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August 28, 2016

Chase Elliott

Brad Keselowski

Brooklyn, Michigan

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post race media availability. We are joined by the third‑place finisher, Brad Keselowski.
Brad, take us through those last few laps after the restart.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: You could see these restarts here at Michigan just get really crazy towards the end. I was watching on TV, they get really crazy at the end. The 42 had a good run. The 24 was really good. We were a third‑place car most of the day. On long runs, we were maybe the best car. For most of the day we were a third‑place car. Finished where we deserved.
At the end I gave Kyle a really good push. Looked like Chase spun his tires a little bit. Next thing you know, we were off to the races. I got up to second. I wasn't as fast as Chase, wasn't able to get by him. Kyle was able to drive away, which was kind of the tale of the tape there on the short run.
All in all a really strong day for the Miller Lite team. I think we would have been a little bit better if we could have got the sun to stay out. The clouds came out in the end. We were at our best when the sun was out.
All in all, a lot to be proud of. A heck of an effort. Seems like every time we come here, we want to win so bad, we run third or fourth every time, which is really good in the Sprint Cup Series, but it's certainly not the win we're looking for.
Good and bad, I guess.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for Brad.

Q. When Larson came into Cup, did you think it would take this long for him to get his first win? You, Chase Elliott and Kyle up there battling for top three, how many more years do you think we'll see the three of you battling for wins?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I think I'd be speculating to answer both.
I don't know really if I could give a good one on that, give an answer as to how long I would have thought Kyle would have won. I wouldn't have been surprised if he won in his first two or three starts, and wouldn't be surprised if it took him 10 years.
There's no guarantees at this level. There's too many pieces. Being a great driver alone is not enough to guarantee success. Everything has to come together. You have to have a lot of good fortune. You have to have a great team behind you. Everything has to click on any given day for you to win. Doesn't matter who you are, what driver you are, those things are never a guarantee, for better or for worse.
As far as the future, I look forward to racing him and Chase and Ryan Blaney and all those guys for years to come. Hopefully they'll be exciting finishes like this one was.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our second‑place finisher in today's race, Chase Elliott.
Chase, another good one here at Michigan for you, but a little bit tight at the end. Talk about your run.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, definitely. Bummer again here. I hate to let my guys down is the biggest thing. For the second time this has happened. I made a mistake early on in the race. I asked my guys to bail me out, and they did. Unfortunately, I didn't do my part again.
That's a couple races in a row in just a few short months here at this place we had a really good car, had an opportunity. That's one thing I try really hard to do is make the most of opportunities when they're presented. Obviously I didn't do a very good job of that here both trips.
Need to do my restarts a little better. That's obviously not a strong point, at least here at Michigan. Think about that some and I guess take the positives. We were strong I felt like as a company today, which was encouraging. Look at that, try to get to Darlington.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.

Q. Brad, what was the difference between the third car and first place? Just a little pace? Talk about the fuel strategy that seemed to move you up in the field early on.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, we used a little bit of fuel strategy. Nothing extreme. But we just had a really good long run car. It seemed to me, Why pit? We stayed out on those really long runs and kept gaining spots, climbed all the way from 18th to fourth or fifth there, which was really, really good. It's what you need to do at this level.
But as far as what we were missing on the short run, it's hard to say. Probably if I had to guess, maybe just a little bit of front downforce. Looks like we're a little bit behind there. That would be my guess as of now.

Q. Brad, I saw you in Victory Lane. Was Kyle aware you were the one that pushed him and gave him that thrust out front so he could take the lead?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I would assume so. I just said, Congratulations, good job. I didn't want to crash his Victory Lane. Certainly realize he paid his dues, deserves his success. Credit for that.
I would assume so. Kyle's pretty smart. He knows who's behind him and so forth.

Q. Chase, I had the impression with this new low downforce package you had better fuel consumption, you can go longer distance. Is this correct?
CHASE ELLIOTT: That's a good question. I mean, I guess you might a little bit here. I don't know that it has to do so much with that as it does other things that we're dealing with as far as, you know, changing the motor and the things the engine shop does to try to improve power, obviously trying to find the balance of how much power you can get and also have good fuel mileage.
I know all the engine builders are on a fine line there. I think it more falls on that side of things than it does our downforce package.

Q. Chase, are you frustrated? Are you disappointed? How do you move on from something like this?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, all of the above. For sure I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. If I wasn't, that would mean I didn't care.
So, you know, for me, just have to try to take the positives out of it, recognize an issue when you see one. There's only one way to fix it, and that's to hit it head on. No need of hiding from it. Just try to fix it. Hope you have more opportunities to improve and to show that you can do it down the road.
Like Brad said a minute ago, there's no guarantees in life. There's certainly no guarantees in racing. Have to recognize that, and like I said, hit it head on.

Q. You need to do it in race conditions, you can't practice it?
CHASE ELLIOTT: You can go practice it if you want to rent a racetrack, sit there and restart all day long, if you wanted to, I guess. But know you're not going to recreate those scenarios, what the people around you are thinking like when one of these Cup races are on the line.
That's just a part of life, man. You do have to put yourself in those situations more often to see how you're going to handle them and how you can fix them moving forward.
I think my guys did a really good job today. That's the biggest thing I'm frustrated with. I hate it for them more than I do for me. They absolutely bailed me out a couple times today. I asked them to, they did. They got us the lead back. That's tough to do.
They certainly deserved it.

Q. Brad, on track did the package work? If so, why? If not, why?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think this package is pretty strong. I like it a lot personally. It's not entirely my decision. It's not perfect, that's for sure. There's a lot of stuff to still work on. I think it's a small improvement in showcasing driver talent to win races.
The guys that ran up front today absolutely drove their butts off today. I saw Kyle and Chase, and everybody. Their cars were sideways, sometimes smoking the tires through the corners. I think that's what this racing is built on. I think that's a good direction to go towards.
So I've been a big fan of this package all along, and hope to see it move forward, along with some other project that the sport is working on to continue to improve the quality of racing for our fans and the future of our sport.

Q. Chase, you finished in the top five in both these races at Michigan. What makes this track special for you?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I don't know that it's any different than the rest of them really. For me, I just think we've had two good cars here. I think my guys did a job of seeing this new aero package trying to adjust the balance aero‑wise and find a good spot, a happy place to come to the racetrack with it. They did a really good job of that two times in a row.
You can't just take what we had here in the spring. If we had just brought back what we ran in the first race, we probably would have been battling for 20th. A lot of things change from race to race. I felt we improved from the rest of the group that we were battling. I think that's encouraging.
I don't know if it has a lot to do with the racetrack or anything like that, it's just a matter of having a strong car.

Q. Chase, do you win that race without that late caution with 13 laps to go?
CHASE ELLIOTT: You either do or you don't, and I didn't. That's not a very good question, I don't think, because it didn't happen. You can't speculate those kind of things. That's not just the way life is.

Q. Chase, your dad was so good here, won seven times. Has he been able to share with you about this track?
CHASE ELLIOTT: We've talked about it in the past a little bit. He definitely had a lot of success here. They were on their game many a day here. That's definitely cool to see. Like you said, he's had a lot of success here, which is neat.
We've had two good cars. Wish we could have capitalized and caught up to that number of his, but we didn't. Just got to move on.
THE MODERATOR: Brad and Chase, congratulations. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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