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Jun 29, 2014 - 06:29 AM
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2014 Kentucky: Brad Keselowski NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference
Posted by: ASkyler on Jun 29, 2014 - 06:25 AM
2014 Kentucky: Brad Keselowski NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference

BRAD KESELOWSKI - "What a really fast car. It just kind of came together for us, really across the weekend from qualifying to race practice and then in the race. It looked like they were gonna come unraveled at the end there with that yellow right in the middle of the pit sequence, which was really scary. That’s part of the deal and it came down to me starting sixth there with 51 or 52 to go. I knew it was gonna be a dogfight to get back to Kyle and race him, but we got there with a really fast car and got a perfect run on him with traffic and the next thing I knew we were there, so it feels really good, obviously, to get that second win. I think we’ve been so close and we kind of hadn’t put it together there at the end. Richmond comes to mind. Texas comes to mind and then Pocono. We kind of had some heartbreakers there and you start to wonder in your head, ‘Is this ever gonna work out,’ but I think it showcases the strength of our team. We’ve got a really good stretch run going here over the summer, so it’s very exciting for me and very rewarding. I feel like we’re in such a strong spot, so a lot of momentum and this was really a big night for us in so many ways."

PAUL WOLFE, Crew Chief - "It always makes the weekend a little bit easier when you unload and you have speed in your race car. That’s the first thing we look for is to have speed and we showed we had that from the first lap on the track and worked through a lot of things in practice and continued to show speed in both sessions and we carried that over to qualifying. Sometimes when you’re that good in practice you question how much you need to change for the race and if you’re making the right calls there to be good in the race. Obviously tonight we were able to put all that together. As hard as we work every week to try to have performances like we did tonight, at times they’re few and far between but we’ll continue to work hard to put together cars like this every weekend. This is the type of performance we’re gonna need to be able to compete for another championship, so I’m proud of all the work that’s gone on so far about halfway through the season now, and with the new rules package, I feel like Team Penske has done a great job at responding to the rules changes, but there is still a lot to be learned and gained with this package, so it’s important for us to continue to work hard and keep building off this momentum as we get ready to run for the championship."


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BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - YOU SAID THIS FEELS LIKE CHAMPIONSHIP FORM AGAIN. WHAT ABOUT KENTUCKY MAKES YOU FEEL THIS IS THE VAULTING POINT? "I think there are a lot of mile-and-a-halves in the Chase. Chicago, Texas, Kansas, Charlotte and then obviously the final race at Homestead. I’m sure there is somewhere else, but a lot of mile-and-a-half tracks and this is kind of one that fits all between them. It doesn’t have the banking of Charlotte, but it’s a little bit rough and Charlotte is a little bit rough. It doesn’t have the smooth surface of Kansas, but it has a very similar layout. The things it takes to go fast here aren’t too far off from those other tracks and I think when you hit this mark in the season some cars might show a little bit more development but not a lot. I think you pretty much get to where everyone has almost what they’re gonna have to finish out the year around this time. And when you can run well at this point in time in the year, it bodes well for the final half of the season. Certainly we’re not content. We had a great night tonight, led a lot of laps and won the race, but the reality is Hendrick cars had won three or four of the last five, I think, and they’re gonna continue to be the cars to beat, so we have to keep pushing as well. This is certainly a good night and harkens back some memories of 2012, which I’m very fond of. Last year was a very humbling year for us, so I think I probably appreciate it even more, appreciate the opportunity to have races like this and opportunities to run for a championship.’

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - WHAT WAS YOUR ATTITUDE WHEN YOU LOST POSITIONS ON PIT ROAD? "That’s not fun, but I think those are internal discussions that we have to have to get better. It doesn’t really help out talking about that here, but I’m proud that we had the car we had and I still feel like we’ve made progress on pit road from where we’ve been in years past, and even races past, but we still have work to do."

PAUL WOLFE CONTINUED - "To touch on what Brad said there, I think we look at our program as a whole and look at areas where we can be stronger, where we need to improve, whether it’s with our aero department or our chassis or the guys working on the cars - the pit crews - we look at it all and to be able to win another championship we’ll have to be very good in all those areas and we’ll continue to evaluate and do what we need to do to build to be good in all those areas."

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - WHAT WAS MORE TREACHEROUS THE FRONTSTRETCH BUMPS OR VICTORY LANE? "The frontstretch bumps are a concussion and victory lane is bleeding of the hand. I guess I don’t have enough to lose upstairs to worry about the first one, so the champagne. I should have stuck with beer. (laughter)"

YOU TALKED A LOT ABOUT WINNING A SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP. "I don’t know, I turned 30 and I’m going through a bit of a mid-life crisis (laughing). I want to win another championship. I just don’t want to win one. I think I have the team to do it with Paul and the guys. I have the owner to do it with Roger Penske, and the urgency is now. I don’t want to win one championship and that be it for my career. I’m not gonna be happy with that, and I want to win another championship but I don’t want it to be five or 10 years from now. I don’t want to be a guy that contends for a championship every three or four years, I want to do it each and every year and I know that opportunity is here and it’s present and I want to make the most of it. I’m not afraid to communicate that. I think when it comes to goals, when it comes to dreams and visions, you have to share them if you want them to become a reality. I think my team has that same goal and that same vision, but I think we want to stay on that same page and I want them to know that I care and that I’m focused on it."

