NASCAR Nationwide Series: Indiana 250
Topics: Indiana 250
July 28, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We're joined in the media center by race winner Brad Keselowski. This is his third victory of the season. He's the driver of the No.22 Discount Tire Dodge, and he's the winner of the inaugural Indiana 250 here at the Brickyard. Talk about that win and just being a part of the first victory here.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Just a special day. The Brickyard means so much to all of us as race car drivers and to the sport in general, and it transcends three different forms of auto racing, whether it's IndyCar in the United States, F1 and their history here, and then obviously with stock cars and their initial time here to the current date, from '94 on, it transcends into a special victory or a special place to race I should probably say. I'm glad to be some small part of that with winning the inaugural Nationwide race here and hope I can be a big part of that history by being able to win tomorrow and pull off a double. That would be extremely special to me, and I would really enjoy that.
But just a great day, and full of some challenges for sure. Trying to beat Kyle Busch was going to be very tough on our own with speed, but my team persevered on pit road, had an excellent pit stop that beat him off pit road and gave us an opportunity to capitalize, and then in traffic it came down to me making the right moves and catching the right breaks and so forth, and we were able to capitalize, and I think what's what great teams do, they capitalize on opportunity, and we had that today with the 22 Discount Tire Dodge.
KERRY THARP: Crew chief Jeremy Bullins, talk about just how the team performed out on pit road and obviously was a big part of today's win.
JEREMY BULLINS: Absolutely. That last pit stop our guys beat everybody out on four tires. There were some guys that took two tires where we felt like with as many laps as there were to go, four tires was the way to go. Our guys stepped up and beat everybody off pit four. We were the first car on four tires, and that was really the difference. Brad got a good restart, got to the lead, and that was pretty much it.
Q. Brad, can you tell us about that last restart? Did you spin your tires and did Sam bump ahead?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: It happened really fast, and I don't have a complete picture of what happened, so it's hard for me to make a statement about it. But I can tell you my perception of it was I got a push from Sam, and it was a little more than I could take, and certainly I wasn't going full throttle but I was not in the zone when Elliott took off. It appeared that Elliott got a push from behind, as well, and maybe he just couldn't slow down, I don't know. I don't know how it all played out.
I think NASCAR has made it a point to say that they're not going to measure down to a millimeter on who beats who to the restart line, they just want it to be close and fair. It was obvious that the 2 car I believe it was, which is kind of hard to say because it's my number on the Cup side, that Elliott beat us by more than that. So that's NASCAR's call as far as how it all worked out in the box and so forth. It's very difficult to say from my view, and I'd like to see a full replay to kind of verify some of the things that I saw.
But obviously NASCAR saw something they didn't like and made a call accordingly, and that's their job.
Q. For being a two‑and‑a‑half‑mile track, this place really does put an emphasis on momentum when you're actually going to make a pass, and when you made the pass for the lead, it almost looked as though you held up a little bit going through 1 and 2 so you got the run off of 2 to make the pass. Does that take a special kind of discipline to be able to kind of hold back and get the throttle down at the right time to make the pass?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think any racer who has any success will tell you that racing requires a lot of discipline and a lot of aggression, and knowing which one to use and when to use it is critical to your success, and certainly passes here at Indy are no exception.
I believe you're talking about passing Sam for the lead. Being able to get by Sam was a critical moment for us in the race. He had a very fast race car, as did we, and we had four tires and he had two at that point, and we needed to get by him before another yellow came out, and it kind of evened us out.
So certainly I was hustling to make that happen as quickly as possible. At that time the 54 was still quite a threat to win the race, and it just came down to executing the move I needed to execute to win the race, and that was it.
Q. On that restart, were you thinking, well, they've got to penalize Sadler, or were you just like I don't know what they're going to do, I just need to keep racing?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think my spotter said it best, you've got to look forward and keep pushing because there was no guarantee that there was going to be a reaction, and so I did.
Q. Did you think they should?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Like I said, I don't have enough‑‑ I didn't have enough info to really make a great call on how I felt about it, not to form a solid opinion.
Q. You get to tease Roger about not being here; will you reward him with his first NASCAR‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: You're damned right I will. I don't know how to answer it any more than that. I don't know how many wins‑‑ how many wins is this for him, like 18?
Q. Was this his 100th NASCAR?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Didn't they say it was like 18th? Okay, so this would be his 16th win? I got his one Indy win he wasn't here for. How about that? Or 100th stock car win? I don't know if that counts ARCA wins. There's some ARCA races in there, and I know that kind of messes up the trivia.
Q. How long do you think it'll take before he finds out?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I don't know, I'm not sure. Somebody said he was still in the air.
Q. I understand he's out of communication.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I have no idea. You know probably better than I do.
Q. Do you text him?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No, he has a way of finding these things out.
Q. I'm sure there's a Bat Phone on the plane.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I'm sure there is, too.
Q. When you were young up in Michigan, did you ever come down to the track as a youngster or anything?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: The first time I came to the Brickyard I came just to check out the museum. I think that was 2003. You know when you pull through that tunnel what a special place you've entered. I can't say that I've had opportunities to race here other than on the Cup side here starting in 2010, but I'm proud of the opportunities we've had and the way we've been able to have some success, especially here today.
Q. Jeremy, ordinarily it seems to me that if something goes wrong in a pit call, crew chiefs get more blame than they get the credit for the win, so just how does it feel, you've executed very well the last couple of races with Brad, and how does that feel for you and your team building when you make calls that result in days like today?
JEREMY BULLINS: Well, you know, we started the year off bringing good cars to the racetrack, and we had some little things go wrong, and we knew if we could ever get it going all together that this is what could happen. We've kind of gotten on a little roll lately, and it feels good for your work to pay off, and certainly it's good, but it's not just me. Like I said, the whole company, I mean, to finish one‑two with two brand new race cars and great pit crews, and top to bottom it was just a great weekend.
Q. Jeremy, with this being the inaugural race, and obviously the cars are similar to a Cup car but they're different, what did you pull off from a resource standpoint to set up this initial car when it came off the truck to have it at least be in the ballpark?
JEREMY BULLINS: Well, I was fortunate enough that I've been in the Cup Series for a while now as a race engineer, so I've been coming here instead of where the Nationwide Series had been racing at RP, so my most recent experience was from here. We finished second here a couple years ago, the team I was working with.
I love this place and have had this on the calendar since I took the job, and knowing that it was the first race we knew we were going to do everything we could to be sitting right here, and it feels really good that it happened. It's just one of those things where no matter what it is, it's still a race car, and we all sit down and put our heads together and say, okay, what do we think will work for Indy, and that's what we shot for, and today it worked out.
KERRY THARP: Guys, congratulations on winning the inaugural Indy 250 and good luck tomorrow.
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