Ford Mustang makes dramatic last lap pass at the Phoenix Nationwide Race

Category: Ford, Ford Racing
Tags: Racing

Phoenix-Nationwide-Race

Discount Tire Mustang and Brad Keselowski Make Dramatic Last Lap Pass to Win Phoenix Nationwide Race

Ford Finishing Order:

  • 1st – Brad Keselowski
  • 9th – Trevor Bayne
  • 12th – Chris Buescher
  • 19th – Ryan Reed
  • 21st – Dakoda Armstrong

Ford-Mustang

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford MustangVICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “It was kind of a shame.  He had the race won today, but the yellow came out.  I could understand if he was upset about that, but we didn’t give up.  Kyle was really fast and probably had a tenth or two on everybody and then that yellow came out and I don’t know what happened.  It’s like we grabbed a gear or he slowed down, I don’t know which one happened but either way we were able to get to victory lane with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang and another win with this group.  I’m really proud of everyone at Team Penske.  We’ll go to Homestead and Joey Logano is gonna drive this car and he can have a nice, cool, relaxed day and go win the championship, but that’s the way to finish it out for the year.  I’ve been proud to drive this car and humbled over the last few years to have an opportunity with a car and team this great, and what a way to finish out the year.”  AFTER ALL YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH THIS WEEK HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN?  “It feels good. It’s a little bit surreal.  I really didn’t know the race was over.  We were low on gas in that whole situation, but it’s been a heck of a week and hopefully we can pull this off again tomorrow.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang – “It could have been worse.  Our car was not very good in practice or qualifying, so I figured we would run 10th-15th and we stole a ninth today pretty much.  It just wasn’t there.  No grip and we couldn’t roll any speed through the center.  We’ll have to go back to work and try to find some short run speed at a short track.  I feel like we’ve gained on the mile-and-a-halves, so I’m looking forward to going to Homestead.”

CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 60 Roush Performance Parts Ford Mustang – “It was a long day, but we tried really hard.  My guys put in a great effort, but we just didn’t get the result we wanted.  We’ll look forward to Homestead and see if we can pull something off there.  It will be my first time there, so I don’t really know what to expect, but we should be good.”  WAS GRIP AN ISSUE?  “Yeah, we didn’t have rear grip or side bit.  It seems like my teammates were saying the same thing, so we’ll have to get to work and try to figure it out.”

RYAN REED – No. 16 ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes Ford Mustang – “We struggled with rear grip off and on.  We could get it tight, but then we would lose a lot of speed.  When we were at our best we were really free and it was just hard to work around guys and it was hard to pass.  It was just a tough day.  I made a mistake at the end and thought I had a tire going down after I used the cutoff and got a bunch of dirt on my tires.  That cost us a couple spots, but we’ll go back and work on it.  I think Trevor had a decent finish, but we were all frustrated throughout the weekend.  We took a lot of notes and tried to learn what we could, so we’ll go back and work from there.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI PRESS CONFERENCE

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – TALK ABOUT THE MOVE TO WIN TODAY.  “It was kind of a long day.  I thought Kyle was really, really good.  If you would have told me we were gonna pass him on the last restart I would have probably not thought that was gonna be the case.  I tried everything I could in turn one and I couldn’t keep pace with him.  I don’t know what happened in three and four, but I was able to get beside him coming off four here and it was a drag race into one and we were able to get out front and from there it was just bringing it home.  I think we have a great team.  This is my last race of the season driving the 22 car.  It’s been a heck of a year as was last year as was last year.  We’ve won five out of 10 races I’ve been in the car with a lot of seconds, thirds, fourths, so it’s been incredible.  I thought last year was great, but this year has been just as good.  I’m proud to have these opportunities.  It wasn’t too many years ago I was in a back-marker Nationwide car, so to be in a front-running car and to have great pit crews, a great crew chief and obviously a great team owner to provide all the resources, that’s the type of results you get from it.  I’m proud to be a part of it and it’s been a phenomenal year.  I’m gonna remember this one for a long time.”

