Atlanta Motor Speedway race winning driver details what it took to get in the car on race day
Brad Keselowski picked up win number 68 of his NASCAR career. It was his 60th behind the wheel of a Team Penske machine. That makes him the winningest Team Penkse driver in the history of the operation.
Truex was running him down toward the end of the race. And, if not for lap cars, he might have gotten him.
“I was kinda of running out of ideas, to be honest,” Keselowski said of the defense played on Truex.
“I took one swipe at the bottom lane in turns 1-2. It looked like it maybe got Martin a little tight.”
“I got just enough distance on him. I think maybe another 2-3 laps and I don’t know if I would have been able to hold him off.”
The win puts him at the top of the Penske wins chart.
“At the moment, I’m in a little bit of a daze. It was a long, touch race. All wins are special. There’s no wins that don’t mean something. But, some just means more.”
“Winning the first race when there’s a major rules change, it means something to me personally. Being able to win in multiple disciplines, especially in NASCAR, is really what sets them apart.”
Brad Keseowski on Atlanta sickness
But, Keselowski almost didn’t get a chance to make that happen. He was sick the day ahead of the race. In final practice, Austin Cindric piloted the machine in the early part of the session. Keselwoski did turn laps, but only toward the very end of the session.
Bob Pockrass: Were you ever close to not racing?
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have made this race yesterday [Saturday]. I was nowhere near good enough.”
“Thankfully, the team here at the care center helped me out. The pumped in a couple IV’s. They got me as good as I could be, before the race.”
“My wife [Paige], she’s a real rock star. Whatever we had and I’m still not sure what we had. It floored both of us but not my daughter.”
“She was playing mom and taking care of me while sick herself. That’s mom power right there.”
“I wasn’t in good shape. I lost 5.5-6 pounds in less than 10 hours. I was going the wrong way, quick. Thankfully, it all turned around late on Saturday afternoon.”
“I appreciate the help of those in the care center to make it possible.”
Racing while sick
The team had a relief driver on standby. However, Keselowski remained in the car and parked it in victory lane.
“Whenever you have a fast car, it’s funny how those things kinda disappear.”
“There’s always drivers fighting through something. I think we’ve seen drivers with torn ACLs. Broken fingers and wrists.”
“I had to race once with a broken ankle. No, I don’t think you’re ever going to see guys taping their eyeballs open again. Although, I do think that was pretty cool.”
Race car drivers don’t have multiple lines of offence or a backup goalie. There’s one driver. If he’s not eligible to race then he can’t compete for a championship.
“There is always going to be a part to this where you’re going to have to play when you’re not 100%.”
“A real car driver is who I am. It’s what I do. It’s what I love and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of it.”
“We had the car to win today. You still have to make it happen. But, I don’t want to be the reason why they don’t.”
“If you get a little bit of adrenaline in you, you can get over that stuff pretty quickly. It might not be the most fun I’ve ever had as a race car driver.”
“But, once you get to victory lane. You’re not going to remember the pain.”