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July 23, 2020

Brad Keselowski

Kansas City, Kansas

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by our second‑place finisher, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford with Team Penske.
Brad, take us through your run.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: All in all a good night. Good speed. Not as good as the Gibbs cars. They were super, super strong. Got a little bit of work to do. They brought something new the last two weeks, really shown a lot of strength in the drivetrain. Have to do a little bit of work to keep up with that.
Other than that, we were right there. Team did a great job of adjusting the car during the race. Got us a little bit better as the race went on. We were in position, led some laps.
Really came down to the last few restarts, who got the clean air, who pushed who. Just couldn't quite get in front of Denny. I was a little bit faster than he was once we were up to speed, but not anywhere as fast as he was getting up to speed.
Once he got the clean air, he was able to defend. That was the story of our night. Proud of our effort. Won a stage. We're doing the right things.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Brad.

Q. The Gibbs cars, what are you seeing? Certainly seems on these mile‑and‑a‑half racetracks it's not just Denny Hamlin right now, all of them are quite strong.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, they got great speed. Probably similar speed to what we have once we're kind of up and going. But on the restarts, whoa, big speed to get accelerating.
This racing, once you can get the clean air, if you have equal speed to the cars around you or even just slightly less, you can hold them off pretty easily. He's been able to do that. The Gibbs cars looked very good lately.

Q. Watching the closing laps, I'm thinking this looks like what we could be seeing for the championship. Too early to kind of size up who your competition might be?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, it's always so hard to say. You look at the way the Playoffs are, a lot of wild card races in there with the Roval. Roval is in there, Bristol is in there. I'm sure a few more I'm failing to remember here in the moment.
I sure would be glad if we were one of them, I can tell you that. (Indiscernible) top 10, top five finishes. Silently one of the best years of my career, maybe not wins‑wise. I'm very, very happy. Hopeful we can get up another notch so we can dominate and showcase ourselves as the Ford to beat.

Q. With the kind of season you're having, do you expect to get your contract signed soon, if it's not done already?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I hope. It's not there. I'm very hopeful.

Q. With Hamlin not having won a title, does that matter for him going into the Playoffs and potentially into the championship as far as his mental state, mental focus?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: The head of a racecar driver is a scary place to be (smiling). Mine alone is scary enough. The last thing I want to do is try to pretend I can understand what's going on in his.
If I was trying to reference myself, certainly winning races is not a bad thing. The way the Playoffs are set up, really all it does is increase your chances of being in the final four. Once you're in the final four, it's a complete free‑for‑all.

Q. Are you okay with however they set the lineup, no practice for the Playoffs?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I know there's some ideas being floated out. I read Scott Miller's quotes, that it's not set in stone how they're going to do it in the Playoffs.
I'm okay with the way things are going until we get in the Playoffs, but would like to see some changes once we do get to the Playoffs. I think NASCAR is open‑minded to that and looking through all those options.

Q. How do you look at the way this team is running and the group of races we've got coming up? You will be racing hard and heavy throughout the month of August. How well do you feel you're set up for that?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, you got two races that are fun but really don't mean anything at Daytona with the road course and the plate race. You got two races at Michigan, which are a big deal to me because I'm from Michigan. Total honesty, they don't mean much to the Playoffs.
I think you look at the stretch of races right here, they're mostly just kind of fun races. There's somewhat lower pressure, chance to kind of work on yourself and the team. There's not a lot that's going to carry over to the Playoffs.

Q. A moment ago you talked about your contract. Where does it stand? You said you'd like to work it out. Where exactly do you feel it stands right now?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, it's a work in progress. The good thing is there's progress. But nothing is done until it's done, so... I feel very hopeful.

Q. It seemed like you were starting to really catch Denny near the end of the race. If you had another five to 10 laps, do you think you had anything to get around the 11?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Man, that's hard to say. He was really good, for sure. He could run the wall pretty decent. But he was starting to fade. It's hard to say. I'd like to think yes, but no way of really knowing. That's probably not a great answer, but that's what I got.

Q. Obviously you had your comments earlier this week about how in NASCAR there could be the possibility or just the idea suggested of a system where drivers could be demoted to a lower series after so many repetitive mistakes. Were you able to talk things over with Quin Houff during the week leading up to Kansas or not? If you have, what was discussed?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No, I didn't talk with Quin. Wasn't meant to be offensive to him. Might have came off that way. I apologize for that.
I do feel like there needs to be a more official system for being promoted into the Cup Series, making sure for the future and for the credibility of the series we have the best drivers out there with the best credentials.
It's tough because the team owners have their own business model they're working through. I understand. In some ways the only way you can handle that is to take the option away from them of not having drivers with really proven‑out credentials.
I feel adamant that there are many national series for racing across the country, great national series, whether that's the Truck Series, Xfinity Series, ARCA Series, K&N, beyond. There's great places in stockcar racing.
My dad once told me the great thing about motorsports is there's a place for everybody, whether that's the short tracks that run across all of America, or the national series.
I think we have to be very careful to make sure everybody is racing in the right place to make the best racing for our fans and for our sport.
When it comes to the top level, I think we've seen some changes there in the ability for drivers to gain access than we've had in the past. I'm not a fan of that.
I'd like to see a system be installed to really fix that for the future and protect the interest of the series.
THE MODERATOR: Brad, thanks for joining us tonight. Congratulations on your run today.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Thank you. Have a great day.

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