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Keselowski cites Senna as inspiration

"I haven't spoken that much with the Indy guys," responded Keselowski, brushing off Johnson's mind games. "I saw Will a couple weeks ago but that's about it. I mean they've got their own lives and things going on. They know how significant this is to RP, absolutely."

Keselowski is very close to Penske ever since he persuaded the Captain that they would win a championship together should Penske sign him up as a driver for the team.

"Well, I won him one!" laughed Keselowski, referring back to their 2010 success in the Nationwide Series. "I felt very confident that if Roger and I worked together that it was just a matter of time before we'd be successful, if we truly worked together, not just, you know, hire me, throw me in the seat and let's go but truly work together with a common goal that I just talked about in the previous question. And I feel like that's how we've been able to be successful."

Delivering a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship to Penske would mean something of a different order of magnitude altogether for both driver and owner, Keselowski admitted.

"To win a championship for Roger would certainly be a huge accomplishment considering everything he's been through in American motorsports and beyond," he explained. "You look at his legacy in the sport and you can't help but feel that he's been a little bit slighted on the NASCAR side. We'd like to get that job done, and I think we have the opportunity to do it. I think we have the team and car, and it's just a matter of putting all the pieces together."

While Johnson is on the back foot after a flat tyre put him in the wall at Phoenix, Keselowski also has to bounce back from being penalised for a rules infringement at the end of last weekend's race. He was fined $25,000 and put on NASCAR probation for using his mobile phone to tweet messages from his car while the field was stopped under a red flag. He was also criticised (but not penalised) for his use of language in post-race remarks in which he attacked the "ridiculous" on-track antics of Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer which had caused the stoppage.

He denied that either had proved a distraction in the build-up to the Homestead-Miami showdown: "They're just kind of neutral to me - other than the money, I'd really like to have that back!" he smiled. "I didn't really apologize, per se, for the remarks. I apologised for the vulgarity but the remarks I stand behind. And I believe, with a passion, that our sport needs a level in intensity that we saw at Phoenix. It needs that on the track in a battle for the win and a battle for position, not in a battle in the garage."

As for the issue of whether he would back down from his use of social media in future, Keselowski said no - but he would have to be more careful about what he took into the car in future."I think it means that you can still be involved in social media, but I think NASCAR has certainly said that they want to draw a line as to what you can do specifically in the car, and I think that's what it means for the future," he explained.

The reason for the fine is that NASCAR bans the use of digital communications devices in the car that can't be monitored by race control, in case teams use it to send instructions or technical information to their driver. Keselowski dismissed suggestions that the team could send him data on the electronic fuel injection (EFI) usage of the car that could have helped him at the restart after the red flag.

"You have to understand how that system works to know that that's not a possibility," he insisted. "With technology in general, it is possible but not with the system that NASCAR utilises.” Even so, Keselowski admitted that it's something that could become an issue down the line, and he could understand NASCAR wanting to draw a firm line in the sand as early as possible.




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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet speaks with members of the media during the NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2012 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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