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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brad Keselowski just misses out on coveted hometown win, says he's a title contender ... WITH VIDEO

Oakland Press photo/MATT MYFTIU
Brad Keselowski addresses the media after coming in 2nd at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Brad Keselowski didn’t win on Sunday at MIS, but he came damn close. Good pit work by his team got the 2 car out in front of the field at the end, and if not for a hard-charging Greg Biffle he likely would have taken his first career Cup win at MIS.

“It was a great day; I don’t know what to say. It would have been one of the biggest wins in my career. The team’s done an excellent job over the past few weeks.”

Finishing 2nd is nice, but with the Chase coming wins might become even more important than ever. Still, Brad said he’s actually more disappointed to lose now that he would be in the Chase.

“You should be more upset now about not winning, because those bonus points mean a lot. Consistent days and finishes are extremely important in the Chase,” Brad said. “You’d be happier with 2nd in the Chase than here. This is my home track. I want to win here even more than I want to win a race in the Chase.”

Keselowski said he didn’t quite have the fastest car on Sunday.

“When Jimmie pushed the trigger, it was clear he had been holding back a lot. When he did go 100 percent, he was clearly the class of the field”

Looking ahead to the Chase, Keselowski recognized the 48 is likely still the favorite, but said he and the Miller Lite team will do everything they can to fight for that title.

“The 48 has the most speed and the best history as far as the Chase,” Keselowski explained. “It’s my job to not roll over and give it to him. They have the most speed, but we’re not giving up. We’re going to keep him honest.”

Keselowski, of course, used to driver for Hendrick Motorsports. But when there was no room for him to get a ride there, he moved to Penske amid much speculation about how well he would do in his new ride.

Obviously, he’s proven all the doubters wrong. And though he said he tries not to think about such things, somewhere deep down it has to feel good that he is competing on the same level as his former organization.

“There’s moments where you ask yourself what might have been. But that’s a terrible way to live your life, looking back,” Keselowski said. “I probably would have never had the opportunity to work with guys like Paul Wolfe and others on the team if it had gone another way.

“I feel entirely grateful for those opportunities. They come one in a lifetime,” he continued. “It was never meant to be. This is what was meant to be. This was a sort of higher calling. It’s hard to reflect when you’re struggling. But I’m not struggling now, so it’s easy to say.”

Martin OK after big wreck

Even those of us who have seen tons of NASCAR wrecks thought Mark Martin’s wreck on Sunday was scary. He slid driver-side into the side of the entry wall to pit road. Luckily, he was OK. (Don’t be surprised if some sort of barrier isn’t placed there before the next race at MIS; someone could have gotten hurt in that wreck bad – either Mark or a crew member)

Mark was surprisingly upbeat after crashing out after leading so many laps.

"Michael Waltrip (team owner) gave me a chance to drive awesome race cars and this is just the coolest thing in the world. I'm disappointed that we got tore up, but man, what a hot rod. Big steam under the hood from Toyota and Rodney Childers is such an awesome crew chief. Driving stuff like that -- that's what it's all about. I'm glad I'm okay and I'm glad I got to drive that thing. It was awesome. I wish we could have finished the day off, but I'm so grateful to have a chance to drive race cars like that."

Martin said the way the accident played out was pretty crazy.

"That was a pretty freak angle that I got at that. I'm not sure what you could do. It could have been really bad if I would have got in that hole a little deeper where it caught me in the door instead of in the crush area back there. It's hard to keep up with what exactly is going to be happening there. I was hoping that I was going to miss the pit wall completely and not tear the car up, but then I saw that the angle I was going that I was going to hit the end of pit wall. I never thought about getting on the other side of pit wall. I think that would have been hard at the angle that I was coming, but that certainly would not have been good."

Facts about Biffle win
- Greg Biffle won his 18th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.
- The win marks his third career Sprint Cup win at MIS.
- The victory is the third of the season for Ford.
- The win is the second of the season for Biffle.
- The win is the 128th all-time NSCS win for Roush Fenway Racing.
- The win marked the 609th career Cup victory for Ford.
- Roush now has 12 wins at MIS, the most of any team ever. He passed the Wood Brothers.

Other notable finishes:

Carl Edwards – 6th:
“We just had a lot of fortune there to get the opportunity on the last restart to make it happen. I am glad a Ford is in victory lane. It is big for Greg to win here and Jack and everyone. It is big for Ford, they deserve this. We showed everyone we could do it. We were as fast or faster than Greg was the whole second half of the race. It is just a matter of getting it done now.”

Marcos Ambrose – 5th
“It is a great day for the Stanley Ford team and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. Todd Parrott made some great calls today. We had a plan with tire strategy going into the race and it worked our way. A few more laps and we would have had something for them. We had a great car, we just couldn’t quite get enough track position at the end. We had as good a car as anyone out there today.” YOU WERE TALKING TO REGAN SMITH, WHAT DID YOU SAY? “I feel terrible for him. I didn’t mean to get into him. I got down in there and he came off my side of the car and I was trying to get out of there for him and just caught him on the way past. I feel bad for him. You can’t take it back, all you can say is sorry.”

Matt Kenseth – 17th
“We just didn’t really pit for fuel at the right time, but Greg was on the same strategy and won the race. We kept getting stuck in the wrong lane on restarts and had some sub-par pit stops and had a flat tire and just couldn’t recover from that.”

“Well anything that could go wrong today did. We finally got the car handling better and then we had an incident with the 47 and then the 20. I hated seeing that happen to Mark (Martin), he had a great run going and the 47 just got loose in front of me and I checked up. Mark had nowhere to go. It was a rough day.”

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