Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – Brad Keselowski Open Interview – Dover

Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

Brad Keselowski Open Interview

Dodge Motorsports PR


American Muscle

Dover International Speedway

AAA 400

Brad Keselowski Open Interview

www.media.chrysler.com

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

DO YOU THINK THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON IS OUT OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP OR IS IT JUST FAN CHATTER? “No, I don’t think that Jimmie (Johnson) is out of it by any means. He certainly can’t have any more bad races. I don’t think that you can have more than one race out of the top 10 and win this thing. We’ll just have to see.”

SO YOU THINK THAT HE’S OUT OF MULLIGANS? “I don’t know. Everybody says mulligan, but mulligan means different things to different people. I think that if you have a race from 20th to 43rd, yeah, that’s a mulligan. You can probably have one or two races in that 10th to 20th range. He’s obviously done that. That doesn’t mean that he can’t still win it; that team is pretty good.”

SO DO YOU THINK THAT JIMMIE IS STILL IN IT? “I don’t think that he’s out of it. I don’t think that it looks all that good. I think that we read too much into what position he’s in and not how many races are left and how far back he is. He’s really not that far back.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TONY (STEWART) THROUGH THE FIRST TWO CHASE RACES? “It doesn’t surprise me at all that he’s won two races here to start it out. I think that if you look at last year, he started out really well at Loudon and didn’t get a good finish out of it. Obviously, he finished second at Loudon the first time that we were there. Chicago, Kansas, those tracks are some of his best; I’m not surprised by that. I’m more curious to see how he runs this week and places like Martinsville where, in the spring, he didn’t look all that good. I think that will be a true test for his team. I think that every team has tracks coming up that are going to be tough on them. I think that when looking at our team, we’ve had that moment. Loudon, for me, was one of our toughest tracks and we got through it unscathed. That’s what this is going to be about. It’s going to be about going to the tracks where you know as a team that you’re not going to be the best and get a good run out of it.”

WHAT’S THE KEY IN TAKING A BAD CAR AND MAKING IT GOOD DURING THE RACE? “Sometimes, I know the answer to that, sometimes I don’t. For us, the key is not losing our cool. Obviously, you have to have really smart people who figure it out. It’s very difficult. It seems like that’s the difference in our team; at start of the year, we weren’t able to figure it out. At this point, we are. I just think that it’s people working together, the chemistry that you build throughout the year and whether you’re able to have that or not. We have that.”

HOW MUCH OF IT IS WHAT’S WORKED IN THE PAST IS WORKING NOW? “There is certainly some good fortune for us last week and we finished second. In reality, we were probably a fourth- or fifth-place car. If you can run fourth or fifth, you’re going to catch some breaks, maybe win a race. You’re definitely going to be one of the top-two finishers. We’ve done a good job putting ourselves in that position and there is some good fortune that comes with that. There’s also a lot of hard work. I’m still proud of those finishes.”

IS THIS TRACK A WILD CARD JUST LIKE TALLADEGA? “I think as the circuit has evolved, Dover has become one of those tracks, one of the last true tests of man and machine. It’s a track that takes guts to drive it down in the corner here. It’s really fast. High banked. Bristol had some of those same qualities. The things that you build into you car to make it work are very similar.”

WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE CHASE NOW AS COMPARED TO BEFORE? HAS YOU IMPRESSION CHANGED? “No, not really. I feel the same way now about it as I did before. I just feel like we belong (in the Chase) as a team.”

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF YOUR FIRST TRUCK START IN 2004? “I was thinking about my first time here in a Truck. I think about coming to Dover in my first truck start and my dad told me, ‘Alright, go out there and just run it half-throttle. This place is tough and I don’t want you to hit the wall.’ I remember those things. Now, you come here in Cup practice knowing that your first lap in Cup practice is going to be your fastest lap of the weekend and it’s going to be a qualifying run. You have to drive (it) down in there and commit to it and do all those things. I think about that a lot. I think about how far we’ve come.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO FLY THE AMERICAN FLAG OUTSIDE YOUR CAR AFTER YOU WIN A RACE? “When I think of this sport, I think of a sport of decadence. We’re not really producing anything but entertainment. I think of the people that make it possible for us to live this life and to do the things that we do. One of the first things that come to mind is the different causes, whether it’s the military and so forth. It’s more of a reflection as a whole of that and the rights that we have in this country to do things that are decadent. “

HOW MUCH IS FUEL MILEAGE ON YOU MIND HERE AT DOVER? “I don’t think that this will be a fuel mileage race at all. The tire fall off here, looking at our records, is over a second. With that kind of fall off I don’t think that it will apply.”

WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF KANSAS NEXT WEEKEND? “I think it’s the seams. They heat up, get slick and makes it hard on us.”

ARE YOU HAVING FUN RIGHT NOW OR ARE YOU JUST TOO FOCUSED ON WHAT’S GOING ON? I’m having fun, not because I’m in the Chase; I’m having fun because of fast race cars and a team that is putting it all together. We all believe in each other. I just really like the group of people that I’m around.”

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO RELAX DURING THE WEEK? “A lot of sleep; as much as I can get. I do some things to have some fun, like having a group over and cooking out at my house. I’m not going to fly out to Tahiti or those things. I’m trying to keep it….just be me. I’m just trying to live a normal life, a normal live to me at least.”

YOU’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT? EATING DIFFERENT? TAKING BETTER CARE OF YOURSELF? “Nope! Nope! Not changing a thing. I like the path that we’re down and we’re going to keep doing it.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR DETROIT TIGERS? “They better hope (Justin) Verlander can pitch every game. He’s going to have a sore arm.”

CAN THE TIGERS BEAT THE YANKEES? “Oh yeah. Absolutely.”

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF YOU WERE ABLE TO COUNT YOUR BONUS POINTS, YOU’D BE LEADING THE CHASE POINTS RIGHT NOW? “Yeah, I get reminded of that quite often and I try not to think about it. I’m sure that’s a stat that I’ll get reminded of even more if we keep running like we are. There’s nothing that you can do about it, so it doesn’t do much service to dwell on it.”

TONY STEWART MENTIONED ‘LOSING DEAD WEIGHT’ LAST WEEK. WERE YOU CURIOUS AT ALL? “No. I really don’t know Tony all that well, so it’s hard for me to really comment on what he was talking about.”

IS THAT JUST A MENTAL ASPECT OF RACING? “I think that’s the whole year, not just the Chase. You’ve got to continue to limit your distractions to perform at a high level, any of your dead weight, no matter what it is. I don’t know what he meant by it. Obviously, it’s doing something for him.”

YOU SAID COMING INTO THE CHASE THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE ANY PRESSURE. HAS IT CHANGED NOW? “I feel like if we get towards the end of this deal and we’re in position to win it, obviously the pressure will amp up. We’re still fairly early.”

IS EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO FROM HERE ON IN GRAVY? “Absolutely. Right now, I have expectation of our team to run like we have. If something bad happens, it’s not going to be a disappointment. It’s not going to be a disappointment from an expectation standpoint if it’s out of our control. The only way that I’ll be disappointed is if we make a mistake that’s within our control, that’s uncharacteristic of us. I feel fortunate to be where we’re at and I know that at any time, that can be taken away from you. If we just keep doing what we’re doing, we won’t have to worry about any of those things.”

DOES IT GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE? “I think there is something to be said for it. There’s something to be said for a team that just comes in, does their work and doesn’t think about it and doesn’t have to worry about it. I’m just glad to be a part of one of those teams.”

TWO RACES INTO THE CHASE, ARE YOU FINDING THE GUYS RACING YOU HARDER? “I really don’t see any difference. Everybody is racing hard and that’s good. It’s good for the sport.”

DENNY HAMLIN COMMENTED ON YOUR STYLE OF RACING THIS WEEK…COMPARING 2009 TO THIS SEASON? “There are certainly things that you do to progress and I think the best drivers in the sport progress every week. You learn something every week. I don’t think that I’m the same driver now that I was last week. I don’t know that I’m 100 percent different than I was in 2009 or 2010. There are certainly things that I look back on, when I watch a tape from those years, and say I’m doing that different or doing that better. I don’t’ know if I’d say that much. I think a lot of it has to do with when your cars are better; you look a whole lot smarter. You’re able to hedge your bets a little bit better, take lower-risk moves and still be successful.”

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN TRYING TO PROVE YOURSELF A COUPLE YEARS AGO VERSUS NOW? “There might be. That might be a question that I answer five years from now and say, ‘I should have done this a little differently or that a little different. I really haven’t thought about it that much. I think about doing all the same things that we’ve been doing and not changing a thing.”


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