NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Advocare 500
Topics: Advocare 500
November 11, 2012
MATT HUMPHREY: We're joined now by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Brad Keselowski, driver of the No.2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing. Brad takes a 20‑point lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup going into next week's finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. Talk about where you are in the points and how that makes you feel heading into Homestead Miami.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, certainly if you have the choice you always want to be in the lead of the points, especially in the closing races, so I'm thankful for that. But I also know that the troubles that they had are the same troubles that we could have next week, and so you try not to take anything for granted. You try to just focus on what lies ahead, and we've got to do the best job we can at Homestead. That's where my focus is.
Q. What went through your mind when you threaded the needle right there at the end? I mean, there was just crazy stuff going in every direction.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, I thought I had gotten this close and I was going to wreck before and stop before the start‑finish line, so I just hit the gas as hard as I could thinking that I would just bounce off enough walls like a game of pong to make it across the start‑finish line, and that would be it. Somehow the car straightened itself back out and I made it back around. I don't even know what happened; I've got to watch the replay of that.
Q. When did you learn about Jimmie's condition? Did Paul radio you?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I didn't know until I drove by and he was on pit road. I knew somebody had blown out a right front tire based on the marks on the wall and the damage, so I didn't know until I drove by and saw a black car on pit road and saw the right side tore up on it, and I put two and two together.
Q. What were you thinking?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I was saying I can't wait to hear all the conspiracy theories. That's what I was thinking, yeah. Because I'm sure maybe five years from now if I end up winning this thing there will be somebody that goes remember Phoenix when such‑and‑such laid down thumbnail tacks and blew out Jimmie's tire? That was what I was thinking; what conspiracy story is somebody going to come up with? It might be Mulhern, I don't know. (Laughter.) I was just trying to think what's the wildest one I could come up with, and then I thought, well, next thought was that could very easily be me, and I'd better manage my car and my tires to make sure it's not.
Q. You seem unusually subdued for having this big a points lead. Would you be happier if you would have won the race and Johnson would have finished second or third?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely. I felt like we had a race winning car and I wanted to take the points lead by winning a race and not relying on a failure. But sometimes that's not how the sport works and you have to accept that. I'm more just disappointed in the quality of racing that we saw today. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, and I was ashamed to be a part of it.
Q. You were in the car and said something like if I ever do something like that just come out here and slap me in the face or hit me in the head. What most offended you about what happened out there?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, it's the double‑standard that I spent a whole week being bashed by a half a dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I'm out of control and have a death wish, and then I see bullshit like that. That's fucking bullshit. That's all you can call that. These guys just tried to kill each other. You race hard and I get called an asshole for racing hard and called with a death wish, and I see shit like that, and it just pisses me off.
I'm not yelling at you, Dave, but it's just fucking ridiculous, and they should be ashamed. It's embarrassing.
Q. I'm wondering where to go with this.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I would hope that Mike is probably in the hauler saying the same thing. Maybe not. I don't know. Well, he was, I hope.
Q. I don't disagree with you, but I wanted to ask you about the end there. You got hit there at the end. You said why do we have to kill ourselves to get a good finish. What should have been done differently there?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I mean, the retaliation is out of control in this sport. We've got a bunch of drivers that feel like they have to retaliate or they're being challenged as a man, and that's ridiculous. It's not what this sport needs. I don't think it's good for anybody, and it's going to get somebody hurt.
You know, I've said before we walk a line between chess players and daredevils, and we're not walking it very well. I don't know why that is. I certainly don't blame NASCAR for that. They're not driving the cars.
But it just drives me absolutely crazy that I get lambasted for racing somebody hard without there even being a wreck and then you see stuff like this, and that's okay, from the same people that criticized me. And that's okay. It's okay to just take somebody out, but you race somebody hard, put a fender on somebody and try to go for the win, and you're an absolute villain, and that's ridiculous.
