NSCS: Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Media Day (Keselowski)

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/OnPitRoad.com

Ford Performance NSCS Notes & Quotes:
NASCAR Chase Media Day
Thursday September 17, 2015

Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano participated in the annual NASCAR Chase Media Day from downtown Chicago Thursday afternoon. Both drivers spoke with members of the media throughout the day.

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “I think the key to restarts is consistency. If NASCAR wants to kind of let it play out on the race track then they need to continue to do that. If they don’t, then they need to make it a point to say that everything that has gone on to date is not okay. The ball is in their court.”

ROGER PENSKE WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW BLANEY GOT NAILED FOR JUMPING A RESTART AT BRISTOL, BUT THERE ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN THE TOWER. DO YOU EXPECT INCONSISTENCY? “You do understand some but not all because it is still NASCAR. It is the NASCAR Camping World Truck series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Even though there are different people in the tower from time to time I think we take that for granted.”

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE AN ELECTRONIC SYSTEM? “Well, when you look at any kind of sanctioning body, you always want to see them have the best tools possible to see them eliminate any kind of gray area when judging a rules infraction. That way it eliminates any suspicion that someone might undertake that there is favoritism being played so I think that is probably in the best interest of the sport.”

WOULD THAT BE A DISADVANTAGE FOR YOU? “I don’t think there is any advantage. I have said it before but I still view restarts as rock-paper-scissors and you have to counter the moves of the person next to you. As has happened it starts with the leader and the zone not being allowed to dictate it. If the guy in second place is lagging back then the only defense to that is to go early, both of which are illegal by the definition. Neither of which have been consistently called as an infraction. If one guy lags back and beats you when you do everything legal, then you have to defend it. That is your job. I felt like as the leader at Darlington I probably had half a dozen or more attempts at controlling the restart and I kept the lead the majority but not 100-percent of the time. The few times where I lost the lead it was very obvious that the car next to me had lagged back significantly and there was no call made. That forces your hand the next time you have the lead to do something to react to it. In a sense it is kind of vigilante justice. That is just how you have to play it.”

IF WE SHOWED ALL OF YOU DRIVERS A RESTART IN A ROOM TOGETHER, WOULD YOU ALL AGREE ON WHAT WAS LEGAL AND WHAT WAS NOT? “I think they would all agree with what happened but not what is legal.”

IT SEEMS EVEN HARDER TO PASS THIS YEAR. AS FAR AS CHASE STRATEGY, DOES IT MAKE IT MORE OF A TRACK POSITION AND PIT ROAD GAME? “I think we have seen all season long that pit road and restarts have a greater impact on deciding the race winner and I would expect that to continue, yes.”

WOULD YOU LIKE NASCAR TO GIVE YOU BACK POWER AS THEY TAKE AWAY DOWNFORCE? “Yes, I would be happy if we had any kind of package that deemphasized track position.”

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THIS SECOND YEAR OF THIS FORMAT TO BE DIFFERENT? “I don’t expect it to be different. I expect it to look very similar to how it was last year.”

WHAT LESSONS CAN YOU TAKE FROM LAST YEAR AND APPLY TO THIS YEAR? “Nothing. It is another year and I don’t feel like there was anything that I would have done different.”

DID IT PLAY OUT DIFFERENT THAN YOU EXPECTED LAST YEAR? “In the sense that we had some mechanical failures. That was the only thing that played out differently than I expected.”

LAST YEAR YOU HAD A LOT OF TOP-FIVE FINISHES GOING INTO THE CHASE, THIS YEAR YOU DON’T HAVE AS MANY BUT JOEY HAS QUITE A FEW. IS THAT AN INDICATOR OF CHASE SUCCESS? “It seems to be a little bit different but every season there are always cycles right? I would say we had a very poor cycle through the early summer where we weren’t where we wanted to be but the last few weeks we have been right where we want to be, so I wouldn’t weigh too much into that. Once you get into these 10 races with these brackets it doesn’t matter what you have done, only what you are about to do.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO WIN A SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP? “What is it now, 30 drivers that have won Sprint Cup championships? And of those, I think only 15 or 16 have won multiples. I think that shows how hard it is to be a champion, especially a repeat champion. It would mean the world to me to win another one. It is an opportunity to really distinguish yourself on another level if you can win a second championship. For me, that would kind of make it all make sense.”

WILL THERE BE AN EVEN BIGGER BEER GLASS READY FOR YOU IF YOU WIN A SECOND ONE? “We will have to find out when we get there.”

THE CHASE FIELD SEEMS TO BE DOMINATED BY OLDER GUYS. HISTORICALLY 20-SOMETHINGS DON’T WIN TITLES. WHY IS THAT? “I think it is a maturation process in your 20’s that you don’t have the experience and don’t have the maturity to lead a team. That is why Logano is such a standout because he does and he is 24 or 25. So, for him to be able to do that is very special.”

DO YOU THINK THAT TREND WILL CONTINUE? “Absolutely. Not into the 50’s but I think late 30’s is definitely your prime in Cup.”

YOU AND JOEY ARE THE ONLY FORD DRIVERS IN THE CHASE. IS THERE ANY ADDED PRESSURE TO PERFORM FOR THE MANUFACTURER? “No. I don’t view it that way. I feel the pressure to deliver even if there were 10 Ford’s it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

TALK ABOUT RACING AT CHICAGO AND WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THAT TRACK? “I like racing at Chicago and it has been a good track for us which certainly helps. It has an interesting balance of a lot of banking and a lot of speed but a lot of falloff in the cars. It is abrasive and bumpy. I like that duel demand.”

YOU MADE A REALLY GUTSY MOVE LAST YEAR TO GET THE WIN AT CHICAGO. WILL YOU HAVE TO MAKE THOSE KIND OF MOVES TO GET THIS DONE AGAIN? “I don’t think you will win the championship just letting it come to you. You will have to go get it.”

IF THE SEASON GOES IN CYCLES, WOULD YOU SAY THE GIBBS TEAM HAS PEAKED TOO EARLY? “It is never fair to say someone has peaked too early. I feel like maybe we did last year but you never know how long you are going to hold on to it. You might as well just peak when you can.”

THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO GET TO HOMESTEAD, THROUGH WINS OR THROUGH CONSISTENCY. WHICH SITUATION DO YOU WANT TO BE IN? “The situation you always want to be in is to be able to win, especially the first race in every bracket and then Homestead. If you can take that approach, I think anyone would.”

IS THERE A PARTICULAR TRACK YOU LOOK AT AND THINK OF IT AS THE ONE THAT COULD DO YOU IN? “I think everyone looks at Talladega and feels like it will be a tough one to stomach, but that is part of it.”

LAST YEAR THEY CALLED THE CONTENDER ROUND THE HEARTBREAK ROUND. “Yeah, I do think the Contender Round is the most difficult round with Kansas being a track where we saw a lot of issues, Talladega is a wild card race and Charlotte is perhaps the best chance to control your fate and that is only one of the three races.”