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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Keselowski defends yellow line rule, Talladega racing

Brad Keselowski wants to make something clear.

While many people thought his comments after winning the Cup race last weekend indicated he was angry with NASCAR about the yellow-line rule and the racing conditions at Talladega, that’s just not the case.

“I’m a supporter of the yellow line rule, to be honest. I should probably clear that up,” he told me Thursday after arriving in Richmond. “I don’t blame NASCAR and the rules. They didn’t force me to try to pass Carl or force him to block. If there wasn’t a rule, he would’ve probably blocked me down to the grass. We as drivers take it to the limit, whether it’s the wall, the grass or yellow line. You can’t blame the limit.”

Keseloski’s main concern was for the race fans in the stands who were injured.
“The problem I see is that fans in the stands got hurt. Everything else is just a product of the racing and the mind games we play as drivers. If you don’t have the action, what’s the point of racing?” he said. “Even if I was in Carl’s shoes, I’d be for it. Carl was fine. The cars are safe enough. We need to work on the fans being injured, but other than that I don’t really see a problem.”

Beyond the yellow line rule, Keselowski also defended the restrictor plate racing conditions that make big wrecks happen so often at Daytona and Talladega.

He said the sport is for the fans, not the drivers, and their interests should come first.

“The basics of it are we’re all looking at it to be self-serving. None of us like it when we wreck or run bad. We all like it when we win. But what it comes down to is what it takes to put fans in the stands,” Keselowski said. “They love the racing at Daytona and Talladega. If no one’s watching, it’s just cars going in circles. We need to make it safe for them.”

Newfound respect?
Keselowski said he’s looking forward to the possibility that the win will mean other Cup drivers are willing to draft with him when he returns to the plate tracks later this year.
“I hope to get some help now at Talladega. I didn’t get any help (last week),” he said. “If I hadn’t pushed Carl to the front, we would have never made it. I had to grab the bull by the horns and do it myself.”

He said that this win came as a surprise, and surpassed his expectations for his Cup efforts in 2009.
“I felt I could be competitive coming in to the year, but I didn’t have any expectations. As far as being able to win, I didn’t even think that far,” he said. “I kind of leap-frogged the checklist. Usually you want a top-5, then try to win a race.”


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