Brad Keselowski Open Interview — Martinsville

Friday, Oct. 28, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR

TUMS Fast Relief 500
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Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Brad Keselowski Open Interview

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) “It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were here at Martinsville for the spring race and sitting 20th-something in points. What a change it’s been. A good ride to make the wild card, to win some races and get up into the, I guess the 11th-place points position when the Chase started. I was really proud of that effort. It’s great to come back to these tracks a second time knowing where we’ve been and just how far we’ve come. It’s a very inspiring to come back.”

ARE YOU KIND OF THE ‘WILD CARD’ IN THIS CHASE SCERNAIO SINCE THERE’S NOT A HISTORY ON YOU AT THESE TRACKS TO PREDICT HOW YOU’RE GOING TO FINISH? “Yeah, I think so. I think the sport itself, especially the media, relies a lot on previous history at tracks to kind of garner who they think is going to be the guy to beat. We just don’t have a lot of stats. We don’t have a lot of past history. I think that can be very confusing for a lot of people. It’s also good. I think it’s somewhat of an advantage and strength of our team that we don’t have those because we don’t come in with any preconceived notions. We come into each race and feel like we have a shot at winning it. We don’t look back at stats and say we’ll never run good here. I don’t see it as a disadvantage. I kind of like it.”

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A DRAFTING PARTNER? ARE YOU LOOKIING FOR SOMEBODY YOU CAN TRUST? WHAT GOES INTO YOUR DECISION MAKING PROCESS? “I’m trying to think of a good analogy that won’t get me in trouble. Basically, it wasn’t like I was going to get the prettiest girl at the dance. At some point, you’ve just got to get a girl. So the pick of the litter for me was not all that large, so to speak. I was fortunate to get with someone who was of the talent and quality that Dave (Blamey) is behind the wheel and was able to keep his composure for the whole race which was really what I was looking for more than anything else. There are certainly more factors that go into it than that, but I didn’t really have the pick of the litter and that’s what I liked about Dave.”

WHERE IS THE LINE FOR YOU ON HOW FAR YOU WILL GO FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP? WHAT IS FAIR? WHAT IS NOT FAIR? WHERE IS THAT LINE; HOW CLOSE ARE YOU WILLING TO GET? “I guess I’m assuming that question is coming from what I think everybody would say has been a rough week on the ethical scale of what’s going on in the sport. You know for me, I think every person, every driver, every team, car owner, whatever it might be, has (their own code of honor. It’s certainly something I place very, very high; that’s why I’m driving for Roger Penske. I think you can look at things like that and you can see who a driver picks to drive for and you can kind of get a mindset, so to speak, of how they feel about it. Roger, I think, is at the top of the list in my opinion. There have been times where I’ve had conversations with Roger and ask him why are certain things not done on the car and he’s told me point-blank, ‘Hey, this is something that is a little grey and I don’t live in the grey area, it’s not how I run my race teams, it’s not how I’m going to run my race teams. And if I lose races because I’m not in the grey area, I’ll accept that so that I don’t have to answer for the races that I’ve won and been yelled at, or discredited, or had the asterisk put next to me for some sort of violation’. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that. It’s easy to fall into temptation of sorts to push it a little bit harder. I think we all come back to it sometime, whatever individual code we have, and mine is a reflection of who I drive for. That can be tough. It can certainly be tough. As far as where my line is at, it’s not an easy answer to give. I want to win as bad as anyone else, sometimes more. I don’t want that win to be discredited in any way shape or form. If that means I have to lose a few to make sure that the wins I have are credited the right way, then I’ll do that. I guess it’s tough because one of my defining moments in my career was my first win at Talladega. I think some people may have questioned the integrity of that win and how far I was willing to go. But I see that completely different than what we’ve seen as of late. You know, there’s a question of integrity when you maybe stop on the race track to cause a yellow. There’s a question of integrity when you maybe have something illegal with your car that you know about and so forth and things of that nature. Those are certainly huge questions of integrity. I’m not going to say that I’m always innocent, but I’m trying to make sure that I win without those things. Those are different, in my opinion at least, than what I went through there at Talladega because they’re further reaching. When you look at the sport, the perception is, and it always has been, that stock car racing is about drivers. That’s why drivers get the most pay and sponsors go with the drivers. It’s not supposed to be about who has the best cars. It never has been. It does always kind of morph its way into that. I guess what I’m trying to say about that is that it’s important to the honor and credibility of the sport that a driver wins the race. If you win the race by a bump-and-run, that to me is ethical. Man, that’s great. That’s where I stand. If you win a race because you have a cheated-up part that nobody else had and your car is faster, I think that kind of goes against the integrity of the sport and what has made NASCAR so successful to date. So I think that there are two distinct lines so to speak. I guess that’s a tough question to answer, I guess that what I’m trying to say.”

