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September 12, 2020

Brad Keselowski

Richmond, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: Brad, congratulations on another win. Can you kind of tell us how you feel heading into Bristol. Now that you have this win, do you just kind of focus on Vegas?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No, I'm just going to enjoy tonight. You know, it's hard to win a Cup race. These guys are really good.
You know, a race like tonight I think easily gets sold as there weren't any wrecks, what was going on. These drivers are just good. These cars all drove so bad with that little bitty spoiler on them, a lot of horsepower, and you had guys with new tires and old tires sliding around, and it's so easy to get in trouble and to wreck.
These drivers are just freaking good, and they didn't do that. And to win a race against drivers that are this good is pretty cool. It's something I'm very proud of, and I'm going to try to soak it up.

Q. Brad, looking at the 750 package this year, Penske has more wins this year than the 4 team on the 11 team or any other organization out there. What is it about this package that makes you guys so good?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I'm not sure, but we haven't been nearly as good as we want to be on the 550s, but you're right, the 750 short tracks have been very strong. I'm proud of that, proud of the effort that's been put into running so well on those tracks.
It's a good time to be running well on the 750s because with the new playoff format there's a lot of those types of races.

Q. That kind of leads into my next question. If you get to Phoenix, that's a 750 track. Are you the favorite over the 4 and the 11?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Oh, shoot, Phoenix is a long ways from now. I've got to get there first. I'm going to try not to think too far ahead and try to focus on getting there, and if we get there, then we'll bring our A game.

Q. You were excited about coming to this race, had high expectations. How rewarding is that to see that vindicated tonight?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: It means a ton to me. Like I said, these are some of the best drivers in the world and they're not easy to beat. I knew we were going to have a great car. I knew I had put a lot of work into what I needed to do as a driver to be really good here and to find a really strong rhythm, and if I could pair those things with an execution race, a race with great execution, I felt like we could win it, and we put all those three together, and here we are. That feels really incredible. It's hard to find the right word for it, to be honest, but I'm going to enjoy it for sure.

Q. It wasn't such a great night for your teammate Ryan Blaney. As a veteran of this sport and a prior champion, what's the best piece of advice you can offer him going into an elimination race at Bristol next week?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Just go win the damned thing. He's really good at Bristol and he can do that. Don't think about it, just go win it.

Q. This is the first season that you've had since 2016 where you have four race victories; considering this is the first season in the Cup Series with your crew chief Jeremy Bullins, did you think that four wins or even a season as great as you're having right now was possible when Jeremy came on at the start of this season?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I put no expectations on the year coming into it other than to run our best and to push myself to be the best driver I can be and be the best leader of the team I can be. So I can't tell you I had a win quota put up. It is nice to have another four‑win season, but I hope we don't stop there. The most I've ever had in a year is six, and I hope I can get seven.

Q. You've spoken so confidently the last couple weeks just coming into the playoffs and your thoughts on what this team could do. What's different this year about it? I don't feel like you've ever been this outspoken just about how confident you feel going into the playoffs and what your team can accomplish, so what's different? What feels different about this year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I like the format. I like the tracks, how they line up. I think they fit me personally really well, and I think they fit this team really well. The team is really coming together and continues to click, and we'll continue to build new knowledge together that we're applying in a great manner.
I just feel like things are coming together. I know that's probably hard to make much out of, but it takes so many little pieces to come together to win and to be great. Good‑‑ I've ran really good here on the Cup level for probably the last eight to ten years, but I've had a couple seasons that were great, and the difference between good to great is just all the tiny little things and the details, and I feel like a lot of those details are going our way.

Q. I would think that most would say, well, winning or obviously top 10s, that makes things easier in the playoffs, but is it safe to say that the playoffs are different every year? If it was easy and if you could just apply stuff from year to year, you would advance, a driver would advance year to year, so is it safe to say, yeah, it's 10 races, it's rounds of three, but every year is different?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, every year has its own ebbs and flows, but this year is much different than any other years because the tracks are so much different in the playoffs. I think that's a big deal to me personally.