ARE YOU SURPRISED MORE PEOPLE HAVEN’T CAUGHT UP TO YOU AT THIS POINT IN TIME - THE RACE AND QUALIFYING. "I don’t really know the reason for that - the qualifying part, I haven’t really focused on that personally. I don’t know, maybe you have, Paul. That one I’m not really sure how to give a good answer on that, but the racing stuff this point in the year I think a lot of guys will work on their cars and come up with something. A few months from now, usually around Charlotte, everybody kind of brings out their next wave of cars, but usually from there everything kind of hits a standstill and just trying to finish out the year, whether that’s financially or just because the summer stretch is so tough you dedicate all your resources to just getting to the track and executing. It’s hard to develop, so I’m not really sure how to answer that question. Like I said, I don’t feel like we’re the dominant cars. We were tonight and I feel like we’re good cars with a really good team, but we have to keep pushing because, like I said, the Hendrick cars won three or four of the last five. You know the stat better than I do, but it’s something like that and that’s what it’s gonna take to win the championship, you’re gonna have to get on a streak in those 10 races and that’s where we need to be, so that’s where I want to push."

PAUL WOLFE CONTINUED - "I think any time there’s a new rules change you’ll see maybe certain teams that kind of stand out until guys get caught up, and, yeah, it seems like maybe there’s a little more separation in the field right now, but I think over time that will continue to close up. I think that’s kind of been the trend over the years any time there are big rules changes. As far as qualifying, it’s interesting I’ve gotten this question before, and I can’t say our approach to the whole qualifying if much different than what we’ve done in the past. I don’t feel like there are any tricks or things that we’re doing. I think we continue to try to have fast race cars and communicate well between sessions. I think that’s the biggest thing and understanding how we need to tune on our race cars from one to the other, but I don’t think there’s any magic there."

HOW MUCH LESS STRESSFUL DOES A DRIVER LIKE BRAD MAKE YOUR JOB? "Less stressful, yeah. I think it’s just the opposite (laughing). When you know you have the tools and the resources and then you have a driver the caliber of Brad, I think it just puts more pressure on you knowing that you have to perform well, so to say that it’s less pressure, I don’t necessarily look at that as the case for sure."

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT WHEN THE BOTTLE EXPLODED AND YOU SAW BLOOD AND WILL YOU BE TWEETING A PICTURE OF THE INJURY LIKE YOUR ANKLE? "I didn’t have my phone on me. I’m trying to be less dependent on my phone. I didn’t have my phone on me, so, sorry. What was my thought? I did the typical guy thing, ‘It’s not that bad, it’s not that bad,’ and I shook it a couple of times and there was blood flying everywhere and I thought, ‘It’s pretty bad.’ (laughing) And then I started walking through my mind, ‘Is this for real?’ There really wasn’t much more intelligent thought than that."

CAN YOU CAPSULIZE THE WHOLE WEEKEND? "It sounds like a good investment running the Nationwide and Truck race. It’s not. I can tell you that, it’s not good on the bottom line, but at the end of the day we’re here to win Cup races and that’s where my main focus is. I don’t know, but I don’t think there’s any one that can say I short-cut it to short-cut the big race to be better in the preliminaries and that’s probably a good thing."

WHEN IS YOUR NEXT TRUCK RACE? "I’ll have to look at the schedule."

DID THE BOTTLE BREAK IN YOUR HAND AND NOT HIT ANYTHING AND DO YOU ANTICIPATE ANY PROBLEMS HOLDING THE STEERING WHEEL? "I hit it on something. I think I hit it on the corner of the podium and then it broke. I don’t know. I was trying to get the top off and shaking it at the same time. People were spraying me and I couldn’t really see all that well. It’s one of them deals. Do I anticipate it, no. Last time I had stitches it was seven days or so and we’re going to Daytona, which is probably the easiest track you could ask for. I didn’t break any bones or any of that stuff. I just put a big gash, so I don’t think it will be an issue."

HOW BIG OF A DIFFERENCE IS THERE BETWEEN PENSKE AND ROUSH FENWAY AND RPM? "I don’t know. It’s not really fair for us to comment on the other Ford teams."

ARE YOU SURPRISED? "Quite honestly, we don’t know enough about their stuff. We do what we can to make the Fords the best we can and share as we can, but it’s not fair for us to pile on and I feel like any comments to that effect would just pile on."

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