Ford Performance NASCAR: Brad Keselowski Texas I Transcript

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BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – IS THERE A NEW ELEMENT THIS YEAR THAT HAS ALLOWED THE TEAM TO BE SO SUCCESSFUL COMPARED TO PREVIOUS YEARS?  TEAM PENSKE HAS BEEN GOOD FOR A LONG TIME.  “I think it takes a lot to win at this level and a lot of things have to come together is maybe more accurately said.  I think if I was to look at a few key points I would say one of them is from Ford Motor Company and the efforts that they’ve put in.  They made a couple really nice moves over the last two or three years that probably culminated when they were in a better position to roll out the Mustang than they would have been elsewise to where the Mustang came out, and I don’t think we missed a step.  I think we probably took a step forward with the Mustang, so that’s been very helpful to Team Penske, so credit to Mark Rushbrook and the team there at Ford and the things they’ve done to do just that.  They brought on this guy named Tommy Joseph who I talked about last week.  He’s been a big gain for us on the Ford side, and then I think beyond just the Ford specific oval, I would say that Doug Yates and his group with the engine side have done a really good job responding to some of the challenges when you make the changes that have been made to the engine and so forth and kind of staying on their toes, and part of that goes back to Ford again because I think Ford bringing on Stewart-Haas was a good marker for Doug Yates and his group to push them as well, so that culmination has been really strong, some strong decisions made by Ford Motor Company that have kind of been high tides for all ships.  If I was to look at anything, I would say that’s probably the biggest factor and it’s come together this year with the new car and the rules changes.”

 

WHERE IS THE BALANCE BETWEEN ENTERTAINMENT AND COMPETITION FOR THIS SPORT?  “I think if you back up to the schedule announcement.  I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised somewhat, kind of ecstatic and shocked that there were as many changes as there were.  I didn’t see that one coming. I think that was a good shot in the arm for the entire sport and I think that’s an example of changes you can make that don’t compromise competition for entertainment.  I don’t always believe that you have to trade is I guess what maybe I’m trying to say and the schedule change is a direct reflection of that.  I think it’s important to keep the schedule fresh and to have new ideas and to keep up with some of the challenges in the marketplace, whether it be the Olympics or whether it be markets that have made significant investments, so I was pretty excited to see that personally.  I just go back to what I said earlier, I don’t think it always has to be a trade off.  I think you can make the competition and entertainment better without always having to sacrifice one or the other and the notion that you can’t has always been very frustrating to me.  Those ideas are the ones that I think you should always throw out the window right away – anyone who tells you you have to trade and has an idea that requires a trade, so as far as where the balancing mark is, when I put my race car driver hat on I’ll be honest I put a concerted effort to say I don’t care as long as I have the fastest car of the group then everything else will figure its way out.  It’s a tough line for the sport to walk.  Obviously, the entertainment factor is important and integrity is important with the competition side.  I’m not sure I’m the right person to always give an answer.  I think at the end of the day the fans are pretty smart and they’ll give you their answer and they’ll answer you with ratings and attendance.”

 

COMING UP ON 10 YEARS SINCE YOUR FIRST CUP WIN.  HOW DID THAT WIN FURTHER YOUR CAREER AND SET THINGS IN MOTION?  DID THAT LEAPFROG YOU TO PENSKE?  “I’d like to think that it opened some doors for me.  It’s hard to say because none of us have complete control over our destiny, but when I look out the window I’m not sure I would have ended up at Penske if I hadn’t won that race.  It was a major marker.  It opening up, in my mind at least, but I can’t speak for Roger or Discount Tire, it opened up the window for me to get the Discount Tire deal, which I needed to really feel good about driving for Team Penske because that opened up the XFINITY Series for me, opened up the team development side that I thought was gonna be so critical to our success and to kind of get Penske on its feet.  If you recall, they were in a bad place at the time, and I don’t know if that would have happened without winning that race.  Maybe it would have.  I don’t know.  It’s a better question for Roger and Discount Tire, but either way I’m glad it happened.  I’m thankful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”

 

HAVE YOU FELT THIS PACKAGE TAKING MORE OF A TOLL ON YOUR BODY PHYSICALLY?  “I think the cars are obviously a little hotter and there’s a number of reasons for that, more on-throttle time, probably more specifically on the shorter tracks to have the right side window in, so there’s a different between driving around with the windows down and with the windows up in a really hot car.  So, yeah, I would agree that they’re definitely more physically demanding and that’s part of the challenge.  That one I don’t think really bothers me.  I think it’s not dangerous it’s just a little harder, so I think going into Bristol next week that will be the big challenge.  I think I said that last week in the press conference after the race.  That race I think has a lot of people on pins and needles, not just physically, which it should be physically, but with the cars themselves.  I think the cars are really gonna see a lot of load and a lot of stress, especially if the temperatures are pretty cool, which generally they are in the spring Bristol race, so I think at the moment the drivers are definitely feeling it a little bit more, not to the point where I think it’s dangerous or anything like that, so I’m not too concerned about it, but I am concerned about some of these higher load tracks that the cars and teams will be a little bit behind and that could have a big effect on the race.”

 

THOUGHTS ON QUALIFYING.  WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN?  “I don’t know.  I just had this conversation with my teammate, Joey Logano, and part of me thinks it will be very similar to what we saw at California and part of me thinks it won’t.  The one thing that I would say separated California from this track is that the cars here at least will be faster in two laps than they will in one lap, so that would probably mean you’ll see everybody make a lap at least, but there are no guarantees, so we’ll see.  We’re gonna learn together.”

 

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