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JEREMY BULLINS, Crew Chief – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – “I’m not gonna lie to you, we weren’t very good yesterday, so we were almost late getting in the inspection line this morning because we changed so many things just to try to get close.  Obviously, we got it a lot better.  We weren’t quite as good as the 54.  We knew our only shot was hoping for a late caution and give Brad a chance to do his thing and it worked out.  My hat’s off to all the guys who worked really hard on the car to get it better this weekend.  Everybody made real good decisions and put their heads together and came up with a good plan for the day.  It worked out for us and I’m just really proud of the effort and really proud of Brad’s effort and what Roger gives us to work with.”

ROGER PENSKE, Car Owner – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – “I congratulate Brad and the whole team for what they’ve accomplished so far this year.  We’re racing for the car owner’s championship in Nationwide and every point counts.  We’re racing with Kyle every weekend, so, to me, this was a doubleheader for us – first to have Brad have a chance to run on the track on on Saturday, that was probably the focus and then on the championship.  But I think Jeremy, he’s got a driving school going on here.  Everybody who gets in the car wins and today he proved that again.  I think Brad knows how to go when it’s time.  I think he’s a thinking driver.  You can see it out there when he has to chill out and just wait until he gets to make a pit stop and make a change, but as we saw last week and again this week he’s the guy to beat.  We’re 150 percent behind him.  He makes the right moves.  He’s a smart driver and obviously he’s not afraid to stand on the gas and as he says that’s what he gets paid the big bucks for.”

HOW CAN YOU GUARD AGAINST NOT HAVING A LETDOWN IN THE CUP RACE?  MATT KENSETH SAID LAST YEAR HE PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE RUN THE NATIONWIDE RACE.  “I can’t really speak for Matt, but for our program as it is with anything we do it’s about being surrounded by great people.  Now on the racing side specific to today in the Nationwide, that would be Jeremy and the team and what-not, but beyond that I feel like I’ve got a great staff of people, whether that’s Travis Geisler on the competition side and even simple people like Michael Ribas, who handles day-to-day stuff for me, bus drivers and doctors and all that.  It takes a whole team of people to keep it going and I think they’re all kind of instrumental to make that not so much a distraction as we hope it to be a benefit.  I think if we take nothing technical from today, which is always possible, at the very least the physical challenge is good for me.  It’s a little bit of a warm-up and the mental confidence of being able to win the day before is worth something.  I think for us I don’t expect that to be a problem and I feel, like I said before, fortunate to have a great car to race the day before.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – HOW MUCH CARRYOVER IS THERE FROM WINNING THIS RACE VS. FINISHING SECOND?  “I’m sure there’s something.  I don’t always know the answer beforehand.  Sometimes you don’t realize it until you get in the middle of the Cup race or you don’t even realize it all, but you know it’s there.  I think for us it’s been constant that this program has helped to serve our interests at the Cup level, so for that I just look at the results.  It’s hard to really pinpoint because I think it changes week to week and even sometimes season to season, so it’s something.  I don’t know how to measure it or quantify it.  It’s kind of like advertising, you know it works but you don’t really know how to measure it, so we’re proud of this program accordingly.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN THE CUP DRIVER’S TITLE, NATIONWIDE OWNER’S TITLE AND INDY CAR TITLE.  WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN ALL THREE?  “There’s no question if you’re putting yourself in that position has to be the teammates and the people sitting up here on the stage day in and day out.  It would be a great thing for Team Penske.  I’ve been in this business a long time, but when you look at the number of wins this year I think it’s our best year looking at today.  You asked the question about what does this do for us as we go forward.  Jeremy Bullins, Todd Gordon, Paul Wolfe, they all came up through this program, so if we did nothing else, and I think that was Brad’s equation that he brought to the team here a number of years ago.  I said let’s bring these guys up so they know us.  I guess we know the devil and you know how these guys will work with together and I think we build a much more solid team that way, rather than trying to go out and grab somebody from another team.  This is a well-built team with a strong foundation and obviously a world-class driver.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – WERE YOU AFRAID KYLE MIGHT USE THE BUMPER COMING BACK TO THE CHECKERED FLAG?  “They say objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.  I was looking in the mirror and I thought I had enough distance on him, but I wasn’t sure.  I don’t know to answer your question, but I guess anything is possible.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – IS CHASE ELLIOTT READY TO TAKE THE STEP TO CUP?  “He’s a great young driver and I think he’s got a mentor in his dad, which I’m sure will give him the right answer when it comes to where he goes next year.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – “I don’t think it could hurt.  I don’t know enough to really answer about his particular situation, but I know winning a championship is a good thing and he should be proud of that.  I think for today that should be what he’s thinking about and what everybody is talking about.”

