Dodge Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Open Interview Notes & Quotes
Press Release On August 28, 2010
NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Brad Keselowski / Justin Allgaier Open Interview
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 22 Discount Tire / Ruby Tuesday Dodge Charger)
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE?
“Our car is decent; it’s probably better than I am. A lot of room to expand and become a better road-course racer, that’s for sure. It’s kind of interesting to have fast cars and be around other people and learn a lot from them and know what they’re doing. I’ll try to follow those guys like Max (Papis) that know what they’re doing, but not too close like I did last year. I feel good about being here. We had a small problem with the brakes getting too hot and catching the back-half of the car on fire, no big deal…it was just fire (smiles). We’re in good shape, ready to go.”
JUSTIN ALLGAIER (No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger)
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSIONS?
“Eventful to say the least. For me last year, starting the race was the first time that I saw this place dry. So, it was good to come back and get some practice with the weather being nice and sunny. The car was pretty good. Like Brad said, the car is a lot better than I am. I don’t have much in the way of road course racing experience. I’m just trying to get the car comfortable and making sure that when we get in the race, we’ll be in good shape. I’m trying to be conservative on brake temps and making sure that they’re there at the end of the race. So I think as long as we can keep that up, we’ll be in good shape.”
KESELOWSKI: HOW SERIOUS WAS THE FIRE IN PRACTICE AND WILL IT HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE RACE?
“Every fire is serious; it’s just a matter of how serious it is when you get control of it. It’s a serious concern for us right now that our car is going to catch fire in the middle of the race. Every year, race cars get faster and progress. NASCAR put a cap on the brakes that we’re allowed to use. So there are rules on what braking systems are allowed to try and cut costs for the series. Essentially, as the years have progressed, our cars have gotten faster and have exceeded those brake capabilities to keep up with our car.
The challenge for us as drivers is to manage our brakes and sometimes in order to do that is to do things…the team does…whether it’s cooling or whatever…and do the things that it takes to keep the car cool for the brakes and (they) occasionally catch fire. It’s kind of a balancing act between having too much and risking catching fire and not having enough (brakes) and not having enough brakes at the end of the race.”
KESELOWSKI: HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT LEARNING FROM THE ROAD COURSE EXPERTS LIKE WE HAVE HERE IN MONTREAL THIS WEEKEND?
“You can always talk, but watching is the best way that I’ve learned. Experience is going to get you further than anything else. Doing it yourself and figuring it out…I can watch Shaquille O’Neal dunk all day long…I don’t think that I’m ever going to be able to dunk…it takes a little bit of experience. I think that I can get there (being a good road course racer). I’ve showed progress this year on road courses already and feel, hopefully, in the next few years, I can show some more progress.”
“The biggest piece of advice that I learned last year is don’t wreck a Canadian in a Canadian race (smiles). That wasn’t good. I wrecked Ron Fellows and honestly, of all the people that helped me the most last year, he was probably the one that gave me the most advice. I didn’t mean to wreck him, by the way. It was just a victim of circumstance. He was at the right place at the wrong time. For me, it’s the same thing, just going out and following guys. I talked to Max (Papis) yesterday for a few minutes and talked to Ron Fellows and a couple of guys. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. Like Brad said, until you get in a car and actually go out and do it, there’s nothing that’s going to substitute for experience. Obviously, these guys can go out and throw a car in a corner and kind of know what the limits are. For me, I’m still trying to learn what those limits are.”
KESELOWSKI: YOU’RE LEADING THE NNS POINTS, WHAT IS YOUR TARGET FINISH IN THIS RACE?
“I think the last three road courses, we’ve been very fortunate to pull out strong finishes. Here (Montreal) I think we ended up fifth; I didn’t deserve to run fifth, but got there and finished there. At the Glen, the last road course that we had, we were a legitimately third or fourth-place car and we finished fourth. I was very proud of that. Even at Road America, we were able to finish fourth. For us, it’s running a smart race and being there at the end. There are some sacrifices that we make or that I make personally to make sure that I’m there at the end. I would say that those are the biggest things and the biggest goal is to go out there and get a solid finish and solidify where we are at in the points in a race that is a wild card for us.”
KESELOWSKI: DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THE RACE TOMORROW?
“The goal is always to win, but to be realistic, I think that we can get a solid top-10 day out of tomorrow.”
KESELOWSKI: HOW DO YOU DEFINE RESPECT TOWARD THE OTHER DRIVERS?
“Apparently, I don’t have it all figured out or I’d be in a lot better shoes that I am right now, that’s for sure. There’s a little bit of a ‘boys only’ club that is going on and over time, we all make our way in it if you keep knocking on the door. If’ you’re knocking on the door…it’s not a lot of fun…and sometimes you get kicked back out of the house. I’m trying to make my way in it. You’re not going to get in there by being a pushover. You have to be up front, leading races and contending and so far that’s where we’re at with the Nationwide program. We’re not there yet with the Cup program. Running up front certainly gets you a lot of attention.
There’s a lot of resistance because, let’s be honest, racing…the system in racing is a pie which means only a certain percentage can be running up front any given weekend. When you threaten somebody that’s in that piece of pie and try and push them out to the other part of it which is the 10th to 15th part of it, they don’t like it, nor should they. There’s some resistance to that from the whole collective group. When I look at the issues that I’ve had, quite honestly, I feel that if somebody else did it, it would be alright. In fact, I’ve seen a couple people do the same thing this year and it was alright. So, it’s just the way that it is and I’m going to keep my head down and keep digging and try to break my way into the club.”
KESELOWSKI: WHY DO YOU THINK THINGS ARE DIFFERENT FOR YOU WITH ALL THESE ALTERCATIONS THAT YOU’VE HAD?
“It’s just because I’m newer to the sport. I just haven’t been in it as long. I don’t have the recognition or name value I guess. I don’t know. That’s my take. You tell me. What do you think?”
KESELOWSKI: DO YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN MORE AS YOU GO?
“Yeah. I have a lot to learn. I don’t think that I have anything 100 percent figured out. I think that I have some things figured out, but now all of it and there are some things that I can do better, there’s no doubt about that. I feel pretty good about the majority of it and feel like when the circumstances have arrived where there’s been conflict, I’m fairly happy with the way that I’ve handled it. At the same point, I want to win races and be up front, be a contender…everybody wants to do that.
At some point, you have to accept the fact that those around you aren’t going to be happy when you’re winning. I’m not out there trying to make my competitors angry, but I seem to do a damn good job at it whether intentional or not. That’s unfortunate. I don’t want them to be angry. I don’t come into the sport saying, ‘I want to make Carl Edwards or Kyle Busch angry’. But when you beat them, it’s just natural for them to be that way.”
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