Ford Performance NASCAR: Keselowski and Logano Q&A Sessions

by Official Release On Sat, Nov. 11, 2017

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes
Can-Am 500 Advance – Phoenix International Raceway
Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Team Penske duo of Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, held separate Q&A sessions following today’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Phoenix International Raceway. Here are transcripts from each.

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – YOUR FOUNDATION MADE A $150,000 DONATION TO THE FISHER HOUSE. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE ABLE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT? “For me, I take a lot of pride in those that have served. I’m in a role where I get to make a really good living, but I’m not really doing a lot to serve the community other than trying to entertain them, so I think it’s important for people like me who kind of rode the elevator to the top to send it back down for those in need. Our foundation is looking to do just that and trying to find the right groups to help. Fisher House is one of the best groups out there with the efficiency of how they run their group and what percentage of funds goes to actually making a difference and how they make a difference with helping the families and the scholarships and all the different kinds of programs. We’re just really glad to support a group that we know makes a difference. We have a number of fundraisers through the year. We have one this weekend with names on the race cars of those who have been injured, hurt or just served our nation, so it’s a good way to recognize all that on Veteran’s Day Weekend.”

HOW DIFFICULT HAS TODAY BEEN AND WHAT KIND OF HOPE DO YOU HAVE FOR TOMORROW? “We’ve been kind of up and down. We didn’t start practice the way we wanted, but we ended really close so we’ve got one more practice left. If we can continue with what we had at the end of this last practice, I think we’ll be in good shape for Sunday.”

DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE BE IN SURVIVAL MODE? ARE YOU PLAYING DEFENSE TOMORROW? “I think the 11, the 24 and the 21 have shown that they can win the race, maybe even the 48, so it would not be a good play to be on defense. I’m gonna try to win the race.”

PAUL WOLFE IS ONE OF THE CREW CHIEFS WHO THINKS A LOT ABOUT STRATEGY. ANY CONVERSATIONS OF WHAT TO DO IF THE SPEED IS NOT IN THE CAR TO GATHER STAGE POINTS? “Even with that you’ve got opportunities to get stage points, you’ve got opportunities to win the race. You saw Ryan Newman was about a fifth to tenth-place car and won the race here in the spring, so there will be opportunities throughout the race for that for good or bad. We’ll see how that all plays out. It’s hard to predict the race.”

HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR FLAT TRACK PROGRAM RIGHT NOW AT TEAM PENSKE? “Kansas is a little bit of a faster track and I thought we had a great weekend at Texas as far as speed-wise and we made some decent advancements there. Of course, we ran well at Martinsville. These type of tracks seem to not quite be our strong suit – kind of the faster aero places – but with how much better we ran at Texas I’m optimistic we can run really strong here come tomorrow. We’ve just got to his on all the right pieces.”

WHAT ADVICE ARE YOU GIVING AUSTIN CINDRIC AFTER LAST NIGHT? “He’s a pretty calm, and cool collected kid. He doesn’t need a lot of advice from me, but I think this sport, the way it works, you’ve got your ups-and-downs. I was just telling Ken Fisher over there that a bad day racing is better than a good day working. It’s easy to let that stuff get in your head and when you put it all in perspective it’s still a great opportunity to go race for a championship this weekend and that’s what he probably needs to focus on.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED — WHAT DID YOU THINK OF HIS MOVE WITH RHODES? “I understood why Rhodes blocked and I understood why he drove it in. There’s 20 laps to go and he had an opportunity and he took it. I think both of them probably made the right move, it just didn’t work out. We’ve seen that play out three or four times over the last year or two, even at this race track last fall, so it’s tough. I think we all like to play the right and wrong game, which is natural. I think sometimes in racing things happen and there isn’t really a right and wrong.”

WITH A SHORTER RACE THERE ARE FEWER PIT STOPS IS IT EASIER TO HOLD ON TO A CAR THAT’S NOT RUNNING WELL BECAUSE IT’S A SHORTER RACE OR IS IT MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE YOU HAVE FEW CHANCES TO FIX IT? “Yes and no. It’s easier to stay on the lead lap with a real short race like this. The way the stages break up, I think it’s only 80-some laps, so you’re not gonna get the green flag stops and all that stuff that really give you a chance if you’re a 15th-place car to go a lap down and fall behind. But then on the other side this is a hot, slick race track. You have a bad run with the car and you’re really out of control you can fall back quick, so I think just a little bit of both sides there.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR FAMILIES OF VETERANS TO HAVE THE KIND OF SUPPORT THAT FISHER HOUSE OFFERS TO THEM? “My teammate, Joey Logano, was a part of this group – the 22 Foundation – because on an average day 22 veterans commit suicide and we were discussing that yesterday and the number is now 23. You think about all the things that are going on through these guys world or in their world and they need help. As groups like Fisher House that provide them some hope, that look out for them, take care of them and I can’t answer for every person and why they make those decisions, but you’d like to think if we could take care of them they wouldn’t and a group like Fisher House does just that. They take care of veterans and their families and give them a little bit of hope, so I think it’s a really important cause.”

IF YOU DO JUST ENOUGH TO POINT YOUR WAY IN WILL YOU HAVE ANY MOMENTUM AT ALL GOING INTO HOMESTEAD? “I think momentum and Homestead is overrated. If you look at last year I would have said the guy with the least momentum won it all. I’m not too caught up on that. I’m excited about how we ran at Texas. I know that we’re bringing the same car build to Homestead, so probably a little more thrilled about that and I would look at Texas as being more of the momentum to Homestead than I would here, for sure.”

