SRT Motorsports — Dodge Brad Keselowski Open Interview – Bristol

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dodge PR

Bristol Motor Speedway

American Muscle

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Brad Keselowski Open Interview

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) YOU ARE IN A GREAT MOOD NOW, THE SEASON IS GOING WELL.  SOME DRIVERS ARE NOT SO FORTUNATE.  IS THERE A DIRECT RELATION BETWEEN A DRIVER’S MOOD AND HIS FORTUNES ON THE TRACK?  “Yeah, I think so.  Your performance on the track makes a huge difference in how you feel about your life, that’s for damn sure as a race car driver.  And we’ve been kind of up and down.  We’re very happy with the speed we’ve shown throughout 2012.  We could be slightly more competitive.  I don’t think that we’ve shown the speed that the Roush cars have shown, but we’ve shown pretty good speed and been in position for solid finishes.  Made a little mistake at Daytona and then, obviously, had problems last week at Las Vegas.  We sandwiched that with a great run at Phoenix that I was really proud of, so being fast here today certainly helps any driver’s mood.  I think that coming back to Bristol, a track that we were fortunate enough to win at in the fall, there’s a very high level of confidence on my team specifically.”

HAS YOUR SEASON GONE WELL?  “I would say that it’s right in the middle.  I wouldn’t call it a great start or a bad start; I’d call it right in the middle.”

THE FINISHES AREN’T WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE WANTED.  IS BRISTOL A PLACE WHERE YOU NEED TO MAKE A STAND?  “No (laughs).  Hell, we didn’t make a run at it last year until Indy.  The only thing I can really say that’s important right now are wins, which is great, ‘cause the emphasis is supposed to be on winning, right?  But right now, the important things to the season are wins.  Two wins gives you an immunity factor that can carry you through the rest of the summer. I’m not going to come to Bristol and say that anything less than a win is terrible.  I think we’ve got a great shot at it, as good a shot as anybody if not better, so I’m not going to box myself into that.  And I don’t think in general there’s any team boxed into anything.  That’s the great part about the wild card system and I think it was one of the best moves that the sport has ever made.  I think it puts more emphasis on every race, but doesn’t create an early season, middle season importance.  I feel like we’re in okay shape.  Certainly we’d like to be leading the points with three wins (smiles), but what we’ve done to have performance, we’ll get wins if we continue down this path and then we’ll reach that immunity status that I talked about earlier.”

YOU HAVE BEEN TO MICHIGAN FOOTBALL PRACTICE.  HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE TERM TEAM IN NASCAR AND HOW IT ALL FUNCTIONS TO HOW IT MIGHT FUNCTION IN OTHER SPORTS?  “Well, I think it’s very important.  To this day, I’m baffled by the fact that in NASCAR racing the team gets so little credit.  It just baffles me.  I don’t get it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever understand that because this is a team sport.  I’ll talk to Mr. (Roger) Penske about it and tell ‘em that pit crews are like special teams.  I’ll go through all that kind of stuff with him and you can try to make all those analogies all you want, but at the end of the day if there is one part of your race team that doesn’t hit it, you don’t win, you don’t run well.  Last week was a perfect example. We were running second and there was one part on the car that broke and we finished 30-something.  I don’t know how to explain it ‘cause all people want to do is think that I was the part that broke; how is that part of the team.  Well, that is part of the team.  It’s part of the execution of the weekend and I’m not trying to rag on my guys, that’s not my intent, but that’s how it all works ‘cause at the end of the day, there’s not a robot factory back home building these cars. They’re not IROC cars.  There are real people back home building these cars, making decisions that can affect the outcome for good or bad. And then there are real people here at the track that tune on ‘em and turn the screws left and right and trying to get that all coordinated.  It is a huge responsibility.  Like I said, it baffles me to this day, probably baffled me throughout my career, much like why there isn’t another Bristol and a whole bunch more mile-and-a-halfs.  I don’t know, but that’s just the way that it is.”

A.J. ALLMENDINGER SAID PARKER KLIGERMAN WENT TO NASHVILLE AND RAN MILES AND MILES TO FIX THE FUEL PICKUP PROBLEMS.  ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT YOU GUYS HAVE SOLVED THAT?  SOME TEAMS HAVE HAD FUEL PUMP ISSUES HERE IN THE PAST.  DOES THAT CONCERN YOU?  “Well, I’ll be confident if we get to lap 500 and doesn’t break.  I’m a show-me guy.  I guess I haven’t been shown yet, so it doesn’t matter what was done,   I’d want to see it on the racetrack ‘cause that’s what we race.  We don’t race Nashville (laughs).  It’s hard for me to say confident.  I certainly appreciate Parker’s work.  I’m concerned because of last week, not because of this track or its history.  Certainly you should be concerned if you broke something last week that it’ll break again the next week.  I think that’s just common sense, I guess.  I’m hopeful that we have the right team of people working on it to overcome that.”

YOU’RE NOW WITH A TEAM IN A STRANGE SITUATION.  YOU’RE RUNNING WITH DODGE AND PENSKE ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS YEAR THEY ARE SWITCHING TO FORD.  WERE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW CHARGER?  “No I was not.  I did get to see early renderings, but I wouldn’t say that I was involved.  I was a bystander.  I think it’s a beautiful car.  I think it’s really important for the sport that Dodge stays involved, but obviously we won’t have a part of the 2013 Charger and how it runs.”

JEFF GORDON APPLAUDED THE CHANGES TO PIT ROAD THAT WERE MADE.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  “I think you have the balancing act for sure, a line to walk, between having a tool or resource available to drivers and teams where talent makes a difference. Pit road is one of those areas.  It’s very hard to pass on the racetrack and that particular, I don’t want to say system but that technique is part of the talent that it takes to perform well here at Bristol and more than Bristol, there are other tracks.  So in that manner I hate to see it go away, but I think more importantly, what is lost is not the fair or unfair question.  What’s lost in all this is there’s people out there walking on pit road, working on pit road, that are putting their life on the line if something goes wrong.  And the faster you’re going, the more their life is put on the line if something goes wrong.  I think Daytona is a perfect example of that with the jet dryer guy and so forth.  Those guys put their life on the line too and in retrospect, from that standpoint, I very much respect the decision to add more timing lines to protect those guys.  Fair versus unfair, I really don’t give a damn, but safe or unsafe for a group of guys that have their life on the line, you know, feet out, heads down working, and if they take a car to the side, it’s not going to be good thing to see. So I think you look at how the sport has evolved on pit road from where it was in the late 80s and I think most of us know what happened back then to make the pit road speed rule where it’s at now.  It’s very important that we continue to keep those guys safe.”

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