DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As far as Brad Keselowski is concerned, the more change the merrier.
After last year’s post-championship swoon, Keselowski believes the sweeping modifications NASCAR has made to its Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, its deterrence policy toward rules infractions and its new group qualifying system all will benefit his efforts to win a second title in NASCAR’s premier series
Enhanced transparency of NASCAR’s penalty and appeals process — with violations and their punishments spelled out in the rule book in a six-level system — drew rave reviews from the 2012 champion, whose 2013 season was derailed last April at Texas when the rear-end housings of both Team Penske NASCAR Sprint Cup cars were deemed illegal.
Keselowski views the new approach to enforcement of competition rules as one of the most significant modifications in a rapidly changing landscape.
“I think it’s huge,” Keselowski told reporters Thursday during Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. “I think it’s the most under-reported thing you’re talking about. It completely changes the game, because we have this balance in this sport between fair play and innovation, and it’s a constant battle as to what teams are fast each and every week.
“Fair play and innovation are two distinct differences, and that essentially comes down to the gray areas of the rule book and how they’re defined. That’s being re-defined with this literature and this process. I think it’s tremendous for the teams and tremendous for the fans… If it’s fully executed, it could really reset the field and the balance of who is fast week-in and week-out and change it from maybe the arbitrary system that it was in the past to a real balanced field.”
The crime-and-punishment aspect of the rule book isn’t the only thing Keselowski likes.
“I think almost every one of the changes has benefitted my team as a whole and is part of the reason for the optimism — maybe with the exception of the added spoiler to the back of the car,” Keselowski said. “That’s probably the only change of anything that’s been done, and there have been a lot of them, that I didn’t like.
“So I think if you want an explanation as to how I think, we’d be here for a long time, but I think all the changes are beneficial for us. The Chase changes, I think, fit my driving style the best. The qualifying changes definitely fit me very well, so I think all of them are really positive for our team.”