Q. You said earlier in the week that short tracks were among the best for you and Team Penske; is there any comfort in kind of backing that up when you haven't had really that many short tracks this year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, you know, I was really bummed when a couple of them got canceled. We canceled this race here in Richmond, and I feel like we canceled something else, I can't remember, but‑‑ the spring race at Richmond. I knew we'd be good at these types of tracks, so I was kind of like, aww, shoot, and sure enough, we are. But I'm not complaining because the playoffs have a fair amount of them, and things are coming together for us.

Q. I am curious if you've been surprised by the 3 car and if there's anything you've seen that Dillon is doing now that is different than earlier this year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think both the RCR cars look really good. The 8 car, Tyler Reddick, last run of the race was right in front of me, and he was exceptional. He looked like one of the best cars on the track.
Early in the race I thought the same thing about Austin.

Q. We've got you locked into the next round now with a win, and a couple tracks that could cause some problems with Talladega and the Roval. How important is Las Vegas, and with your run earlier in the season, it seems like we've run two seasons since the last trip to Las Vegas. Confidence level going into the next round?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I don't feel bad about it. It's nice to have five, six extra playoff bonus points, a little buffer. Vegas is a really critical race for us because between Talladega and the Roval, we don't want to have to count on scoring points there. I sure would love to win Vegas so I don't have to think about it.

Q. You basically called your shot earlier this week with the Richmond win. Any future prognostications?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: One week at a time. One week at a time.

Q. Kind of looking at this whole season, four wins, did you ever think you'd pass Dale Jarrett, Kurt Busch and now Fireball Roberts on the all‑time wins list?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I wasn't aware that‑‑ today I passed them?

Q. Yeah, today you passed them to 24th all time on the wins list.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No kidding. Well, that's great. I try not to stare at the stats because I try not to let them be the motivator. I try to find better motivators than that, but they're certainly cool to hear, and I appreciate you sharing them. I've got a long ways to go to catch up to a lot of the greats in the sport. I really wish I was winning five to ten races a year because that's what it's going to take to do that, but I'm trying to also be grateful for what I have and to have won four races to date this year. But I want to be the best, and to be the best you've got to have those five‑ to ten‑win seasons consistently and I've been having three‑ to four‑win seasons.
I'm pushing really hard to get there, and it's nice, and I'm going to try to be grateful for what I have. It's nice to break into that top 25, but I want way more than that.

Q. Going off the question earlier about what's different this season for you guys, seems like as of late you guys have struggled making it past the third round of the playoffs. Are you guys taking any different approaches this year, and are there maybe some areas that Jeremy fills where Paul struggled in the playoffs?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I don't know. I don't know. That's a question I'm going to be able to answer a lot better in 10 weeks, eight weeks, whatever the playoffs‑‑ when they're over. I don't want to look too far ahead. I really just want to focus one race at a time. I can't say at the moment there's been any massive strange to the strategy that stands out to me.

Q. Can you talk about momentum and how this kind of propels you into round 2, just from victory tonight here at Richmond?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, it's certainly not a bad thing. It allows me and the team to get a deep breath and focus a little more on Las Vegas rather than being panicked about Bristol, and the six bonus points are huge for the next two rounds. That's six spots on the racetrack. That should be a good thing.

Q. Did you get an explanation as to why you couldn't get the flag?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: No, I haven't yet. I'm assuming that it's because my bus driver wasn't around or isn't allowed to be inside the track. I'll have to catch up on that. That's kind of a bummer, but we'll make up for it somehow.

Q. That's kind of one of your little traditions, so‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, normally my bus driver brings it to the team, but he wasn't able to do so.
THE MODERATOR: Brad, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. Congratulations on getting another win and the next round of the playoffs, and we'll see you at Bristol.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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