Ford Performance NASCAR: Talladega Media Availability (Brad Keselowski)

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

GEICO 500 Media Availability (Talladega Superspeedway)

Friday, April 27, 2018


Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Snap-On Tools Ford Fusion met with media members at Talladega Superspeedway Friday afternoon following the final practice session of the day.

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Snap-On Tools Ford Fusion — YOU ARE THE WINNINGEST ACTIVE DRIVER HERE WITH FIVE VICTORIES. WHAT DO YOU AND PAUL WOLFE NEED TO DO TO GET WIN NUMBER SIX ON SUNDAY? “I think Talladega has been a good track for us for sure. I come here excited and feeling like we can win and there is a lot to be said for that. It is the kind of confidence you need to have to run well here. Also we come here with pretty strong cars which always make your job a little bit easier. I think this year it seems as though the cars are quite a bit different than they have been in my history here. They are a lot faster and handling quite a bit worse. I told somebody today that I felt like I was in 1985 with the way the cars are driving. That said, I expect a little bit of a different race than what we have seen here. I am not really sure exactly what to predict but we are hopeful it will be a great day for us.”


IS THERE SOMETHING TO KNOWING HOW TO RACE HERE? SOME PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THIS PLACE AS A CRAP-SHOOT BUT WHEN YOU HAVE WON FIVE TIMES THAT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE THE CASE FOR YOU PERHAPS. “Well, maybe I have just been lucky five times. I think there is a luck factor to Talladega that will always be there and there is a skill factor that seems to always be a moving target with different tactics and techniques based on the rules, regulations and competitors. What it took to win here the first time is certainly not what it will take to win here this weekend. You have to adapt to that and that is a big challenge when you have something you are successful with. I would say that with the way the cars are driving so far this weekend it will take something completely different again to be successful here. I look at it as a fairly open weekend with a lot of unpredictability, even for Talladega standards. With that is an opportunity as well. We are certainly going to have to earn it.”


KNOWING YOUR FAMILY’S HISTORY IN ARCA, WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT NASCAR HAS ACQUIRED ARCA? “I just read a tiny bit about it. I think there is another announcement that will maybe help give it a little clarity. I don’t know enough to understand what really is going on there other than the basics. I think there are a lot of details there that really will determine whether it is good for everybody. My initial reaction is that I really like Ron Drager and his family a lot. They have been really good family friends to my family for decades and I hope that he is happy and has what he needs and that everything worked out there. I think that is probably my first thoughts, just thinking about Ron and his family. Beyond that, I hope that it turns in to the kind of partnership that benefits all of motorsports for years to come. I don’t know enough about the likelihood of that happening or where it is going or what is happening. I think there is a lot going on there. I think those are my initial thoughts.”


IT HAS BEEN ALMOST 10 YEARS SINCE YOU GOT THAT FIRST WIN HERE. HOW DID THAT CHANGE YOUR LIFE? “That was a huge, huge win for me. I think that first win put me in position to be with Penske. I don’t know if I would have been with Penske without that. That was huge for me. It opened up a lot of doors. I was able to get through them in a time period when they weren’t really handing out quality rides like they were candy. It opened up a door for me to earn it. I am glad to be here and I don’t know if I would be here if it wasn’t for that first win.”

OKAY IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PRACTICE WITH IT? “Yeah, I expect some fairly significant changes. I don’t know exactly what will happen but the cars are about five to ten miles per hour faster than they have been here in the last two to three decades. The liftoff speed it probably a concern, not just for me but for everybody. With the cars handling the way they are handling, you will need to single-file out to survive this race. I think that is probably not the expectation of what we want to put on for a show. I would expect there to be some changes for sure. As to what they might be, I don’t know. As to whether whatever changes are made will be successful, I don’t know that either. I would expect some kind of move to be made.”


IF YOU HAD A MAGIC WAND YOU COULD WAVE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ARCA A FEW YEARS FROM NOW, THE ROLE IT SHOULD PLAY IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS? “I like ARCA just the way it is. Each series is like a different flavor of ice cream. You can only have so many chocolates and vanillas. ARCA has their own flavor and I think that is great. I don’t know if that is NASCAR’s plan. I don’t think anybody knows. Maybe their plan is to keep it the way it is now and I think that would be great. Maybe they have a bigger vision for it, I don’t know. That could be great too. I guess we will see.”


WERE YOU ON TRACK WHEN JAMIE MCMURRAY WRECKED? WHAT DID YOU SEE? “Yeah, I saw it. I was actually leading that group and I saw it in my mirror. I saw him go up in the air and tumble a bunch of times. I didn’t know exactly what caused it but it is certainly not what we want to see and I am glad Jamie is okay.”


HIS WRECK, COULD THE SPEEDS BE SO HIGH THAT THE TIRES ARE UNDER MORE STRESS? COULD THAT HAVE IMPACTED HIS LEFT REAR? “I would say it could be a factor but I don’t know. There is not a lot left to really decipher there. It certainly is not a help. My understanding on the speed rating of those tires is they are good for 220-230 mph. Although we were the fastest we have been here in a number of years, that specific lap if I had to guess based on the data I saw, Jamie would have been around 210. I would say he had a 10 mph margin but I don’t know. Maybe he just ran something over. There is a good likelihood of that. Usually when you have a flat rear tire, just by the very nature of how a vehicle with four wheels rolls down the race track, either something fell off the car or something failed. If you ran over something it would cut the front tire first because they are on the same path. It is possible but I don’t know and I would hate to go on record that speed is what caused his tire to blow out. I don’t know if we will ever know that one. But he did run the fastest lap the lap before that so I could see where you could look at that and put a few question marks up.”


DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT IS TOO FAST OR ARE THE CARS JUST UNSTABLE WITH THE NO RIDE HEIGHT RULE? “Too fast is subjective. We could run around here at 260 mph and I would be okay with that. It would probably not be what a lot of people would expect when they buy a ticket because we would be spread out across the whole track like it was in the mid 80’s. I think a lot of people expect pack racing. It is not too fast for me as a driver. It is what I signed up for and I am happy to go whatever speed. It is too fast for those that expect to see pack racing on Sunday.”


About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.