Ford Performance NASCAR: Brad Keselowski Michigan Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Thursday, August 6, 2020

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, is coming off his third win of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season after taking the checkered flag Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He heads to his home state of Michigan for this weekend’s doubleheader still seeking his first series win at the two-mile track.

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS OF GETTING THE DEAL DONE? “The emotions are obviously very positive. It’s nice to be able to really focus on running for a championship in 2020 and not have to be worried about your job as much. Of course, you’re always worried about your job, but not over-the-top worried about your job as I think was becoming the case. And that, I think, hopefully will pay dividends as we make this run for a championship. I’m really hungry to win a second championship at the Cup level. I feel like we’ve been in this position a number of times and haven’t been able to bring it home. Hopefully this is the chance to do just that, so a lot of thoughts about that and the ability to focus on it and not have to worry about the extra curriculars, I think, is very valuable to us as we get to this final stretch.”

American Muscle

A LOT OF CHATTER THAT THE CHOOSE CONE COULD BE COMING AND A DIFFERENT WAY TO SETTING THE LINEUP. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS? “There are parts I really like about it. There are parts I don’t so much like about it. I really would like to get some reps on it and then take it from there. I was probably a little more hopeful that it would go to a lower series first and they could work the bugs out, but that’s okay. I don’t know what I don’t know and that’s what makes me most nervous.”

CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH MICHIGAN AND THE FEELINGS YOU HAVE ABOUT THAT PLACE? “It’s a love-hate relationship in a lot of ways because I really hated leaving there the last few times knowing how close we’ve been to winning and not being able to win. But obviously it’s a love relationship. I love going there and feeling like I’m back where I grew up. There’s a lot of nostalgia that comes up in doing that and seeing family members and friends, but I just want to win there so bad and I know we’ve been so close. I know it’s right there at the tip of my fingertips and I haven’t been able to reach it. Every time I go there I’m just hopeful that this is the time and this is the year, and I think there’s a good chance that might be this year, so we’ll see.”

YOU WANT TO BE GREAT. HOW HARD IS IT TO BE GREAT? “Great is tough to define in general. What’s the difference between good and great? I think you could probably poll 100 different people and get 100 different answers. I know what great means to me. I know that great means winning multiple races a year, it means dominating races, it means being in contention for a championship year over year over year and not just making the playoffs. In NASCAR, that means being in the final four. That means going to the final race with a chance to win the championship. There have been years we’ve done that. There’s been years we haven’t. I think that’s probably the final definition of great is your ability to consistently do that, at least in my eyes. There have been years we’ve done it and years we haven’t and I want to be more consistent in doing just that. Hopefully, we can do it. We can run all the way through the final four and win the championship. That’s what great means to me.”

HOW HARD IS IT TO DO THAT AMONG THE GREATS IN THE FIELD? “There are a lot of great drivers and a lot of great teams. I think that realistically you probably have eight great drivers and eight great teams right now in Cup I think it would be pretty fair to say and those guys are really tough. A number of things can factor in, whether it be luck or timing of when your season comes together that can propel you or, quite honestly, deter you. So our goal is to be propelled when it counts in this final stretch and we’re in that. We’re in the final 40 percent of the season and it’s our opportunity to strike.”

HOW BIG WOULD IT BE TO WIN THE HERITAGE TROPHY AT MIS FOR FORD THIS WEEKEND? “I don’t get to keep it. It goes to the manufacturer, but I would like to hold it and one day walk it over to the Ford factory for them to enjoy together. I don’t know where they keep it. I can’t remember if Edsel keeps it when Ford wins it, or if it stays at Ford Performance, but I know I would like to be a part of helping it get back to Ford. It was there last year when Harvick won it and no reason not to be able to bring it back. It’s a cool little trophy. It’s a good idea by the track to embrace its roots as the home of the Big Three, and I commend them for thinking that way.”

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THIS TYPE OF ZONE BEFORE? “I think I told somebody a few weeks ago that this is, in a lot of ways, the best year I’ve ever had and there are a number of metrics that you can look at to say something like that or to justify that kind of response. And average finish is one of the best, in my opinion, so the cars have been – knock on wood here – very reliable. That’s a big part of it. Other than Daytona, we’ve been able to avoid the wrecks. That’s a big part of it. Being in good places at the right time, having the speed to dictate where you’re at on the racetrack, so a lot of things are really clicking and I’m proud of that. We’ll see if we can keep that up. That’s one of those stats that I think defines great is average finish over the course of a season, and I think we’re at 8-point something and the best I’ve had before that was a 12-point something, so we’re not just a little better than my career average, we’re significantly better and that means a lot to me.”

BOB LEAVINE HAD TO PULL OUT OF THE SPORT. CAN YOU RELATE TO SOME OF THE EMOTIONS HE’S LIKELY GOING THROUGH? “Racing is tough. It’ll make you bitter. There ain’t no way around it. It’s competition in all forms. It’s competition from the driver level, the owner level, the crew chief level and it’s tough. There’s no way around it. I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about the ownership model being broken. I’m not so sure I believe that. Sometimes I think it is. Sometimes I think it isn’t. There’s a lot to be said for the very pure and true competitive and capitalist model that NASCAR team ownership has, so it’s got its positives and its negatives. I don’t enjoy seeing guys like Bob Leavine or anyone else for that matter leave the sport in ownership. I take no pleasure in their pain, but then on the other side I do recognize that in competition there must always be winners and losers, and maybe some people lose that don’t deserve to lose. That probably happens from time to time, but it’s part of the story of our sport is that there are winners and losers. We don’t have to like who the winner is and we certainly don’t have to wish for someone to lose. We might not like who it is that loses. I think in this case, Bob seemed like a really great gentleman who has brought a lot to this sport in a very short period of time, but it’s a tough sport. It really is, and this is part of that unfortunate cycle of life for our sport as well.”

HOW IS YOUR OWN MANUFACTURING COMPANY DOING DURING THE PANDEMIC? “So for really well. The early days of the pandemic were really not good would probably be the easiest way to put it. We went from having our best month ever to having zero work at all and zero revenues, which was a really scary time. What I’m seeing in the marketplace is a lot of companies are going back to work and they’re saying, ‘Hey, we have to get back to normal. There’s no choice.’ And as it stands today my company is doing the best that it’s ever done and has built a backlog of work that we’re very, very proud of that will serve a number of industries in different ways. I’m very excited about that. I’m very bullish about where the company is going and what it can do for certain companies. Unfortunately, a lot of the work we do is extremely proprietary and extremely confidential and/or classified, but it’s been an interesting period of time.”

DO YOU THINK THERE’S MORE AGGRESSION GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND WITH THIS BEING YOUR HOME TRACK? “The home track means a lot to me. There’s no doubt about that. Coming off winning in Loudon there’s a lot of confidence I have going there. The Team Penske cars were really strong last year. We probably deserved to run top five in both races. We ran out of gas in the second one last year, but the Michigan racetrack has been a lot of fun for me in the middle of the race. I like the different lanes that have opened up. I like the way they treated the track last year. I thought the racing was pretty good, but we’ll just have to play it by ear on what we can actually do. I know I’m gonna give it my all. I can’t control the result, but I can control the effort and I’m gonna give it my best effort.”

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