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN OUTRUN THE GUYS IN FRONT OF YOU AND CATCH THEM IN POINTS, OR DO YOU NEED THEM TO SLIP UP TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I believe we had a bad race at Dover that was not of our own doing. Quite honestly, a piece of rubber flew up underneath the hood, that’s a freak accident. It knocked belts off and we didn’t get the yellows the way we needed to be able to recover. I believe that certainly things like that, they happen to everybody. It happened to me. And I believe as of now, it has not happened to Carl (Edwards). Matt (Kenseth) had the freak deal there at Chicago to where he lost all those points with the pushing and so-forth. I believe that it comes full circle is what I’m trying to say Jeff. For us, we’ve had our event. Carl has not. I believe that, the good Lord willing, he’ll even that all out. That’s how I feel it’s going to happen. When that happens, we need to make sure we do our part, run up front, score top fives and at the end of the day, I believe a 7.5 average is going to win the championship. We’re an 8.3, 8.4, I can’t remember what it was. So we just need to do our part, finish in the top five and pull our average down to that 7.5. If we do that, I feel like we will win the championship.”

DID YOU WATCH THE WORLD SERIES LAST NIGHT? “No, I did not. I was playing Madden football.”

DO YOU HAVE A PREDICTION ON THE WORLD SERIES. “One of the red teams, that’s my pick. I didn’t watch last night. I was playing Madden with Scott Speed last night. He talked a lot of trash, but I brought it home. It was a fourth-quarter comeback by the way.”

GIVEN YOUR LIMITED EXPERIENCE AT THIS TRACK, HOW MUCH DOES IT HURT YOU IF YOU DON’T GET TO PRACTICE? “I think it’s a big deal for a team to get practice here. We brought a new car, new to the Penske fleet. I think it’s a better car than what we’ve ever had here by quite a ways, but I would still like some time to tune it in. We really, really need the practice. I’m trying not to think about that. It would be a huge deal to miss out on practice time. It’s the same for everybody though, so we’ll just have to make it work somehow.”

IF YOU WERE GOING TO A GIANT HALOWEEN PARTY AND COULD BE ANY NASCAR PERSONALITY, WHO WOULD YOU BE? “I feel like a Waltrip would have to be involved in this somehow. I could see being Michael Waltrip and I would somehow play off the windshield theme, like maybe I would carry around the windshield. Hey, that would be pretty cool wouldn’t it? Do you think anybody would get it? That would be kind of cool.”

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST ETHICAL LAPSE THIS WEEK? “Wow, there are so many of them, I can’t list them all. This was a rough week. To be honest, some people would point at what I just said about Waltrip’s cars, but I didn’t really make that much of that one to be honest. I thought that was just racing, so forth. You know, whatever happened with Jimmie, we’ll never know on that car. So, I don’t see how you can really point your finger at that deal. We’ll never know; I don’t have answers on it. So, it just kind of is what it is. I thought it was remarkable, kind of, the truck race to be honest was remarkable to me the things the 3 truck got away with. That would probably be the big one. I thought that was remarkable.”

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


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