WHAT’S IT LIKE IF YOU GO INTO HOMESTEAD IN THIS SITUATION WHERE YOU HAVEN’T BEEN DOMINANT. IS THERE NO PRESSURE OR ONCE YOU’RE IN THE LAST FOUR THERE’S ALL THE PRESSURE IN THE WORLD? “I think there are two sides of the coin. It’s a championship. Whenever there is a championship on the line there’s pressure. On the other side, there’s not a lot of self-inflicted pressure when you know you’ve been running fourth or fifth all year and you’re probably gonna need to win that race. I think there’s a little bit of both. I know that’s probably not the crisp answer you’re looking for there, but it depends on how you look at it.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE PLAYING WITH HOUSE MONEY IF YOU MAKE IT? “I would like to have won Martinsville (laughing), but that’s not the way it played out. We’ve had a pretty good season. I would say at this moment we’re probably a fourth or fifth-place team. The 42 had some really bad luck and some other guys have had some really good luck to get in front of us, so I think we’re right on that cut mark. It could go either way and we’re gonna leave it all on the table come tomorrow.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED — DO YOU WATCH YOURSELF MORE AS A PLAYOFF DRIVER WHEN YOU’RE OUT THERE BECAUSE YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LOSE? “I don’t know. That stuff is always in the back of your head, so it’s hard to answer. I’ve always felt like the last two or three years when you get to Homestead you race different when you’re around those guys for sure, but it’s hard to speak for every driver. Every driver is a little different. You hope that when you get in that situation that somebody shows you the respect that you showed them if you were in their situation because it is reciprocal and that you’d kind of like to see it settled on the race track.”

NOT SO MUCH AT HOMESTEAD BUT HERE? “I don’t really know if I have a great answer for that. Probably more so at Homestead.”

DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW TO BE LIKE THE TRUCK RACE LAST NIGHT? “Oh yeah. Absolutely. I expect it to be just like the truck race. You’re gonna have to be really careful to not put yourself in a spot to get taken out.”

BUT YOU MAY HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF IN THAT SPOT. “I hope not, but we’ll see. I would not doubt one bit that you’re gonna see a situation, whether it’s a wreck for the lead, I think you look at probably the four best car and three of them are at this moment at least guys that are outside the next round, so when you’re close, you can make a bold move.”

HAS IT BEEN HARD TO PUT MARTINSVILLE BEHIND YOU? “Not really. I would like to have the win. It’s hard to put that part behind, but other than that, you’ve got to keep looking out the front windshield in this sport and I think that’s what we’ve done pretty well.”

DO YOU RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY KNOWING THAT IT LOOKS LIKE SIDE BUMPING AND REAR BUMPING IS FAIR GAME? “Yeah, it certainly does, doesn’t it. You’d be lying if you say you didn’t. I thought it was real interesting yesterday that Johnny Sauter took the bottom on the last restart, knowing the top had a lot more grip and he drove it in the corner crazy-deep and kind of just said at least to himself that if the 8 truck was gonna get to his inside that’s probably what he’d do, so I respected that. I think without a doubt you’re gonna race somewhat differently.”

HOW HAD JOEY HELPED YOUR PLAYOFF EFFORT? “There’s always things you lean on and there are always things you wish would work out better, but it’s not over yet and I can tell you I wouldn’t have won Talladega without him, so that’s something to be proud of.”

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS SHELL FUEL FOR SUCCESS PROGRAM? “Shell and Call 811 were able to make a donation to Clark County School District here in Arizona, which is really neat. The Shell Fuel for Success what they do is they bring a lot of kids to the race track that don’t typically would have the opportunity to come to the race track and we bring them out here and get a chance to meet them and hopefully inspire them to do a lot of stem-type jobs and I think it’s fun to give them that experience they otherwise wouldn’t get to experience, so it’s fun to get to talk to them and answer some of their questions and show them what NASCAR racing is all about and to be able to give them a donation to a school means a lot.”

HOW WAS PRACTICE? “Our practice was OK. I think we were a top-10 car for sure. We want to be better than that. We want to win this thing, but I think we’re making some improvements to our race car and it’s showed the last few weeks and I think it’s showing again here. We have a fast enough race car and if we put ourselves in the right position we can win this thing.”

WILL IT BE A CRAZY RACE LIKE THE TRUCK RACE LAST NIGHT? “Would you expect anything less? I love being a part of that. It would be fun.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED — THE DONATION MUST FEEL GOOD. “Yeah. Just to be part of the whole organization with the Shell Fuel for Success and just to bring these kids out that wouldn’t typically get the opportunity to come to a race track and experience what we do here and hopefully you can inspire them some. I love getting to meet them and talk to them. They ask me a lot of questions like what NASCAR racing is all about. Some of them are fans and some of them don’t know anything about it, so it’s kind of fun to get their insight and what they think about it and answer some of their questions and give them a great experience to show them what this is all about and maybe introduce them to some stem-type jobs.”

HOW HAVE YOU HELPED BRAD IN THE PLAYOFFS? “As much as I can be. I help as much as I can. Obviously, as a driver on the race track we’re as courteous as we can be. We still have a job out there to do and we have to represent our sponsors and race team and go out there to win. But we will try new things and try different stuff to try to improve their cars to be able to try to give them a shot to win the championship. Overall, I feel like we’re doing everything we can do as a teammate, but there’s always the fine line. You can only do so much. I would love to see him get to it. He’s got a good points cushion and hopefully he’s able to maintain that through tomorrow and get to Miami and race for that championship.”

HOMESTEAD IS NEXT WEEK AND A LOT IS GOING ON — THE CHAMPIONSHIP. DALE JR’s LAST RACE. ANY MEMORIES YOU HAVE THERE THAT STAND OUT? “I’ve had a few. It’s cool just to say you raced with Dale Jr. He’s been the most popular driver in our sport for as long as I’ve been around, so it’s pretty neat to get to know him and see how he is as a person and learn from him on and off the race track. It’s been a lot of fun.”

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