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July 2, 2016

Brad Keselowski

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of tonight's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca‑Cola, the driver of the No.2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford, Brad Keselowski. Obviously a pretty big night for you, your first win here at Daytona, also marks win 100 for people Penske. Talk a little bit about tonight.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, there's a lot of numbers. Let me see if I can get them all right. This is the 250th start, year 50 for Team Penske, 100th Cup win for Team Penske, my 20th win, and we finished first. I like that number the best. But really happy and proud for our team to be in victory lane tonight. It was a good effort for us for sure.
The wins are never easy to come by, and I think this one means a lot to me for sure because looking at our past here, it hasn't been all that rosy. I was telling Roger Penske when I was in victory lane and the fireworks were going off, usually I'm loading up the car and about to be to the airport, so it's nice to be here and have a great finish.
We brought a completely different effort than what we've normally had here and completely different approach, which was made feasible by having the two wins earlier in the season and knowing that we could try something different here, and boy, did it pay off, so a lot of credit to my team, Paul Wolfe, crew chief, for all the things that they're doing. Three wins, midpoint in the season, that's a good start.
Of course we want to finish it off and win another championship, and I think I told you guys at Pocono or told a bunch of the people at Pocono that I was ready for the Chase to start right now. I'm still ready for it to start right now. Let's go. I feel like we've got a great effort. We're as good as we've ever been, if not better, and we're ready.

Q. Take us through that last couple laps there with you and Kurt and what happened there. Obviously you pulled away.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, restarts are so critical, and I got a great push from my teammate Joey Logano that helped put me in position to kind of establish the lead and be able to make the moves you need to make to hold off the lanes. Kurt had a couple really good runs. I thought he might have had me one time, and I was able to get up in front of him at the last second.
Daytona, Talladega, plate racing at its finest right there. Interesting how it all played out, and of course we feel glad to be able to get where we're at. These races can easily fall apart on us very quickly. Great shot that it was going to do that at the start. We had a bunch of debris on the nose and the car was overheating dramatically. A lot of credit to Doug Yates and his team for putting together a strong power point that could resist the temptation there when it was really hot.
Just a lot of things going on, and glad to put it all together.

Q. Brad, you look at the victories since 2009 at Talladega, at Daytona, you've got more than any other driver. Five, the next best is three. Where do you compare yourself to the other drivers at Talladega and Daytona?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, Talladega looks real good, Daytona not so much. There's a lot of great drivers on these plate races and a lot of variables to put them all together. Those numbers could shift a lot of ways fairly easily, so it's hard to make a comparison.
But when we have a great car like we did today, I feel like I can compete, like I can compete and make a run for it. You've always got to have the car, but when you have the car, you've got to make the most of it, and we were able to do both today.

Q. Is this a big deal to win at Daytona because of just the history at the track, or is it because of the type of racing and the way‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think for me it's the track. I've had very, very little success here. It's been one of our worst tracks quite honestly next to probably Sonoma. You know, thinking about that, I don't know if we had the highest of expectations, but Daytona is always a big race to have success at. I know it maybe doesn't feel the same way because this isn't the 500, but it's still a big deal to me. My family has been coming here for a long time, and I've had zero success here as a driver. I think we've led a lot of laps in XFINITY and Cup and even some in truck and haven't been able to close it out. To do it tonight is a big deal for me personally.

Q. Considering your success a few ways as of late, was this the strongest car that you've ever had?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Definitely the best car I've ever had here at Daytona, but I don't know if it was the strongest car I've ever had. We've had some good cars over the years at probably Loudon, Kentucky and a handful of other races, but this is definitely the best car I've ever had at Daytona, and I'm glad I didn't waste it.

Q. With the three victories as you alluded to, still a lot of laps to be raced, but how good do you feel about this season so far?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Really good. Three wins, midpoint in the season. If we're going back to numbers, it gives us a good shot of winning. Six wins was the best season we've ever had. Not that that's where I want to stop or that it's a guarantee, either way. But it's still a good place to be in.
Joey Logano and I were talking the other day, a Team Penske car has won the most races, I think, is it three out of the last four seasons, so that's something we're proud of, and we'd like to keep it going. Every win counts.

