Ford Performance NASCAR: Brad Keselowski Kansas Playoff Media Availability Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2020
KANSAS MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, comes into Sunday’s Round of 8 opener as the third seed. He was part of a NASCAR Zoom call earlier today and discussed the playoffs, along with other topics with members of the media.

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — TWO OF THE LAST FOUR YEARS THE DRIVER THAT WON THE FIRST RACE IN THE ROUND OF 8 WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. IS THAT A COINCIDENCE OR AN ADVANTAGE TO WIN THE FIRST RACE OF THAT ROUND? “I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence. I think it’s a big advantage to win the first race in this semi-final round of the playoffs, but with respect to that it gives you a lot of time to prepare for the final race and I think that’s never a bad thing. Whether that’s allowing your team to kind of relax a little bit and focus on one car rather than three other cars to build, or engineering. There’s a whole list of things. I do think it gives you a lot of opportunities without getting into any specifics of how we handle it at Team Penske, so, yes, it’s a very big deal, absolutely.”


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DOES THE PRESSURE AMP UP MORE IN THIS ROUND? “Each round has its own challenges. I always struggle to weigh them out against each other because if I looked at the last round, the tracks were certainly less easy to predict, where this round the tracks should be a lot more straightforward, and because of that, in some ways, it’s less stressful because you feel like you can control more of your own destiny. You can never control all of it, but more of it. That said, there are some really good teams, really good performers and the other side I guess if you’re playing Devil’s advocate thinks to himself, ‘Hey, I’m really gonna have to step up and deliver in this round because nothing by chance is gonna work in my favor.’ So the rounds certainly have different feels to them, but I struggle to quantify if they feel easier or harder. I just feel like they all have their own challenges.”

ARE SIX OF YOU GOING FOR TWO SPOTS? “It feels that way. Yeah, it feels that way. Denny is not completely out of my reach. I think he’s 19 points or something in front of me. I don’t have the math right in front of me, so I think I’ve got a shot at legitimately racing him on points, but probably the others don’t. With respect to that, I think Kevin’s a pretty good ways away from everybody.”

YOU ARE 13 POINTS ABOVE THE CUT LINE. WHAT DOES THAT SAY TO YOU? “Probably two stages. It’s like a two-stage cushion, so if I don’t score any stage points at Kansas, that’s pretty much we use up those 13 points. But I know 13 up is better than 13 down, so I’m not complaining.”

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR YOU OF KANSAS? “I think being able to run really close to the wall without hitting it. It’s gonna be so important there. You’ve got to be able to run right up against it, but you can’t hit it. We’re gonna push really hard to do that.”

DO YOU FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT WITH KANSAS? “It’s been a good track for us. Last fall was not a good race for us, but the past two spring races have been very strong. Hopefully, we can repeat those performances.”

HOW DO YOU AVOID WHAT HAPPENED LAST FALL AT KANSAS? “There’s no easy answer to that. You just hope you have enough performance and you work as hard as you can to find it. There are ebbs and flows to that and hopefully we step up when the moment comes this weekend.”

TEXAS WILL HAVE A DIFFERENT RIGHT SIDE TIRE. WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION TO HOW THAT RACE AND STRATEGY THERE CHANGES? “It’s a different tire for this weekend, too, if I remember right. Tires make a big difference. It dramatically changes the way the cars drive. The tire we started the year out on has been changed for the playoffs. You could argue that’s good or bad. It probably depends on who you are. The tire that we ran last year seemed like it was more about how you get through traffic. The tire we run this year seems to be more about how the car handles and getting that balance right. Now we’re going back to the tire, pretty much the same tire we had last year so it’s more about how you get through traffic. So there is definitely a change, but there are different strengths and weaknesses for different teams, so I can’t say that I have a great answer as to how that will fall out for us, but it makes a huge difference for sure.”

IS THERE ONE DRIVER POISED TO HAVE A BIG ROUND AND MAKE A STATEMENT BESIDE THE TOP FOUR IN THE STANDINGS? “No, I think there are three or four drivers competing for the final two spots. We’re all very similar. It’s probably gonna come down to the wire at Martinsville.”

DO YOU THINK BRAD KESELOWSKI RACING WILL COME BACK TO RUN A CUP SERIES TEAM? “I certainly never say never. If all the stars aligned, I would certainly entertain it, but, right now, I’ve got a pretty good deal and gonna try to make the most of it.”

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO AUSTIN CINDRIC RIGHT NOW? “The biggest advice I can give him is I think he’s 20 right now, maybe 21. When I was in his spot in the sport there was a part of me that thought this was gonna last forever. It doesn’t. The biggest advice I can give anyone like him is soak it up. It’s probably the one and only time in your life that you’ll have a chance to run for your first NASCAR championship and it’s a unique feeling, it’s a special feeling. It’s a little bit like going to the Senior Prom. You only get one shot at a first championship, or at least your first effort at it, and there are some things that probably aren’t gonna go your way and hopefully there are some things that do, but you only get to do it once, so enjoy the ride. As far as the technical stuff, he’s got that. He doesn’t need any help from me.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CHASE BRISCOE’S RISE THROUGH THE RANKS? “First off, Chase is the real deal in every sense of the word. If he gets in a good car, he’s gonna come to Cup and he’s gonna do really, really well. There’s been a lot of rookies that have come in in the last five or 10 years that I think a lot of people have thought that of, and I maybe didn’t necessarily think that of. I’m pretty confidence Chase is gonna make a big mark in Cup over his career.”


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