SRT Motorsports – Dodge Sprint Cup Series Race Final Quotes – Watkins Glen

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Post-Race Final Quotes
American Muscle

Finger Lakes 355 – Watkins Glen International

Dodge PR,,

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Finished Second WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT LAST LAP? “The 18 (Kyle Busch) was leaking fluid something fierce and had no grip at all. When I caught him, it (18) leaked really bad into (Turn) one. He missed the corner because he slipped in his own oil. I got under him going into two and we all slipped in his oil, (I) hit him and spun him. I mean, I had to say there was nothing I could do but there was literally nothing I could do. It was just one big giant oil slick underneath his car and I feel bad about that. Then it came down just running a whole lap against Marcos (Ambrose). I got in the oil and we’d slip up. He’d get by me and then he’d get in the oil and I’d get by him. Just really good, hard racing; some beating and banging. I think that’s the way racing should be. It’s great to race against guys like Marcos that you can run on, lean on and don’t lose their cool and intentionally wreck you. That’s what racing is supposed to be right there: a little bit of bumping and rubbing but none of that intentional wrecking BS. Marcos is a class act and that’s the way racing should be.”

HOW DID YOU COME BACK? YOU SAID OVER THE RADIO THAT YOUR CAR WAS GONE. “I just got back into taking care of it there riding right behind Marcos and it came right back and we were in good shape.”

TAKE US THROUGH THE LAST LAP. “Well the 18 (Kyle Busch) was oil. Look like he had something wrong there and had the whole track slick as hell. You couldn’t drive it; it was undrivable. I go down in the corner and hit the oil and slip and Marcos would go in the corner and slip up. Just came down to who was going to slip up last and I did and he got by me and won the race but a good show, good beating and banging and that’s the racing is supposed to be. Just real proud of that race, proud that there is a class act guy like Marcos that can race that way without losing his cool and intentionally wrecking somebody. That’s really cool.”

Paul Wolfe (Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) “What a race and what a finish. We had a fast Miller Lite Dodge all weekend and it showed today. Brad (Keselowski) has proven that he can run a great race on road courses. Today was no different. We went with a two-stop strategy and got lucky with some cautions falling on way that helped us get the lead. Once we got the lead, it was all Brad making sure he didn’t use up all the car and have something at the end. We had great fuel mileage and fuel strategy that helped us be there at the end. We led a bunch of laps and we’re there at the end to have a shot at the win. That’s all that you can ask for as a crew chief. I think that we’ve shown over the last few weeks that we’ve put ourselves in position to win and that’s what we are here to do, win races. It was tough not to get a win but it was a heck of a finish.”

Sam Hornish (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger) Finished Fifth “A really good day for the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. I thought that we had a great car, great strategy and it all worked out today. This is a tough place. It was real hard racing with a bunch of fast cars and our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge was fast. We had to come a long way from the back (17th) to start the race but I knew that the car was fast enough to make my way up through the pack. I just had to be patient and not wear the car out before the end of the race.”

WAS IT A MATTER OF YOU JUST BEING PATIENT ENOUGH TO HAVE ENOUGH RACE CAR AT THE END OF THE RACE? “Yep. I probably ran about 95 percent most of the day knowing that I needed a fast car late in the day to have a shot at a top 10 or better. It was about five laps to go when I really put the hammer down and run as hard as I can. I’m proud of this team. We continue to get better each week and that’s what you need at this level.”

Todd Gordon (Crew Chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger) “I’m proud of Sam. We’re starting to get our stuff together and understand what Sam needs inside the race car. Sam did a heck of a job all weekend. The two Penske programs helped each other a lot this weekend. Our fuel mileage was great and that helped us in the end.”

Brad Keselowski – Media Center Quotes

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT RUN TODAY? “Just hard racing on a great race track. I really enjoy coming here. This is a real road course. It seems like the other tracks are parking lots with corners. This is a real road course and you see real racing here. I think that’s what today was. I’m proud of the last two days I’ve had. I feel like Jimmie Johnson with the cars that I’ve had on a road course as of late. Just a good couple of days. Happy with the runs. Obviously I’d like to have one more position in both of them (races). We were very, very close. Trying to keep into perspective how far we’ve come as a team to run this competitively on road courses, it’s something that I’m very, very proud of.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOU THAT LAST RESTART WITH KYLE? “I would think that Kyle has enough racing experience and (if) he drove through it himself, he would understand what happened. I’m going to guess that he does. I probably won’t take that for granted. I had a shot to get underneath him and I took it. The track was complete oil. Neither of us were going to make it out of that corner and that was unfortunate. I think that he knows that I had to make that move, no different than the move that he had to make on the restart with his position. He made a very, very aggressive move on the restart that was going to wreck both of us if I didn’t let him in. I could have held the position and wrecked us all. I showed understanding of his situation and hopefully he’ll show understanding of the situation that I was in. Certainly not the ideal situation to wreck the leader, no matter what the situation or circumstances. It was just one of those unavoidable deals, the whole track was undrivable and somehow we all found a way to get back around. I regret that Kyle wasn’t one of them and still get a respective finish out of it. It looks like he finished seventh. Like you said, I thought it was his car (Kyle Busch) that was leaking oil and somebody said it was the 47. His car seemed to be reacting the worst to it when I was behind him. That’s why I thought that. He lost a lot more ground initially in the oil than the rest of us did. The last thing that I wanted to do is wreck the leader. That’s not an ideal situation. Sometimes there are unavoidable circumstances. If there is one, I can’t think of a bigger one than I saw here today or on those last few laps. ”

