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Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing - Q&A

Roger, you're a veteran in racing that understands the ebbs and flows of your entire operation. What have you done over the course of the last 30 races to let your driver and your crew chief know that confidence you had in them to get to where they finally got to tonight?

Roger Penske:
Well, I think it starts at the beginning of the year when we set the team up. I had the confidence because coming off the championship last year obviously we had a professional organization, a group that pulled together.

When I look at the season, and I'm communicating with Paul and certainly Brad and the team on a daily basis, we talked about little things that maybe we hadn't done so well. But I think reliability, if you look at the fuel system and things like that that we had to deal with this year, and certainly the new car. I'd say reliability.

And my concern was we needed to get on top of those things, and there was no excuses from the crew. Obviously when I saw some of the pit work we've had over the last several weeks, we sat down as a group here about a week ago after New Hampshire and took our top 10 people and we set a pretty strong agenda for where we're going, and I think a byproduct of some of that we saw tonight.

We knew we had good cars and we've got the best drivers; it was a matter of executing. I never lost confidence, and I'm a guy, glass half full, not half empty. I wanted to see Brad get a win. He didn't want to go through this season after being a champion, you saw when Tony Stewart got his win here before he had his accident what it meant to him, and I think I've seen that in the past.

We did get Joey in the Chase. That was a big hard run, and if Brad would have had the reliability here at the end, he'd have been in, too. To me, Kyle Busch didn't get in last year, I think Gordon didn't get in one year, too. You've got some great drivers sometimes that don't make it. That doesn't mean they've lost anything, it's just the way it works out. This is a very competitive sport, every aspect of it is, and at the end of the day you have some winners and losers. Tonight we were a winner.

Q:
You've talked about what kept you going throughout this season, but what about from a mental aspect? The deeper you go into the year, missing the Chase, everything that could go wrong seemingly has gone wrong. From a mental aspect some drivers talk about losing confidence. Was there anything for you during the year that you thought about, or where was your mind at? And then what's the relief now that you won't go winless coming off of the championship?

Brad Keselowski:
Well, first off, I've read your articles before and I never knew who you were, so now I know who Kelly Crandall is. Nice to meet you.

Obviously it's a relief, because you're right, going into the off-season and having to answer those questions, not just from the media but those questions come up from yourself, they're not fun. They're not fun at all. Now we obviously don't have to do that. When the moment came where it was obvious we did not make the Chase, which by the way was about 50 to go at Richmond, from that moment on I looked forward, I didn't look back, and I don't look back unless someone asks me to look back. Like I said, it's not productive. But obviously you still need to have success and carry some momentum into the next season, and I think that's what we did today, and that's, like I said, the monkey we got off our back, so to speak.

But I do think this is a really key moment for us. This is not as big a clutch win as it would be if we would have won Richmond, but still a clutch moment in a very important scenario, in front of the hometown guys. We had a lot of sponsors, a lot of team guys here tonight with their families like I said earlier, and to be able to win in front of them, and the boss is here, too, I forgot about that part, I got a win in front of him. But that's important, and we showcased that we're capable of getting that done if we all just put it together when it counts.

Q:



Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS finished 4th and Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished 7th Saturday, October 12, 2013 in the Bank of America 500 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Johnson is 2nd, Gordon is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 12, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, April 24, 2015 for Saturday evening`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Harvick is the points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, races Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Autotrader Ford, sit on the apron after an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, races during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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