Ford Charlotte Keselowski Advance

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Sprint All-Star Race Advance (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
Friday, May 17, 2013

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday afternoon and discussed a variety of topics.  Below is a complete transcript.


American Muscle

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – YOUR THOUGHTS ON DICK TRICKLE.  “Dick Trickle is one of those guys that was a part of this sport in a number of ways and meant a lot to the local short track races, and kind of more the Midwest style of racing, which was track-by-track when NASCAR was more of a regional, southern sport before it had developed into the national platform it is now.  He was the superstar of that style, of that genre and era.  It’s very sad to see him go and, obviously, difficult with the way it went.”


WHERE DOES THIS PAINT SCHEME RANK AS FAR AS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITES?  “It’s right up there.   It means a lot to me to be able to do things that are kind of creative and fun, that embrace fans but don’t smother them in a sponsor message, and I think this is a great balance.  I think these are the type of things, in my mind, that this sport needs to be able to push forward with the business model it has and relying on sponsors, without being too much of a burden to our fans and just kind of showcasing all of the great sides that our sport has to offer.  It can be fun, it can be engaging, it can be creative.  You asked me how I see this sport moving forward and I can talk about it all the time or I can do it, and this is part of my commitment to doing it.”


IS THIS WEEKEND A PAYBACK RACE SINCE NO POINTS ARE ON THE LINE? “I think any weekend can be a payback.  It depends on how ornery the driver is, so I don’t know.  That’s more of a question for somebody who feels like they need to do it than it is for me.  I don’t feel like I owe anybody anything, so ask somebody else.”


SOME DON’T LIKE THE CONCEPT OF THE GUYS HAVING TO STAND ON PIT WALL AND WAIT FOR THE CAR TO STOP ON THE PIT STOP FOR ALL-STAR QUALIFYING.  “I haven’t talked to any of the over-the-wall guys to really get their opinion on what that feels like for them.  Obviously, the car will be stopped, so I guess that would be safer.  But I guess the hardest part will be enforcing the ‘don’t jump too soon’ rule and how they do that, so that will probably be the most interesting part.”


BIFFLE SAID HE MAY GO 100 MILES AN HOUR DOWN PIT ROAD FOR HIS STOP.  “Yeah, I was thinking about 102 for me.”


CAN YOU TALK AGAIN ABOUT THE PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND?  “The Miller Lite Fan Mosaic car it’s an opportunity to do something new and engaging for our fans and embraces the really cool aspects of both motorsports and social media and just gives them an experience that you really couldn’t get in any other sport.”

WHAT MAKES THE MILITARY PAINT SCHEMES WE’RE GOING TO SEE SO IMPORTANT?  “It’s kind of ironic because one of the things I feel we’re known for at Penske Racing is trying to keep the same paint scheme, and we make very few exceptions for that.  We made this one exception with trying to do something with the fans that’s unique and creative, and the other exception we make is for those holidays that celebrate our military, whether that’s Memorial Day or in some way Independence Day, and those paint schemes, I think, really show how strong this sport can be when we all pull together and support a cause.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHEN YOU DREAMED UP YOUR CHECKERED FLAG FOUNDATION?  “I think there were a lot of things that really collaborated into putting together my foundation, but one of the key experiences was with a friend who came back and was injured, and meeting him and kind of seeing his outlook on life and thinking about ways I could help him, and then how that turned into helping others.  That was really the driving force behind my foundation.”


TONY SUGGESTED FIGURE EIGHTS AS A POSSIBLE ALL-STAR FORMAT.  “Tony would say that.  Backwards Figure Eight or normal Figure Eight?  Let’s do them both at the same time.  I think there are always ways to make it better, and I think every year you see the commitment that Bruton and Marcus and the NASCAR family put in to changing it and trying to be just a little bit better.  I think we all kind of share that idea that it can always be better, and I’m open to any of those ideas.  That’s what makes the All-Star Race fun is at the end of the day if it’s a bad idea and it doesn’t work, we move on and do something different next year.”


HOW DID THINGS GO WITH KEVIN BUSKIRK LAST WEEK AND HOW DO YOU ANTICIPATE THINGS GOING FROM HERE ON OUT?  “I thought Kevin did a phenomenal job last week.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what he did.  The troubles that we had at Darlington, I honestly thought we were the car to win the race.  We didn’t qualify very well, but in the race I know we passed more than anybody else and drove up into the top five from being two laps down, and then got caught up in a wreck, so that’s just part of racing.  I thought Kevin did a great job and the things that got us in trouble were the loose wheel and the wreck and that certainly is none of his doing, but we had a great car, a fast car, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were able to win a race with Kevin.”


THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT RACES AT CMS.  WHICH ONE WOULD MEAN MORE TO YOU TO WIN?  “The 600 is really cool because it’s long, it’s an endurance race and that win counts toward the Chase.  But then the Sprint All-Star Race is just an opportunity to walk away and say you’re the best.  I think they both kind of have two different feels.  It’s hard for me to pick which one I like more.  In the short-term, you want to say the 600 because it takes some of that Chase tension off if you have race wins and you know you’re in good standing to make the cutoff, but in the long-term it would be nice to have my name on the All-Star win list, so I think they’re both really big races for our sport.”


BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED — WHAT’S IT LIKE BACK AT THE SHOP BECAUSE KEVIN IS SO UNDERSTATED?  “The unique thing about the situation is it’s a chance for a team to either divide or unite, and I think everyone on the 2 team feels so strongly that we were in the right with everything that went on at Texas that this has turned into a moment where, if anything, we’ve become stronger as a group and believe more in each other.  I think it’s an interesting chance for us probably to unite more than ever at Penske Racing.  I honestly think we’ll be a lot stronger because of it.”


