Ford Performance NASCAR: Kansas 2 (Brad Keselowski Media Availability)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, October 18, 2019
Hollywood Casino 400 | MEDIA AVAILABILITY

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — YOU STARTED THE SEASON WITH THREE WINS IN THE FIRST 11 RACES WITH THE LAST ONE COMING HERE IN MAY. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU CAN GET A WIN HERE THIS WEEKEND? “I would like to think that we are saving the best for last. We didn’t have the summer that we would like to have but I feel like the last few years we have had incredible summers but not good spring or fall. Hopefully that bodes well for this fall. We are happy to be coming back here. Anytime you come back to a track you won at it gives you a lot of confidence. We won this race in the spring and won Martinsville in the spring as well and they are back-to-back races. We are coming into these two races feeling pretty good.”

DID YOU GET TO THE BOTTOM OF WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS WHEN YOU COULDN’T RESTART THE CAR AT TALLADEGA? “No, I never heard. We didn’t have any fuel pressure which was kind of surprising. Thankfully, that could have been a lot worse but we were able to get back to pit road and get going and it didn’t really hurt us that much. We were in a good spot at the end of the race.”

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ANY CONCERN ABOUT THIS RASH OF THINGS HAPPENING WITH THE PENSKE CARS RECENTLY? “It was a separate issue from what my teammates had. THose things happen and it is strange when they do because you would think you would find them over the course of the season or seasons because they are the same parts and pieces. For them to just pop up and nobody knows why is really weird and strange and goes against all of our teachings. It is part of the reason why I think you get so much anxiety with this format because I kind of think of it like a bit of a house payment. You want to feel like the season is long enough that you can stretch those things all out and they average out but with the playoffs they don’t. You just hope those things happen in the better times, which is not always the case. I feel like the last few playoffs since we have had this format I have had a lot of those types of failures at inopportune times. In the years where we haven’t, we have been able to go to Homestead or go deep in the playoffs. Hopefully that doesn’t happen for any of the Penske cars the next few weeks.”

DO YOU FEEL THE PRESSURE INCREASES WITH EACH ROUND? AS CLOSE AS YOU ARE TO THE CUT-OFF, DOES THE ANXIETY YOU MENTIONED INCREASE IN THE NEXT ROUND? “I think you look at Martinsville and that is such a big race to win. Joey won it last year. I feel like when you can win that race you get three weeks to prepare for Miami where everyone else gets one or two. It is a huge race to win. Certainly you get to Phoenix and Texas and to your point the pressure is a little different. It is kind of like it is the last chance. There is a lot of pressure to go out and win Martinsville.”

YOU WON HERE IN THE SPRING AT NIGHT WHEN IT WAS COOLER. DOES THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU GUYS SET THINGS UP HANDLING WISE FOR SUNDAY? “I think it is interesting the day versus night time races. There was a good point in time where I felt like with the rules package and the low downforce and things that the racing was better during the day because the car slid around more and did all of those things that made for multi-grooves. Now it is almost the opposite. I feel like the racing with the 2019 rules is better at night when the track has a lot of mechanical grip because you can draft and you can run close to wide open and use the different lanes in the corners. In the spring the track really came to us at night when it gained a lot of grip and we were able to draft and then run multiple lanes through the corners. Certainly it is going to be a different race. Time will tell what we have but we will do the best with what we’ve got.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — IS THIS A PLACE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE CONTINUE TO HAVE TWO RACES A YEAR? “I hadn’t thought that much about this track specifically. I know there are some agreements with respect to the casino that have some ramifications on that and I don’t know all the details to it. I know I do enjoy seeing the things here. I have seen this community transform. I was here the first year the track was built and you came down the freeway and there was a race track. The next year you came down the freeway and there was the Great Wolf Lodge. Every year there has been something else, the soccer stadium and the shopping mall. Kansas is the clearest track to indicate to a community of what NASCAR can do for them. I think you look at racetracks that are able to have such a positive impact on the community and you tend to think of them in a very positive light, at least I do. I can’t think of a race track of recent memory that has transformed such a small area in such a quick time in such a large way. WIth that in mind, it certainly seems to lend itself to making this a valuable date to the sport.”

DO YOU REALLY LOOK AT THE SPRING WIN HERE AS A MAJOR SOURCE OF CONFIDENCE OR IS THIS A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME? “There is no doubt the cars have developed a lot since then but the driving tactics have not and I felt really good about some of the tactics we were able to use here and feel like that will apply. It is hard to tell. I will know a lot better after practice and see how the car is handling.”

HOW DIFFERENT IS IT GOING TO BE DRIVING THIS RACE TRACK COMPARED TO THE SPRING? “I think the cars have developed a lot where they have found ways to maximize the aero on them. All the teams spend a lot of time in the wind tunnel making all kinds of tweaks and finding all kinds of efficiencies. With that in mind they have increased the performance in the cars dramatically. I expect it to play out at least somewhat differently, it is just what kind of scope. It is hard to tell. I would expect the cars to qualify a lot faster.”

THE YELLOW LINE WAS A TOPIC LAST WEEKEND AND HERE ON RESTARTS GUYS WILL DIVE TO THE APRON AND COME BACK IN TURN ONE TO MAKE PASSES. IS THAT PROOF THAT THE YELLOW LINE RULE COULD BE EVALUATED? “It is interesting because at this race track you have the white line but it is three or four lanes underneath that. For a long time when they made the yellow line rule at Talladega, at least as my memory serves, it was pretty close to the grass. If you went under the line you were almost in the grass. Now that they have paved Talladega and these places it seems as though it is a little easier to get away with. I kind of like coming here and not having to worry about all that and that there has never been any thought to adding a rule like that here. As for Daytona and Talladega, I have always been the ‘let ‘em race’ kind of guy. They don’t really ask me what I think about those things though. They will make the rules and I will try to beat ‘em.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — WITH KANSAS ONE OF THOSE TRACKS WITH LOTS OF DIFFERENT RACING LINES AND ONLY TWO SHORT PRACTICES, IS THERE A BALANCE OF SPEED IN LANES? “To win the race on Sunday you are going to have to be able to be good in all the lanes. When you catch lap traffic and get in dirty air, you are going to lose so much speed that if you can’t find another lane to run in you will get passed by someone behind you. You need to be good in all the lanes and we were able to do that here in the spring. It is hard to do because the cars drive differently in all the lanes. The cars have really big splitters on them and they are very sensitive to how high off the ground they are. One of the biggest things that impacts them is the load off the corners. When you run different lanes the aerodynamics change dramatically and the handling changes. You can have a car that is really loose on the bottom of the track and maybe be really tight on the top of the track. As a driver it is hard to prepare for that. It feels more and more like dirt racing where you have some guys that run the cushion and some that run the bottom and you have to be good enough to do both. I see that becoming more and more prevalent over the last few years. It is a challenge for sure but I think it is what separates the winners from everybody else.”

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