Auto Racing / Sports

Keselowski not making excuses

DETROIT -- Team Penske's Brad Keselowski didn't make excuses for his move at Pocono on Sunday that cost him the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when he appeared to have it in the bag.

In fact, the 2012 NASCAR champ from Rochester Hills, Mich., still felt it was the right maneuver--he just couldn't pull it off.

Keselowski talked about the incident on the weekly NASCAR teleconference Tuesday, saying "it was the right move" and that he was looking forward to driving for a win in the Quicken Loans 400 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

"With the information we had at the time, I felt like I made the right decision to try and do something, I just didn't execute it," said Keselowski, who finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. "So, it's probably more frustrating with not executing the move rather than taking the risk to make it, for me at least."

With five laps remaining and leading the race handily over Earnhardt, Keselowski was told by radio that he had picked up debris on the grille of his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford.

With the engine running hot, Keselowski decided he'd try to remove the wrapper-like material by tailgating Danica Patrick's No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, which didn't work out as planned.

Instead, Earnhardt flashed by in his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet and held off Keselowski to win his second Cup race of the season.

Kurt Busch finished third in his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet.

"That's the cards we play, and some of racing is always going to be chance, and you have to play it by the odds, and I lost," admitted Keselowski, 29.

Keselowski, who won at Las Vegas earlier in the season when Earnhardt ran out of fuel on the last lap, was asked if he'd play it differently later in the season if a spot in the Chase for the Championship was on the line.

"It's not as though I let Dale go by me, which I think some people are under the impression that's what happened, and it's not," said Keselwoski, who was so close to making it two wins for the year at Pocono and wrapping up a place in NASCAR's postseason. "I just made a move on a slower car to try and take the opportunity I had, and it didn't work. I didn't let Dale go and say, hey, I'm going to cool off my engine. I just didn't execute the move to try and clean it off."

Team owner Roger Penske has given Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano the green light to be aggressive, no matter what others might say about their style.

"Joey is an aggressive driver. I'm an aggressive driver," said Keselowski. "We're both hungry. We both want wins. We both want championships. And I think we are in that spot. We're in that situation where we have what our people would say is a long runway, which means many years and many races and opportunities to do so."

Keselowski and Earnhardt are sure to be in the mix for the win at Michigan this weekend.

Keselowski would like to do well on his home track and in front of family members and friends on Father's Day. He is fifth in points to leader Jeff Gordon and two positions behind Earnhardt, who is third in the standings.

The two have been good friends since Keselowski ran in Nationwide for Junior's JR Motorsports.

But they are fast becoming rivals on the track, although Keselowski said he stops by to see Earnhardt at his sprawling property 40 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., "once a month or so."

"Yes, I think it's natural," Keselowski said of their emerging rivalry, gentlemanly as it may be at this point. "I think Dale got a lot more competitive ... over the last two or three seasons, and certainly I did as well. And that puts a little bit more spotlight on that relationship, and it puts a little more emphasis on the competitiveness that we have with each other, which I think is a good thing.

"But I think he knows that when he wins a race, if it's not going to be me or my teammate, that's there's no one else I'd rather see win."

On Sunday, Keselowski will seek his first MIS victory.

"It's a great opportunity to come home to Michigan ... with cars that have been blisteringly fast this year," said Keselowski, who as a teen got his start on short tracks around the state. "It kind of gives me goose bumps knowing that we have an opportunity, one, to run for another championship, and, two, win a big Cup race at my home track. And both of them are very realistic at this time. A lot of good things going on. I'm just really excited."

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