CAN YOU CLARIFY YOUR TWITTER THOUGHTS ON THE NATIONWIDE SERIES ABOUT CUP DRIVERS DRIVING FOR CUP TEAMS?  “I feel like you look at the history of the Nationwide Series and I think the first race was won by either, was it Dale Earnhardt or Harry Gant?  One of the two?  But I think the series has changed over time in the sense that it used to be there were always Cup drivers in it, but now there are Cup owners and Cup drivers and I think between those two it has definitely changed that series.  I guess when we have races where a Cup driver and a Cup team dominate a race against a Nationwide regular and with a Nationwide only car owner, you can’t help but be a little bit confused by the situation.  I don’t think that’s healthy for our fans.  I feel like for the long-term benefit of the Nationwide Series that we need to find a way to either remove one of the two from the sport, or just not allow the two to be paired together.  Probably not allowing the two to be paired together is best for the long-term health of the sport.”


IS THAT AN OBSTACLE THAT WOULD KEEP YOUR ORGANIZATION FROM MOVING UP TO NATIONWIDE ONE DAY?  “Sure, absolutely.  That’s exactly why you’re seeing teams like Kevin Harvick’s, and I think you saw the same thing with Kyle’s team that didn’t make it.”


CAN YOU COMMENT AGAIN ON THE LOSS OF DICK TRICKLE?  “I think what Dick Trickle meant to Midwest short track racing and to the sport in his era, he was the guy.  He was the most significant racer in that era and his loss – in a way – it’s a symbol of the end of that era and that genre.  It’s very sad to see.”


SOME SAY DRIVERS LIVE ON ADRENALINE LIKE YOU GUYS DO AND SUCCESS AND IT’S HARD WHEN YOU GET OLDER.  IS IT TOUGH TO THINK ABOUT BEING WITHOUT ALL OF THAT?  “In a race car adrenaline is your enemy, so I try to stick away from it, but it definitely hits you.  I think it’s more of the competitive drive that, for me, is the toughest thing.  Whether it’s, I get doses of it during the off-season, which is a completely different than being retired, but it’s that competitive drive and knowledge that I have an opportunity next week to be a winner and that is what fuels you to get going.  I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it for a long time, but what drove me to be a racer more so than anything else is how it made me want to get out of bed and go to work.  It energized me and fueled my fire to be alive and to be a man.  I can’t imagine what it would be like without it.”


WHAT DO YOU THINK A DIRTY DRIVER IS IN NASCAR?  “It’s something different to everyone, isn’t it.  I don’t know.  I don’t really put a lot of thought into that.  It’s kind of hard to answer on the spot.  For me, I think everybody knows I’m strongly opposed to intentional wrecking and things like that.  That’s probably the only thing that really stands out in my mind.”


SO WITH WHAT HAPPENED WITH CARL AND YOUIN ATLANTA WHERE HE GOES IN THE GARAGE AND GETS HIS CAR FIXED AND COMES BACK OUT.  DOES THAT CONSTITUTE BEING DIRTY?  “Absolutely, yeah.  I feel that way, yes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m still thinking about it – no.”


DO YOU THINK KYLE IS?  “I don’t know what Kyle thinks about.  I’ve given up trying to understand him.”


WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE?  “Try to win all four segments and $2 million.  That’s my strategy.  I haven’t really thought about anything more than that.  There’s five?  Why do you all confuse me.  I’ll win all five then.  They need to post a board somewhere I can see it.  That’s good to know.  I’m already learning  Four 20’s and a 10, OK.  Win them all.  How about that?  That’s my strategy.”  IF YOU WON FOUR YOU WOULD HAVE COME UP SHORT.  “I’m glad you told me.”


SHOULD THERE BE A LIMIT ON HOW THE CREW CAN COMMUNICATE WITH A SUSPENDED CREW MEMBER AT THE RACE TRACK?  “I think what you’re trying to say is should you not be able to communicate at all.  Is that what you’re trying to say?  SHOULD THERE BE A LINE NASCAR NEEDS TO DRAW ON WHEN YOU CAN AND CAN’T TALK WITH A CREW MEMBER?  “That seems really hard to do.  I feel like no matter what the technology level is, there will never be something to supplement having that person next to you.  A driver-crew chief combination is a relationship no different than a marriage and whether you’re traveling on the road and using Skype or Facetime to talk to your loved ones, or using some other service, I think you know and most everyone knows that’s not the same as being right next to them.  And it’s no different for racing.”


I GUESS YOU COULD ARGUE A SUSPENSION FIVE YEARS AGO WAS MORE SEVERE BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY WASN’T AS GOOD AS IT IS NOW?  “Absolutely.  Yes, you could.”  IS THERE A WAY NASCAR NEEDS TO CATCH UP TO MAKE THE PENALTY MORE SEVERE?  “I think there are a lot of things in this sport that could catch up and haven’t, so I don’t know how you pick that one.”


WHAT DO YOU MISS WITH PAUL NOT BEING HERE?  “It’s the same as what do you miss with your family and loved ones when you’re gone.  There’s always something and it’s the things that you don’t know about are what you miss.  Whether it’s small little nuances or being able to look that person in the eyes at a moment when you didn’t even think you needed to communicate with them and know what the other person is thinking.  Those are the things you miss out on.  You’ll never be able to replace that with any technology.”



UNLESS TECHNOLOGY GOES DOWN, THEN IT COULD BE A MESS.  “At the end of the day, the way we run a race we would have been OK.”


SOME SPECULATED PAUL MADE THE CALL TO TAKE THE DRIVE AROUND BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T SURE KEVIN WOULD HAVE BEEN WILLING TO TAKE THAT RISK.  “Well, I would have and I’m driving the car and I’m holding the wheel, so I make the final decision.”

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