Brad Keselowski: “I told somebody it felt like a game of Tetris..."
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT – “It’s been one that we’ve missed out on over the last few years and it kind of feels a little like redemption to clear it out and get it done today. I’m very proud of the team and the effort that’s gone into the 22 cars over the last few seasons has been tremendous.
JEREMY BULLINS, Crew Chief – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – “It’s just really good. We worked really hard this winter trying to get better than we were. We had an awesome season last year, but you’ve got to keep improving. We came here with a few things different and weren’t as good as we needed to be. We made some good changes overnight and had a good car when the race started. It was kind of an up-and-down day. We had a good pit stop and a bad pit stop, a good restart and a not-so-good restart, so it was a little bit up-and-down, but there was more up than down so that was good. We overcame some issues at the end and held on for the win.”
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH THE CAR – BATTERY, ALTERNATOR, ALL OF THE ABOVE? “From the sounds of it it was an alternator. To be honest, I haven’t gotten back over there to talk to the guys about what they found after the race, but it was systematic alternator failure from what he was describing. At that point you just go into safe mode and shut everything off that you can and hope that the battery makes it to the end. Fortunately, there weren’t many laps to go. We felt like we were losing a little power at the end, but we were close enough to hang on.”
KYLE WAS MYSTIFIED HOW QUICKLY YOU AND CHASE GOT BY HIM ON THE RESTART AT LAP 162. WHAT HAPPENED? “Yeah, I felt the same way when I was restarting the race in his position a few laps prior. The two Gibbs cars got by me, but these restarts are so finicky and so tricky. I’ve used the analogy before and it holds true again today that it’s a lot like playing rock, paper, scissors. For every move you can use to win, there’s another that can cancel it out and beat it. Today, that was the case and we saw that on that line.”
DO YOU THINK YOU’VE PUT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS BEHIND YOU FROM LAST YEAR AND YOU AND JOEY ARE ON A ROLL NOW? “Yeah, as it pertains to Joey I think he and I are really starting to get in a zone as far as working together and pushing each other to new levels. I know he’s really upped my game a lot on the Cup side in a lot of different ways, but mostly qualifying better and finding speed in that way. Over the last 12-13 months I think my qualifying efforts have dramatically improved because of him, and I think there are probably some areas where he’d say that I’ve helped him out as well. I think we’re in a really strong place to where it’s a very delicate relationship with team drivers to try and push each other and push the team to build the best cars possible with also knowing that that might be the guy that beats you that next day. Joey and I have done a great job of walking that line so far and I’m very proud of that, and I think that’s part of what you’re seeing there.”
HOW DOES THIS WIN HELP YOU PREPARE FOR TOMORROW’S RACE? “I don’t think there’s much we can take from today for tomorrow’s race. I wish it was that simple. Maybe the crew chief can, but it’s mostly just a confidence and morale booster. It’s definitely on high right now, so that’s a good thing.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BOBBING AND WEAVING THOSE LAST FEW LAPS? “I told somebody it felt like a game of Tetris. You’re just trying to weave your way through. ‘Oh, I missed one,’ and then you hit one. I hit some lapped car here, I don’t even know which one it was going into one, and then another guy wrecked in front of me. I was like, ‘Geez, will you guys just stop.’ Kyle wasn’t far behind me and my car wasn’t running quite right to begin with and the last thing I needed was that to go with it, but we made it through and I guess that’s the most important thing.”
IS IT A MATTER WHERE YOU BLOCK ALL OF THOSE OTHER THINGS OUT OF YOUR MIND AND FOCUS ON THE TRACK? “You have to. If you sit and dwell on that stuff you don’t focus on the job at hand and that’s running perfect laps, hitting your marks, getting through traffic and trying to predict what they’re gonna do. That’s what is so difficult when you have any kind of issue in the car is it can easily take you away from the task at hand on the track, so it’s a balancing act for sure.”
DOES THIS MAKE UP FOR 2011 AND THE LAST LAP ISSUE? “Wins are great, but you can never get those back. I could probably count three or four of those scenarios where I thought we had a shot at it, but somebody puts it behind you and it makes you feel a lot better. There are always races you probably should have won and didn’t, and there are probably races you did win and shouldn’t have, so you try to put those all in perspective.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOMORROW? “I feel decent. I feel like we’re definitely a top-10 car – maybe we could use a little bit more. With track position being what it’s gonna be tomorrow, pit road is gonna be critical and we have a decent pit stall, so it’s something I feel good about. It’s certainly not the first pit stall, which would really be helpful, but we’re in position to have a great day with good track position from the start. Hopefully we can hold on to it all race long and battle those restarts hard like what you saw today and close it out. That’s what it’s gonna take to win.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang – “At the beginning we were really fast. We drove from 17th to seventh and I was like, ‘Holy smokes, we’re gonna have a shot at winning this thing.’ From there I just lost all of my side bite. Everybody else seemed to tighten their cars up and get better. We were making adjustments, but we just didn’t have the side bite that we needed here today. We’ll go back and look at it and work on a few things to see if we can get this thing in the race track a little more. It wasn’t a little wedge or track bar off, it’s something else we can do mechanically to get it better. This is my worst Vegas finish and it’s an eighth, so it’s a good and a bad day. We gained some more points on the leader and should still be second and we’re working our way up.”
YOU HAD A BATTLE THERE WITH REGAN AT THE END. “Yeah, we were really loose and it looked like he was too. We caught two lapped cars and that hung me out. He went three-wide on the bottom and got by us, and I tried to move up high and let him get a gap, and I moved back to the bottom and was able to catch him and put a little pressure on him. He caught some lapped cars and I think he was thinking about what happened to me and was pushing it kind of hard and got loose there and over-corrected. I thought his day was done. I can’t believe he still finished where he did, so that was a good job by them. We’ve just got to stay smart with this thing. I think if we can finish races and do what we’re doing so far this season, we can win this championship but we also need to be running better.”
CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 60 Ford EcoBoost Ford Mustang – “I had a blast. This was the first time here at Vegas for the 60 team and we had a really good time. I think we came from two laps down at one point trying to get the lucky dog. It’s tough. These Cup guys out here are hard to beat, but it’s only gonna make us better in the long run. This Ford EcoBoost Mustang was really good. Our guys were awesome on pit road. I’m excited and can’t wait for Bristol.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT COMPETING AGAINST SO MANY CUP GUYS EVERY WEEK? “It’s learning for sure. We have to race against the best if we want to get there. I know it’s good for us being able to do that. Obviously, it takes away some of the glory for the Nationwide regulars, but it’s something we have to do a better job of out-running them. Once we can start doing that, then we’ll start getting a little more attention.”
RYAN REED – No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes Ford Mustang – “It was a long day. We battled a super-loose race car, especially in traffic. The goal today after the last couple of weeks was to keep all the fenders on it and we accomplished that mission. This gives us something to build on, but Seth and I both felt like in practice we’d have a better race car than that. It’s definitely a bummer. We’re not a 15th-place team and I think that we’ll continually show that throughout the year, but this is race number three and we’ve got a long way to go in this season. We’ll keep plugging away at it. It seems like the Junior Motorsports cars are pretty good, but Roush Fenway is building some fast Ford Mustangs and I know we’ll be up there soon.”