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July 14, 2018

Ryan Blaney

Brad Keselowski

Sparta, Kentucky

THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll into our post‑race availability here after the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, and we've now been joined by Brad Keselowski, driver of the No.2 Discount Tire Ford. Brad, a good run for you guys tonight but came up just a little bit short. Give us a recap of your evening.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, coming up and down all night, we ran second behind Martin there at the start and I felt like we were a little bit better than him at the beginning of the race, and as we transitioned into the night, we kind of lost a little bit of speed. I got the pit road speeding penalty, which was a real kick in the you‑know‑whats track position‑wise, and my crew chief Paul Wolfe made a good call to get us some track position back, and we took the lead there and were trying to just run, run, run as fast as we could, and Martin just ran us down and got by us pretty honest, so he was just super strong, and that was all we had.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, just a quick recap of a second‑place finish for your team. Give us a little bit of an overview of your night from behind the wheel.
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, we made good gains all night. Obviously at the start of the day, I thought we were okay. I didn't think we were a second‑place car, and we made our car a lot better throughout the night. I thought we were in a good spot there the last restart, starting fourth, and Martin pinned on the bottom, and couldn't quite get up next to him to get by him, and that was kind of the race.
I thought I had a small shot there. His car took a little bit to come in, and I couldn't really get close to him to mess him up or get him loose. I was so loose into 3, and that's kind of where you have to make your move. And then he ended up pulling away. But proud of the effort. We needed a run like that after the last few weeks that we've had. Back to where this team deserves to run, which is good, and I think our company as a whole is making small gains. Granted, I think we still have a good chunk to cover, but small gains are always nice, so hopefully we can keep making those.

Q. Brad, I think I heard you on the radio after the race compliment your team for I think big pickup on the mile‑and‑a‑halfs if I heard that right; is that correct?

Q. What did you see or what was different for you guys tonight?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, first off, we've had decent speed in qualifying on the mile‑and‑a‑halfs. We've been right in that fifth‑ to six‑place range, but I feel like when they drop the green the leaders just drive away from us, and this week, at least at the start of the race, we were able to run with Martin. As the race progressed we couldn't stay with him, but all in all, that's still as fast as we've been on a mile‑and‑a‑half this year, and that's something commendable for my team, and I just wanted to make sure they got that recognition.
We've been good, not great this year, and this is a sport of great. You know, you've got to be great to win. This is the closest we've been to great this year on the mile‑and‑a‑halfs.

Q. Ryan, yesterday Kyle Busch said that you seemed to be the next young driver‑‑
RYAN BLANEY: Kyle said that? Wow, that's amazing. Kyle Busch said that; that's crazy.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Congratulations.
RYAN BLANEY: Thank you.

Q. Do you think your time is coming to find Victory Lane?
RYAN BLANEY: I mean, I think we've been poised to do it all year to be honest with you. I think we have a great team over at the 12 group that work great together, and we've had a shot to win a couple of races and just haven't really played out for us. But I'm pretty confident every weekend. I think we have a group to do it.
Like Brad said, we're good right now. We've got to be great, and I think we're on the verge of that. It's just a matter of keep on working hard and trying to find little things here and there to put us in that category.
But we just go try to win every single race. I don't really think of the rookie drivers versus the veteran guys. Everyone is a competitor in this sport, and you ask anybody, they look at it the same way.

Q. Obviously as you said, it's a big night for you guys, you made progress, but how much frustration is there, and does that override the feeling of goodwill that one of the big three, one of the dominant cars still were the dominant ones that won tonight?
RYAN BLANEY: I wouldn't really say frustration. I'm bummed that we didn't win the race because we were so close to doing it and we had a shot. Whenever in defeat, you've got to look at positives. Whether you run second or you crash, you've got to look at the positives on the weekend and figure out where you were the best and where you need to get better. We'll take both of those away from it. We'll appreciate what we've done on our mile‑and‑a‑half program of we've gotten it a lot better, but it's not good enough.
So yeah, there are positives and then things we can work on, as well. I wouldn't say we're frustrated or defeated. I mean, I might be a little down just because I wanted to win the race, but you go back and you realize that you've made gains and you've just got to keep making those.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I don't know if frustrating is the right word. You know, we can see the end of the tunnel, and we're just 20 yards away. It's just a matter of getting there, not taking a step back and taking a step forward.

Q. Those 20 yards are always the hardest to gain.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Oh, yeah, they are. Just got to figure it out, got to find a way.

Q. Second year on this particular track surface; how is it coming in, and how is the track changing?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I thought it was a little better than last year but still way off of what it was before it was reconfigured, and a long ways to go.

Q. Brad, in the Xfinity race yesterday, two tires didn't seem to work real well. Were you surprised it worked as well as it did when you did it today?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, the Cup cars are probably a little more aero dependent even than those cars, so I can't say I was particularly surprised, but you never know how it's going to play out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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