But then we can just go out and retaliate against each other and come back in and smile about it, and it's fine. That's not what this sport needs. It needs hard racing, it needs people that go for broke, try to win races and put it all out there on the line, not a bunch of people that have anger issues. That's not good for anybody, and it really hurt my feelings to be a part of a Chase race for the championship and have that jeopardized from people that can't keep control of their emotions.
Q. I'm not certain because of the crazy number, the sequence there, but I think at one point there was supposed to be two to go there and you were told over the radio expect the worst.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, something along those lines.
Q. As a driver what are your instincts there, because there was a couple times there where with Jimmie out of the race and in the garage you probably shouldn't have been mixing it up, so with the way everything was going, what are your instincts there? Are you fading back? What are you doing?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I mean, you're just trying not to be the cause. It's like running at Talladega. You can complain all you want about pack racing and being in the big wreck, but you don't have to cause it. And that's where I was at. I was just trying not to be the cause of my own undoing. You can't control whether it happens or not, and you certainly can't play defense in this sport because it will bite you, and I wasn't about to play defense, but I was just trying not to be the cause of my own demise.
Q. What I wanted to ask you about was in the previous wreck, just the fact that as a race car driver it had to be a little bit unusual when you come out and you're racing for position and a car that is much slower than everybody else, you barely missed that wreck, but it's not the usual thing you come across when you race the guy in front of you. Was there anything panicky about coming along there? That doesn't happen every day.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I mean, I try really hard not to panic in the car. I didn't panic in that situation. I just put myself in a position where no matter how it went down I was going to be okay, and that's thankfully that's how it played out, to where I was okay. I'd been briefed I guess two laps prior that that was going to happen, and so I was prepared.
Q. It's the last year, the last season with the Dodge and Chrysler group. I'm sure it's a little bit bittersweet. Can you tell us the emotion of Chrysler or the Fiat group, you win the championship and then they are gone, they're leaving the series?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I don't know exactly how they feel about it. I would hope that they come back as soon as possible, but I really haven't had those conversations. I would love to see that happen. I think it's important for the sport to have as manyparticipating manufacturers as possible, especially one that fits the sport as Dodge does. I don't have a good feel for their vibe on it, but I hope to see them back soon.
Q. A lot of right front failures sending guys into the wall. I think after one of those you guys took less. Any concern about right front failures?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely, I was concerned the whole race. It's funny you say that because in the back of my mind we had a long run where I think I was chasing down the leaders, and I thought to myself, well, we haven't seen any right front issues in a while and I can probably push the car really hard here and not have to worry about it, and as soon as I said that to myself and ran about another three or four laps, that's when somebody would blow out a right front tire. So yes, certainly I was very concerned about it. I know Goodyear is, as well. That's why we had the tire test here a couple weeks ago, to try and be better for next year, and hopefully that will be the answer.
Q. There was no chance that (inaudible) could go wrong?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Oh, there's always a chance that things can go wrong, but it's my job to manage that.
Q. I just want to clarify, was there anything that went on before the Gordon turned into Bowyer thing that had angered you even before that?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No, I mean, I think just the way the race finished was‑‑
Q. Just the fact that because this is a championship and you could have almost gotten caught up in it?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely, yeah. I think we all have to have a certain level of respect for each other in order for this sport to put on the quality of show that our fans deserve. But we also have to have an inner passion and desire to win, and those two have to be balanced with each other. They're here and they're here, and it's out of control.
Q. Kind of following up on that balance, there will probably be many fans who will say that was the best race of the year because of the fight in the garage and all that other stuff. Can you comment on that a little bit?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely people want to see drama, but the best drama is the drama that is an influence, the performance and the result of the race for the lead. I think many people would say that one of the best races ever in NASCAR history would have been a couple of them with Dale Sr. at Bristol in the late '90s and mid '90s for a good reason, because it was a wreck and a fight for the win, not for a retaliation for sixth place or whatever it might be. That's completely different.
MATT HUMPHREY: Thanks for joining us today, and we will see you next week in Homestead Miami Speedway.
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