WERE YOU CONSERVING FUEL AS THE GAP WIDENED AND DOES THIS GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW TO STRATEGIZE FOR THE CUP RACE TOMORROW?  “The fuel was very tight at the end.  We certainly did have to manage it, but also lap traffic was difficult to get through.  I think you’d see big swings in the gaps between cars based on how you get through lap traffic.  That’s part of the racing, but it’s a longer race tomorrow certainly has an effect.  The shadows here can be very, very difficult to drive with and you can probably see from out the press box how the shadows are coming down.  It’s very difficult to see into turn one, so that affects the track also with the speeds and the shade and the different corners. I would expect a longer race to have an impact with that probably more so than anything else and how that affects the cars and driving styles.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – WERE YOU HAPPY NONE OF YOUR GUYS WERE FINED OR PENALIZED LAST WEEK AND HOW DID YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM REACTED TO THE WHOLE SITUATION?  “I was as far away from there as I could be in Australia, so number one I didn’t see it firsthand, but I think Brad knew the situation he was in.  He was on probation from the previous situation and we had talked to our people and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to run the race.  We’re in the Chase.’  The pressure cooker is getting hotter and hotter and I take my hat off to our guys that they didn’t retaliate and it’s a shame because it was good racing and I think it gets overblown when things like this happen.  We’re in a sport that’s got a lot on the line.  When it’s on the line you’re gonna have drivers go for it.  Quite honestly, having the crew guys and everybody pumped up, that’s why they’re there, so, to me, it was a day that maybe it’s unfortunate in certain aspects, but we’ve moved on and I’m proud of my guys that they kept their gloves off.”

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DO YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO STAND UP FOR BRAD IN PLACES OTHER THAN THE MEDIA? “I think if we took a vote around the world on race drivers and took a look at what happened last week from the fans and other people, you made the right move.  I think as we started to unfold the specifics of last weekend we saw that what he did any other great driver would do.  I stand up for my drivers for good or bad, and I don’t do it more for Brad or anybody else, but listen, he’s world-class out there.  He’s shown it day in and day out.  He showed it again today and I think we’ve got to move on from that stuff.  As I said, tempers are gonna flare.  That’s OK.  We just have to be sure that it’s in a position where we don’t go overboard, and I think our guys from the standpoint of where they are understood what’s at stake last week and also this week.  The garage area is the garage area.  What I know is that the 350 people that work at Team Penske are 150 percent behind all of our drivers, including Brad, and that’s all I care for.”

WHERE DO YOU FALL ON THE QUESTION OF RESPECT VS. WINNING DEBATE?  “I’m not sure now that this thing turned into respect at the end of the week.  This is racing and quite honestly we expect a world-class driver to go for it.  From my perspective, this whole incident this past week from my business side of it was terrific because at the end of the day when people analyzed the situation they saw the facts.  I think you move on from those and, to me, I don’t know that ethics are even involved in it.  I think it’s a guy that’s racing and he did his best and, to me, we’ve moved on.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – WHERE DOES THIS WIN RANK OVERALL?  “It’s hard to rank them.  There have been a lot of really special ones.  This one is special for a lot of other reasons – passing on the last lap is always cool.  I think everybody enjoys that and this is my first win at Phoenix, a place I have notoriously have not been able to close it out, so that’s special.  But I’ve got the boss here, I’ve got Jeremy here, it’s my last race for the year driving the 22 car and to put it in a strong position to go win the owner’s title with Joey Logano next week, there are a lot of things that are special about today and certainly winning in Phoenix, which is the home of Discount Tire, that’s special for us as well.  I think of that and say without Discount Tire here, this program could have been a lot different.  There’s no Paul Wolfe on the Cup side without Discount Tire, and a lot of the other people that came along.  So to be able to win in that backyard, that’s very special so there’s a lot of things going on there and it’s hard to really lay it all out, but we’ll just say it was really good.”

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