Ford and Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski met with the media after final practice for Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (#2 Wurth Ford Fusion) -- CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR AND THE OUTLOOK FOR TOMORROW? "Yeah, this year so far we've had really good race speed and not a lot in practice and qualifying speed. It seems to be the case this weekend as well. Not really where we want to be on the practice charts. It seems like that goes in cycles where you're really fast in practice sometimes and really good in the race to go with that. Sometimes it's the other way around where you're not very good in practice and you're good in the race. And sometimes it's the other way where you're really good in practices and not in the race. That's part of the cycle. It can be frustrating at times but I'm confident we're going to be strong tomorrow based on the last few weeks and how the scenarios have played out."
HOW GRUELING IS THIS RACE? "It's one of the toughest. It's funny, after the truck race Austin Cindric came up to me and said, 'Man, how do you make it 400 laps around here?' And I remember that. I remember the first time I ran here in Xfinity and Trucks, I thought I'd never make it 400 laps. You dig deep and find a way, especially when there are no yellow flags. There was a race here last year where there were hardly any cautions. Man, I got out of that one and, whoa, whoa Momma. It's a tough track. I love what I do. When you like what you do you find a way to make it work?
SILLY SEASON IS PICKING UP. ARE YOU IN? ARE YOU OUT? "I'm standing now, that's good (laughs). I don't know, I really don't have anything to announce. A lot of stuff getting worked on."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GET ANY LENIENCY ON THE WHEEL DEAL YESTERDAY FROM THE TRUCK RACE? "I don't know. I think when it comes to issues like this I try to always step back and see it from a bigger picture and I hope NASCAR does as well. At the end of the day intent matters. The intent of the rule was to make sure guys don't put three lug nuts on and have a wheel come off and say, 'Awe, too bad'. That isn't what happened in the scenario we had. So I think the rule's intent maybe covers something that didn't happen. On the other side of it I think the intent of our team on the Truck series and the issue was not to tighten up three lug nuts and have blistering-fast pit stop. It was a mistake. And we discussed those scenarios. It's the difference between murder and manslaughter. Intent matters. Certainly, we're glad that nobody got hurt or there wasn't any of those types of issues. It doesn't excuse that kind of stuff. It's tough scenario for me personally because as an owner over there, we somewhat pride ourselves in not using Cup driver and Cup pit crews and all those things. What I'm looking for out of that endeavor and that series is to develop people and give back to the sport. It's not really giving back to the sport if I put a Cup driver in or hire a Cup pit crew. That's really not giving back to the sport at all. But on the flip side when you have issues like we had, which is a pit crew that is still developing and inexperienced...they made a mistake. When you have an issue like that which endorses a penalty, that is as costly as that one is according to the current rule, you have to step back and ask yourself, 'If I had a Cup pit crew, would that have happened?' And the answer is probably 'No'. So I think the penalties in those series have to be reflective of what they are, they're developmental series. That was a developmental issue. A guy who really learned a tough lesson. If the penalty is very severe, very harsh, that's the end of developmental pit crews for my team. We can't take that. We can't afford that and that will have serious ramifications for the series and the ability to develop people. It's a tough question. It's a tough box that NASCAR is put in to try and enforce rules that are pretty much black and white. They have a tough call to make that will have serious ramifications both in the series we compete and but also as a precedent for all three series."
DID YOU TELL NASCAR AS MUCH? "That's the conversation we had."
WHAT BOTHERED YOU SO MUCH ABOUT HOW KYLE (BUSCH) HANDLED HIS PRESS CONFERENCE? "The way that (you guys) portrayed it, the hunger to win. There are some really funny bounces in life, especially in this motorsports world. But you're desire to win is not connected to how angry...any of those types of pieces...in my mind. That's one way of expressing it, but it's not the only way to win. So when people go out and write articles or the media comes out and says that's a reflection of him having the most desire to win makes me want to throw up. Not only is that a terrible message to send to anyone who's aspiring a part of the sport, it's a terrible message to send to anybody in general in this world, that it's a reflection over your desire to win. When I look at teams and people in this sport they all want to be associated with those who have the strongest hunger and desires and passions to be successful. That's natural. That includes myself. That message to convey, whether it's through the media or through different mouthpieces is a terrible message that has serious effects, not only on our sport but on our society and I don't think that's acceptable. Your desire to win can be expressed in a lot of other ways that are productive."
ISN'T THAT JUST PART OF KYLE'S QUIRKY PERSONALITY? "I'm mean, everybody is different. I can't speak for him specifically but I can speak for the message. If I'm going to send a message for my daughter or kids or fans of mine, I want the message to be that (it) is not by any stretch of the imagination the true definition of the most desired, most passionate way to win. You want to show me desire and passion to win it's when nobody is watching. That's what desire and passion is to win. So, I would say to anyone who wants to aspire to be great in this sport or in life, that's what they should be looking at and that's the message we should be sending to kids and other people in society and the sport."
YOU'RE HEADING BACK TO YOUR HOME TRACK IN A FEW WEEKS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT GOING BACK AND RACING AT MICHIGAN? "I'm looking forward to it. We've ran second or third there the last six races it feels like. It's probably not six races but that's what it feels like. We've got a great shot at breaking through and getting our first win there. It would mean the world to me and it's only a few weeks away. Hopefully we can do just that."
CAN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT POCONO NEXT WEEK? "Pretty close to Michigan with our finishes. Just real consistent top threes. We only had the one win but feel like we could have had three or four and that's what we're going to strive to do. Last year I think we lost on on fuel mileage and rain. That's the way it goes. We've been really good there. Right now there isn't anywhere we go where I don't feel we're super competitive and able to win."
WHY WERE YOU GUYS SO GOOD YESTERDAY AND JOEY (LOGANO) SEEMED SO OFF? "I'm not quite sure. I don't have great answers for you. I know Joey and I talked about it and I'm here to help his team any way that I can. I couldn't give a great answer. If we knew we'd probably fix that."
--- Ford Performance ---