Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – NSCS Final Qualifying – Charlotte

Thursday, May 26, 2011 Charlotte Motor Speedway Dodge Motorsports PR Coca-Cola 600 Post-Qualifying Quotes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st “This car was awesome man.  Awesome!  Fast cars go fast and this is a team is making a lot of progress.  We made some awesome gains in the Blue Deuce.  Every week, we just keep picking away a little here, a little bit there.  We’re starting to get more people to believe in us.  We just have to keep chipping away with this Miller Lite Dodge.  My guys gave me a really fast race car and we were able to put it together for a qualifying lap.

“The track keeps on getting faster and I’m really happy for this Miller Lite Dodge team.  I’m really proud to have a fast race car and that means more to me than anything.  Right now, we have a fast race car and a great qualifying position.”

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YOU GUYS HAVE CLEARY PICKED UP YOUR PERFORMANCE THE LAST FEW WEEKS.  HOW?  “My crew chief Paul Wolfe, he lives off of Perth Road, so maybe he found some secrets there.  I don’t know. There is a lot of speed on that road I hear.  It’s his responsibility.  He’s making some small gains every week and sometimes they don’t show up.  Sometimes you make gains and you can feel them, but you don’t see them.  You look at the finishes in the box scores or whatever the stats might be.  But as race car drivers, we go off the feel of our ass; the feel of my ass that the cars are getting better every week and they’re turning just a little bit better, the horsepower is getting a little bit better.  I think that we have more in store.  As a team, we’ve done a lot of things to make progress – a lot of hard work and smart work.  The list of things that I think we need to improve is still very large.  I think everyone on our team would agree with that and we’re still where we’re at right now (winning the pole).  That’s really special.”

WE’RE KURT COMMENTS IN DARLINGTON MOTIVATION TO YOU TO RUN BETTER IN THE CUP SERIES?  “A little bit of both to be quite honest.  I felt like from race five on we’ve actually out-performed, but haven’t out-finished.  We haven’t executed.  As a team, we’re getting to where we have performance, but not execution.  The next step for us is to execute.  We had a really fast car last week.  I felt like we were a top-five car at worst.  We had problems.  We broke the brakes on the car and didn’t execute.  At Dover the week before, again, I felt like we were a fifth-place car at the end of the race and I stalled it on pit road.  All those things, it’s team execution.  It’s myself.  It’s the shop.  We need to execute just a little bit better and then we’ll have the 2 car where it consistently performs.  I think that as a group, my road crew and the guys that do the setups on the car have really, really learned a lot over the last few weeks.  Most of them came over from the Nationwide side.  They don’t have a ton of experience with the car, so they’re learning as well and it’s fitting into the pace that I’m learning.”

WHAT IS THE ATMOSPHERE AT PENSKE RIGHT NOW?  “I think that it was a little over a week ago that we announced that Tom German was leaving the company.  He was the head of engineering.  There were people that had good things to say about him and people that had bad things to say about him.  Either way, the change there has opened doors that would have never opened before.  The jury is still out whether that’s good or bad.  But I think looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my team, I think it’s going to be good for us.  Allowing guys like Paul Wolfe and my car chief Jerry Kelley, which are just true grassroots racers that have graduated through levels and polished their skills, to work on the race cars and make decisions, I think that’s what is going to pay off and I’m starting to see it already.  There are things on this car this week that would have never been on it before.  It’s not some amazing new muffler bearing, it’s small little things.  It’s putting the car together right and having the ability to do that without jumping over 20 to 30 hurdles.  That’s what this sport is about.  It’s about small details and we’re getting the details a little bit better each week with the 2 team.”

DID WHAT KURT SAY AT DARLINGTON TICK YOU OFF?  “I think that if you look at all of 2010, he was absolutely right.  Until the last two or three races, with the exception of Phoenix, I wasn’t even close to running with Kurt, not even close.  I think that he definitely has legs to stand on with that comment.”

DO YOU NEED TO REBUILD YOUR FLEET OR DO IT WITH YOU CURRENT CARS?  “I don’t look at cars like a lot of people do.  The definition of rebuilding a fleet means something different to everyone.  To me, it’s difficult because people look at race cars from the outside and say, ‘OK, this is chassis 536-A with a whatever clip on it’.  I don’t view it that way.  I look at big race teams and I see a lineup of parts chassis.  You bolt the parts on the chassis and you have a car.  So if you want to rebuild a car, you just change a couple of components.  If you want to rebuild a chassis, you just build another chassis and put those components on it.  What some people may consider a complete rebuild, I always look at it a little differently.”

WOULD YOU AGREE THAT YOU AND KURT HAVE DIFFERENT APPROACHES AT FIXING PROBLEMS, BUT WOULD YOU ALSO AGREE THAT YOU HAVE THE SAME GOALS?  “Yeah.  Kurt and I can sit behind closed doors and agree 100 percent with everything we need to move forward.  I’ve seen, perhaps, more of a gain in that than I did before.  That’s what it’s going to take.  It’s going to take the two of us being on the same page on what we need.  He definitely has a different approach.  To be honest, if he didn’t have that approach, I probably would adopt it because you keep trying different things until you get what you want.  I spent all last year being quiet and not saying, ‘Hey, this car is really, really bad’ to the media.  But they were really, really bad.  At the same time, Kurt was running well and I didn’t have a leg to stand on with that.  This year, obviously my cars have gotten better.  Kurt has had his struggles.  I’ve had my struggles to.  I’m not saying that we’re great every week either.  But it’s somewhat refreshing to have someone that can speak up have a voice, have the credibility of being a past champion and past winner and those around him perhaps listen more intently.”

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY?  AREN’T YOU MOTIVATED ENOUGH?  “You go through lulls.  You go through spikes and then you have your plateaus, some are high and some are low.  It’s really hard.  I got in the car the other week and you run like crap.  Richmond was a terrible weekend for us.  And you get out of the car and say, ‘What am I doing?’  We’re terrible.  Running 40th in Cup, I’d rather work at McDonald’s than run 40th in Cup.  I hate it.  I can’t stand it.  You want to know what my nightmare is?  It’s waking up, having a dream of pulling in the garage area, looking up at the scoreboard and seeing my car on the right side of the board.  It’s that drive that keeps you going.  You need moments of inspiration or motivation for no other reason to kind of shut up that devil on your shoulder that’s saying, ‘I need to do something else.’  That’s the little cancer growing on your shoulder.”

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger) Qualified “Just way too tight.  We had a top-10 race car in practice, but just couldn’t get that speed out of the car for qualifying.  We’ll work on it again tomorrow.”

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy / Harris Teeter / Sam’s Mart Dodge Charger) “We’ll see where that qualifying lap puts us.  Our SPEED Energy Dodge keeps hitting the race track and we’re not quite sure why.  When we hit the race track, our car slides the front and goes way loose.  We’ve got the pink car, our Pink Unleaded SPEED Energy on board.  We just need some more speed through the corners.  Just losing too much speed.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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