TAKE US THROUGH THAT LAST LAP WITH KYLE? “The last lap, I guess you have to back up to Turn 1 when I got in front of Marcos the lap before. We got to Turn 1 and Kyle had whatever issue he had, his own oil, the 47’s, he slipped up big in Turn 1. There was just nothing he could do, nothing that I could do. Got to Turn 2 side-by-side because there was nothing but oil. I was lucky not to wreck myself. He spun obviously. We all checked up trying to miss the wreck and Marcos was right on my bumper. We got going through (Turns) 3 and 4 and it was nothing but oil. We all about spun out. I could see him in my mirror and we got to the inner-loop and nothing but oil. We both slid off the race track. I knew that I had to drive in there hard. IF I didn’t, he was going to hit me. He had to drive in hard to force me to do it. When I got out into the grass, I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve just thrown this race away.’ I looked in my mirror and he was in the grass too so that shows how bad the track was. And then, we got to the carousel, drove in there and slipped up again. I looked at him and he was slipping up. I went back to the bottom to get going. I must have hit the oil spot one more time and he didn’t. He got a good run down the chute to Turn 10, had position and cleared me. Got to Turn 10 and he slipped again. I was luckily enough to have him as a brake pedal. I got to Turn 11 and I thought that I had him beat on the outside. Apparently, where the oil was, it was in the high lane in Turn 11. I just hit more oil than Marcos did and just barely kept from spinning out. That’s how bad that corner was. Just fun. We leaned on each other, bumped each other. We were both cool about it and didn’t dump each other. This is what racing in NASCAR is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be hard. Hard-nosed, going for the win. Bumping and rubbing without intentional wrecking and Marcos gets that. I enjoy racing with him accordingly.”

YOU HAD DAMAGE FROM THE CONTACT WITH KYLE. DID THAT AFFECT THE CAR AT ALL? “That’s the first I knew of it. I wasn’t aware of it. It makes sense.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THOSE LAST FINAL LAPS RACING WITH MARCOS AND KYLE? “It sure seems like a lot, doesn’t it? “Just one of them days. How else can you sum that up? It’s just one of them days where the world throws everything it can at you and you hope to make it though all of them. I just didn’t. I just missed it. I just missed it to get the win. That was really unfortunate. A part of racing.”

DID THE POINTS COME INTO YOUR MIND TODAY OR WERE YOU JUST GOING FOR THE WIN? “I knew that when Kyle made the move on the restart, he tried to out-brake us all and he did. If I wouldn’t have let him in line, all of us would have wrecked. When he made that move, it was like, ‘Well, I can’t fault him.’ If you look at his situation and it’s ‘win or go home’ I would do the same thing. I hope he respects my position that I can’t just let him win either. I had a chance to pass him and the way that the oil and that worked out, it ended up badly. I hope he respects that like I respect why he had to make that move and the same with Marcos on why he had to race aggressively. I do respect that. I would respect that even if you didn’t have anything to win because the core of this sport and why people come to watch is that people know that we’re going to give it our all any given day. If a day comes when we don’t do that, we’re no longer racers and this is no longer a sport, it’s politics. It’s our job. You don’t have to be an asshole about it. You can always find a reason to do that. I don’t think anyone was here to do that.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SAM HORNISH AND HOW WELL HE HAS DONE THE LAST FOUR WEEKS IN CUP? “I mean, there’s no doubt, and we’ve talked about it, Roger (Penske) and I have even talked about it, he’s done a phenomenal job of growing as a driver. I think running in both series has been huge for him. He’s got two good teams with the Nationwide and Cup efforts. I think he’s gaining a lot of confidence and starting to come into his own in a way. Certainly the question is, can he have those performances on the ovals? That’s really what’s going to matter for him and his future. I’m sure he’d probably tell you the same. But his progress as of late has been something I’m proud to see. I hope that in some small way I’m a part of that in working with him. So that’s just great to see. It’s something that I think we all enjoy watching – a driver get the hang of this sport, especially a guy as kind and who has paid some dues like Sam has.”

DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE ON THAT LAST RESTART GOING THREE-WIDE? “Yeah. I mean, basically the sport has changed. When double-file restarts came onboard, especially on tracks of this nature, you see it more so on the Nationwide and Truck side, where the leader is no longer the best spot to be in. Again, you see that more in the other two series. On road courses, short tracks, at the Cup level, the leader is in the most vulnerable spot at all times. It’s really unfortunate because you work so hard to get that position. A yellow comes out, you’re no longer in the best spot. The reason for that is the cars behind you can time their start based off your cadence, then bonsai you into the corner. You either give them the position or they clean you out and themselves out at the same time. The third-place guy knows that. That’s what you’re seeing in the racing, whether it was here today or yesterday. I was in both those situations in some sort of fashion. I think you see that a lot on the Truck and Nationwide side. I’d like to see a stat, how often the leader of the race comes back to the line in the lead. I think you would see that margin is getting lower and lower to where it’s less than 50 percent. That was the situation with the move that Kyle made. He’s a smart racer. He knows that. He put me in a situation where it was either I let him go or we both wreck. It didn’t make any sense to wreck out of this race for me. I can respect that. He’s smart. He knows that that gave him a shot at winning the race. Had the 47 not blew an oil line, he would have. The dynamics of restarts have changed racing. It would have been interesting to see what happened had we had another yellow there at the end. That would have put me in the third-place position where essentially it would have been my responsibility to dive into turn one and hope that Kyle let me in. It would have been interesting to see what mentality he had then. I’m guessing he wouldn’t have let me in. Go back to Martinsville, the same thing we saw with Clint, Jeff and Jimmie. It’s how racing has evolved. It’s a bit unfortunate. It’s not something I like seeing personally. It is the game we play as the rules are set right now.”

DID THE TRACK FEEL SAFER THIS YEAR AFTER ALL THE CHANGES? “Tough question to answer without being offensive. There’s no doubt that improvements have been made. But in my opinion there are no road courses in America that are up to the safety standards they should be. I think you look at the road courses in Europe, how much better they are. It speaks volumes of why American road racing is where it’s at. There’s been improvements, but certainly not enough to where, if you polled the whole garage, they would say it’s satisfactory.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF YOUR CHANCES AFTER THE RESTART WHEN YOU DROPPED TO THIRD? “Well, Marcos didn’t get me till two or three laps later, five or six laps later. That was just from pushing so hard to try to get by Kyle. That didn’t have anything to do with the restart. That was just me doing all I could to get back by Kyle. He had the clean air. I think my car was a little bit faster. When I got behind him, I pushed so bad but I couldn’t get that positioning on him to make a move.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU ENJOYED THAT LAST LAP? “Absolutely enjoyed the race. Of course, I’m a little spoiled on that answer being a front finisher. Probably would not have that same perception if I was not. I just think this is what racing should be. I think this is what the fans come to expect out of NASCAR racing and why it grew to the popularity that it did. We need to produce shows of this nature to continue to sustain the level that we have. So I’m proud to be part of one of those races”

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE NASCAR ADD ANOTHER ROAD COURSE IN THE FUTURE? I don’t think that’s the right approach to what the sport needs. I think there’s certainly other tracks we could look at. I enjoy the international market. I had a blast in Montréal. But I think that’s the wrong line of thinking. I think you have to look at why these races are so good. It fits with the way this car is built. It’s built for tracks, not necessarily built for road courses, but it’s built for the beating and banging that you’re seeing. That makes it an ideal car for a track of this nature. I think if you want to look back to obviously some of the peaks of our sport, where the racing was generally considered to be the best, it was on ovals. I think we need to simply correct some of the things that we need to make oval racing better. That’s obviously NASCAR’s way forward. I know they’re working on that. I support that approach.”

ANY THOUGHTS OF DÉJÀ VU CONSIDERING IT WAS THE THREE OF YOU GUYS AGAIN THIS YEAR? “Absolutely, yes. Unfortunately, it involved spinning the 18. That part is not déjà vu and not something I wanted to happen.”

ARE YOU WALKING AWAY FROM THIS RACE THINKING WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? “Probably. You have to understand there’s a part of me that’s so thrilled to be competitive on a road course. I don’t want to say second is a win, but there’s just a large part of me that’s tickled to run that well because I’m not supposed to run well on road courses. The last year and a half we’ve been very strong. I’m just tickled to be with a team that gives me cars that can do that, to have shown whatever level of growth it’s taken to get to this level as a driver.”

WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD AT WATKINS GLEN? “I got good cars. I don’t know, just things are clicking. If I knew what it was, I would have gone after it a long time ago. Sometimes things just go well. You don’t sweat why, you just enjoy it. That’s where I’m at.”

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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