Q. After the race when people were asking you or asking your peers about your restrictor plate prowess and how good you've been here. They were more eager to give credit to your car.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I would be, too.

Q. Is that okay with you that they were more thinking your car was‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, it's easy to get caught up in semantics, but I would much rather be caught up in the trophy.
I'm just happy with where we're at. I think that those are always things that are usually a distraction. I think I'm just happy to be where I'm at and flattered if they say something nice, and if they don't, you take it for what it's worth with a grain of salt. But I'm not worried about it.

Q. I don't want to rain on the parade, but when you talk about feeling‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Are you going to be Eeyore tonight? I thought it was Bob.

Q. I'm taking it over tonight. When you talk about having the three wins, and obviously I don't want to make light of that, but with two of them coming on plate tracks, only one such plate track in the Chase, when you talk about feeling good, what are the things that you're seeing that‑‑ because I'm guessing not much translates from here or Talladega other than one race in the Chase, so why do you feel good and why should people feel good about you because two thirds of your wins come at tracks that play such a small part in the Chase?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I think the first part of my answer is I don't necessarily feel like I need to sell myself to people to make them feel good. I feel good about it myself, and so any question where I answer about how I feel good about it is really reflective of my genuine thoughts and feelings, not an attempt. I'm not being a car salesman up here. I would say that would be the first part of my answer.
But why do I feel good is we've had a lot of consistency the last few weeks. I think we've finished in the top 10 or top 5 eight or nine times in the last 10 weeks, so a lot of consistency there. A lot of close calls. Pocono we had a great shot at winning. I'm trying to think, the All‑Star Race we were right up there, had a shot at winning, leading laps.
So there's been some races that haven't quite been as strong, as well, in fairness, but even the races where we're not quite as strong, we seem to be right there in that fifth‑ to tenth‑place range, which is a lot of what the Chase is. A lot of what the Chase is is go run fifth to tenth every week and you'll find yourself at Homestead and then you've got to go win Homestead. Good consistency is a great trademark of a championship‑winning team, and I feel that out of my team right now. I don't feel like, again, I need to sell that to anyone else, but that's how I feel about it myself.

Q. Considering your recent record at plate tracks, if you go to Talladega in the fall in a situation where you had to win the race, do you feel fairly confident what you guys can do there?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah. I mean, I feel like we're in a good spot. Rules could change three times from then, so it's hard to answer that right now. But I think that we're definitely heading the right direction and we have that opportunity. Those tracks it's harder than anywhere else to really feel great about it, but you always feel like you have an opportunity when you're fast, and we have fast cars at those tracks right now.

Q. Why have you been so bad here, especially when you're so good at Talladega? It doesn't really seem to make a ton of sense.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think from the get‑go we've been really strong at Talladega, and we've used a lot of that approach coming here, and it's been awful. This is quite honestly the first time as a team that we've come to Daytona with a completely different approach than what we've had at Talladega, and it paid off with immediate results. I'm really thrilled for that for my team and for what that says about them, willing to try new things and work for it.
I think from my perspective what comes to mind is we came here for the 500, ran awful, went to Talladega and won in a good way, and there's a lot to be said for this as a team of probably looking in the mirror and saying, you know what, maybe we do need to do something different, and that might sound easy to come to, but there's a lot of roadblocks and barriers for a team to come together and be able to able to say that, so I'm proud that we were all able to do that, that I was willing to try different things and that the team was willing to try different things on the car and we were able to put all those pieces together.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about getting that 100th win for the organization? You spoke about it briefly, but I can imagine that's a pretty big deal.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: It's a huge deal, 100 wins for Roger here at the Sprint Cup level. I know his next goal will be 200. I'll probably hear it tomorrow. He'll want to know, when are we getting to 200. Someone gave me a stat, over the last two or three years since Joey has been on board, between the two of us we've won 20 or 30 percent of all the races Penske has ever won in Cup, so we're certainly in a great spot. But the captain, he likes to look forward, and I think that's a good thing.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win tonight and all the other milestones you hit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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