAYNE – THIS IS A BETTER START FOR YOU THAN LAST SEASON. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL RESONATE WITH YOUR TEAM AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST? “Last season we were running about second or third with Brad and had a gear come apart. We have left this race with a 30-point deficit. You can’t have many of those days and race for a championship. If you have three of those days and you are 90-points behind through simple math. You just cannot do that. We had a few of those last season and they are bound to happen but you have to manage that and I feel like we did a good job of that today.
It definitely gives us a little momentum going into Phoenix. It is out of your control here. We could have just as easily finished 30th today as we did finish third and not done a thing different in the race car, just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was the same with the Bud Duel with the 21 car. That last lap crash Bowyer missed me by a foot and it could have been just as easy that he caught me and turned me into the fence and we would have missed the Daytona 500. To come out of here I feel is a huge blessing and to be third place, I seem like I just won the thing because I am excited but that is because we are looking at the big picture this season.
That is something I have never really done before. I always go race to race and try to go for the win and put myself in positions I probably shouldn’t be in a lot of the time. That is not to say at Phoenix if it is the last lap and we are battling for the lead that I won’t put myself in a bad position because we are racers and we go for it when it counts. Today I feel like we did that. We want to be as safe as we can with good results but still battling for wins every weekend. To come out of here with a good points day gives us a little break later in the season when you do have that bad day because it is bound to happen.”