May 10, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski‘s hard-charging ways haven’t always been the most popular, and that certainly wasn’t the case last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Keselowski was multiple laps down in the Aaron’s 499 but was still racing among the leaders in a bid to get those laps back. But with 50 laps to go, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion spun and triggered a 14-car pileup.
But the Team Penske driver said yesterday at Kansas Speedway that he wasn’t worried about the heat he’s taken from fellow drivers and fans on why he was racing so hard at the time.
“I got in a wreck at a plate track and I caused it – [it’s] like I am the first one to ever do that or something,” he said after qualifying third for tonight’s 5-Hour Energy 400.
“Wrecking is never fun but it happens and that is just part of racing. Anyone that doesn’t see it that way obviously has a set of biases that [ensures] they can’t make a rational judgment, so I don’t worry about their criticism.”
Defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said that he probably would’ve chosen to ride toward the back if he were multiple laps down like Keselowski was.
However, Keselowski himself disagreed with that sentiment.
“We all hold the steering wheel and there are 43 of us and we all hold it differently and make different decisions,” Keselowski said. “It would be quite lame to watch if we all did the same thing and had the same ideas and personas.
“I would say in most cases, I probably wouldn’t have done that. But in that case, I felt like it was the proper thing to do with having the potential to race the 1 car [Jamie McMurray] and get back in sequence.
“If we would have gotten back in sequence, we could have had a shot at winning the race with three or four yellows. I wasn’t ready to give up. I don’t feel like my team gave up on me and it is my job to not give up on them.”
Keselowski will try to put the ‘Dega incident behind him tonight on the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas. Team Penske has split the season’s first two races on 1.5-milers, with Keselowski winning at Las Vegas and teammate Joey Logano winning at Texas.
Logano starts second this evening next to pole sitter Kevin Harvick.
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