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Ford Media Center
Ford Finishing Results:
1st – Brad Keselowski
5th – Elliott Sadler
7th – Darrell Wallace Jr.
11th – Chris Buescher
14th – Ryan Reed
17th – Dakoda Armstrong
DARRELL WALLACE JR. – No. 6 EcoBoost Ford Mustang – WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE 33? “That was something small. What a hell of a day for us, though. This is the type of speed that we need going into these next 15 weeks and I can’t thank my guys enough. The Ford EcoBoost Mustang was on rails in our own little league. We couldn’t get the clean air to work with us, so we had to settle in for what we had, but I knew we had speed to run top three but we just couldn’t get up there. It was a strong day though, for sure.” YOUR STRATEGY AT THE END PAID OFF. “Yeah, that was a good call by my guys trying to get track position there. We took four. We were so free on the restarts and took four and were a little bit better, but got in some trouble there at the end that may have cost a spot or two, but that’s alright. We’ll take it and go on to Loudon.”
ELLIOTT SADLER – No. 1 OneMain Financial Ford Mustang – “It was a good night for us. The last month these guys have really come around. I’m just really proud of all the work everybody in the shop is doing for Roush Fenway. I don’t think we’ve given them enough praise the last couple months. They’ve worked their butts off. We’re starting to get some new cars to the track and it’s paying off for us. I’m proud of Phil and the guys. They’re working their butts off and it’s starting to show on the race track and that’s the main thing.” YOU GUYS WORKED ON THE CAR ALL NIGHT AND GOT IT BETTER. “Yeah, we did and we made some good adjustments there during the middle of the race. We got off a little bit towards the end and then the last adjustment with two tires, Phil did a good job where I could race these guys for a top-five. That’s good for us here. We’re gonna take it and grow from this and move on.”
CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 60 Cheez-It Ford Mustang – “It was a good points night overall for our Cheez-It Mustang, so from a big picture standpoint it worked out pretty good. It was a long night trying to find the balance. We bounced around it a lot, but never quite got what we needed. The guys worked hard. Scott had some good strategy there that got us a couple positions at the end and really helped put us in a good spot to be on the lead lap at the end.” DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE DODGED A COUPLE BULLETS THE LAST TWO WEEKS? “At Daytona we dodged a bullet and were able to get a little bit lucky and hold there at the end. Today, I don’t think it was luck, it was just a good job by the guys on top of the pit box to get us a good spot.” DID YOU FIGURE OUT THE VIBRATION? “We’re not exactly sure what it was, but we seemed to chase most of it out. We still had a little bit in the shifter handle there at the end. We’ll figure it out when we get back to the shop. On pit road during the first stop I had to throw it into reverse, so it could be something there.”
WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE
GREG ERWIN, Crew Chief – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – WHAT WAS THE KEY TONIGHT? “Over and over again we’ve seen Brad, not just last year, but certainly the 2013 season rack up a bunch of wins here in the XFINITY Series. I know this is a special place for him and when he sits down and works the schedule out with Penske management he makes sure that Kentucky Speedway is on his list. I know how bad he likes to race here and I know how much he wanted to win here. He came up just a little short last year. The weather really threw us all a curveball – everybody in the XFINITY garage – with a new tire this time around – left and right side tire for us all – and to only have a 55-minute practice session was really tough on everybody. I’ve got to really commend my team and the engineering staff for sticking with us there and purging through it. The coolest part, I found myself being a bit of a race fan there at the end and watching two really, really good guys go at it with obviously very, very fast race cars. I thought the fans got their money’s worth and sitting where I was sitting I was on pins and needles. I thought the last pit stop was critical. The amount of cars that took two tires gave us probably just enough buffer to the 54 and then obviously Erik had a heckuva restart and does a great job every time he gets inside that car, so to watch Brad run him down and navigate lap traffic like he did was part of the key and it’s always part of the key in the XFINITY Series, getting through traffic and pick your lines and have a car that will work not only on the bottom but on the top. You kind of have to go where they’re not in the closing stages of these races and I’ve watched him for two years do it better than anybody, so the trophy is dynamite. He talked about it in the truck several times before the race. I think that was part of his motivation. It’s dynamite.”
YOU USED CODE WORDS LIKE BLUE MOON, TANGO AND NOVEMBER. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM AND DOES IT CHANGE? “Yeah, the code is fairly original on a weekly basis. We kind of pick a theme and go with it. Brad kind of studies those a little bit at the start of the race and there are only one or two of those cards made, so the pit crew gets told what we’re gonna do in plain English, but Brad and I over the radio – and the spotter – will communicate with some of the theme-based codes that you hear. That’s kind of worked for us. Sometimes you only get to stop two or three times a race in these XFINITY races, so making sure that the guys don’t necessarily know what you’re doing is just a strategy play.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – “The racing was cool, but that jukebox is cool as hell. I’m really pumped about the jukebox. That’s awesome. I think more tracks should have cool trophies. I’m a little giddy about the jukebox, but I’ve always wanted one and I got one for winning a race. It just seems perfect. We had a good car tonight and I think probably the top three were all real close, probably a little give or take here or there run to run when the sun was out, tires, whatever it might be. Kyle and I at one point had kind of stretched out a pretty good lead over Erik, and maybe I built up a little bit of a false sense of confidence because when Erik got by me there on that last restart I thought, ‘We’ll get right back by him,’ and it was not easy. Erik drove a great race and I was able to hang with him just enough to pressure him and he got in a bad spot with a lapped car there, not really of his own fault, just part of racing, and when it happened I was able to just jump all over it. That’s a credit to Greg and the team for having a great car to where we could make the most of the opportunity, and I feel very, very humbled and proud to get to drive a car this good year in and year out at the XFINITY Series level. I’ve been in situations where the cars weren’t that way, believe me, and to know every time you get in the car you have a shot at winning every race every season that’s really, really awesome and something to be proud of. To hit that 50-win number for Roger is special. I don’t know how many of those are mine, but I hope most of them are. I’d like to tell something to Roger the next time I see him, maybe get a raise, but it’s been fun and we’ll keep racing them. I think this is really a key win for me. I was kind of reflecting in victory lane. I’ve really changed the XFINITY schedule over the last four or five years of what I run, from full-time in 2010 to I think I ran 24-25 in ’11 and slowly have been reducing. This year is the least amount of races I’ve ever run at the XFINITY Series level with the lions share being towards the middle and end of the season, where usually I run towards the start and early middle. It feels really good to get back in the car and I feel like I’m a good driver, but when you get in this car and win that confidence, that momentum, you just feel it in your soul, you feel it in your body and that energy that you have it just really feels special and I’m very pumped about this win today and feeling very much like we can carry it into tomorrow. I honestly think my Cup car is just as good, so we’re ready.”
WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND ON THE FINAL RESTART? “What was going through my mind was I had control of the restart and lost it, so I was more so frustrated with myself than anything else and trying to lose as little bit as I can. I was lucky to hang on to second when it all kind of shook, and by being able to hang on to second that put me in position to really work over Erik and capitalize on the opportunity and struck at the end. I was just trying to minimize the damage of a poor restart on my part.”
GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – “Tough call – two tires, four tires. With the number of cars on the lead lap I knew the guys from fifth, sixth and back were gonna come and put tires on. I considered staying out knowing that you know this place has been track position quite a bit, but have watched Brad just over the short period of time I’ve been a part of Penske Racing really kind of thrives on that moment. The two-tire, get him out there and probably both thought it would be more cars that took two tires, which would have put a little bigger buffer between ourselves and Kyle, and he alludes to the restarts and how critical they are, but being able to hold second place and then watch Erik kind of work lap traffic, we knew we had thirty-some-odd laps to go, so at least half of a fuel run when it all shook out. Maybe we were a second back and he knew what he had to do there, and I’ve watched him for two years now do that kind of stuff the last 20 laps of a race, so I had a lot of confidence, but, again, as a race fan that was pretty cool and that’s what these folks come to see and I hope they enjoyed the show.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – DID YOU SEE THAT MOVE COMING OR WAS IT A SPLIT-SECOND DECISION? “I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to play out and just trying to be positioned for it. When it hit I wish there was a camera on my eyes because they lit up and I was pumped before I ever made the pass because I knew it was gonna be right there for the taking. Sometimes as a racer you’ve got to be a corner ahead and know what’s gonna happen before it happens and I just had a feeling, and got a corner ahead and that was all it took.”
WHAT SONG HAS TO BE ON YOUR NEW JUKEBOX? “Just one? That’s like the questions of all questions. I feel like a jukebox, and it’s not even a song that I really like that much, but every jukebox should have Jukebox Hero on it. I just feel like that’s mandatory, not even that it’s the best song ever, but a jukebox should definitely have that on there.”
YOU ARE NOW IN THE TOP-FIVE OF ALL-TIME XFINITY WINNERS. HOW DOES THAT FEEL, AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ERIK JONES? “Erik is doing a phenomenal job in everything that he’s racing right now. He’s got a lot to be proud of. His restart skills are top-notch, which I don’t know if you can really overstate. He’s done a great job everytime he’s had the opportunity to do it. I give him a lot of credit. He’s got a bright future and this one got away from him tonight, but he certainly has a lot to be proud of. It’s a cool stat (being in the top-five) and I didn’t know it was coming. Who is fourth? And how many wins ahead are they? I’m pretty sure Kyle is first and Mark is second. It’s still cool.”
WAS THE RESTART A CASE WHERE YOU PUSHED TOO HARD? “Restarts are a game of rock, paper, scissors. It doesn’t matter what your hand is it’s always beatable. I picked paper thinking I was gonna get rock and I got scissors, and that’s just the way it went. It doesn’t really matter who the driver is, if you give enough opportunities every driver is beatable on a restart. That’s just the way it is. It’s all about timing and how much you check it up, how much NASCAR lets you get away with, there’s a whole bunch of variables that are a part of it.”
YOU HAVE 27 OF THE 50 WINS. HOW MUCH PRIDE DOES IT GIVE YOU TO HAVE THESE ACCOMPLISHMENTS? “It’s been a good ride for sure, and to be a part of Team Penske is everything I ever dreamed of and more. I thought when I went to Roger Penske that we would have a shot at winning a lot of races and certainly a shot at winning championships, but we’ve got three XFINITY championships together and a Sprint Cup championship and I think we’ve got a lot more to go, I really do. I think the 22 car this year in owner’s points has a really good shot of bringing it home. I think we’ve got the lead by a little bit, and on the Cup side we have work to do for sure, but I feel like we’re gonna be right there in the hunt come Chase time – certainly being already qualified – but I’m really hungry to get some more championships and Team Penske has given me the opportunity to do that. I’m really, really thankful for that, so I guess I kind of look at it as they’ve done way more for me than I’ve done for them, but together we’re still very successful and I’m very proud of the relationship.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF JGR AND HOW THEY HAVE EVOLVED IN THE SERIES TO COMPETE WITH YOU? “They’ve obviously been in this series a little bit longer than Penske has with full-time efforts and so forth. We’re at one car and I think they’re at three teams, and it’s different approaches for sure. I don’t think one is better or worse than the other, but we’re proud of ours with having multiple drivers and so forth, but I think it’s a perennial contender for the championship and my guess is that Penske and Gibbs will go neck-and-neck for the XFINITY championship and the Cup championship for many years to come and in the end it’s our fans that benefit.”
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