Brad Keselowski, who also serves as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB, was on Wednesday's show when NASCAR announced it had penalized his No. 2 Team Penske squad for failing post-race inspection last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
The team was docked 35 driver and owner points, crew chief Paul Wolfe was fined $65,000 and the team suffered an encumbered fifth-place finish. Below is a transcript of Keselowski's exchange with NASCAR RACE HUB co-hosts Adam Alexander and Shannon Spake:
Alexander: If Brian Wilson is going to be calling the shots and Paul Wolfe has been suspended, how do you move forward and how concerning is it to not have Paul Wolfe on the pit box for the next three weeks?
Keselowski: "Well, first off, my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is an elite crew chief, and I feel really lucky to have him. He's one of those guys who wins races every year and he has great cars and great speed. If you look through NASCAR's loop data, which is a fancy term for a bunch of numbers, we're leading in a lot of categories, and one of them is speed. Speed in the car. A large part of the credit of that goes to Paul Wolfe and his leadership for our team. To lose a guy like that, it definitely hurts. He's a great asset to our team, but this is one of those setbacks that I think every team faces and we're just going to have to get through it. It looks like it's going to be a handful of races and we'll do the best we can during that time. The good thing about Brian Wilson is he comes from the XFINITY side as a crew chief who just won with Joey Logano at Las Vegas. But even before that, he was on the 2 team as the lead engineer, so a lot of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working together with him."
Alexander: We just received word that Kevin Harvick's team also has been penalized. Harvick will lose 10 points and crew chief Rodney Childers will be suspended for one race. It is considered an encumbered finish, so his sixth-place finish at Phoenix would be off the board. That's big for them right now because they don't have a win like you do.
Keselowski: "I think it's real important to explain why points matter this year. Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there's a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you're one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team."
Spake: Losing Paul Wolfe – is that the biggest hit for your team and how do you guys plan for the weekend knowing he's not going to be on top of the pit box?
Keselowski: "I think that's still to be figured out. One of the biggest things on this topic is we ran all the same parts on the car at Phoenix that we had run at all the other races, even the one we won at Atlanta. And all those parts were good and they passed inspection pre- and post-race. So, there's a lot of questions for our team, like we don't understand exactly what happened, and you saw that with the statement that Team Penske released. So, we've still got to figure out what happened and that's probably the most concerning thing because we feel like we built a car that was legal. It passed pre-race inspection. We don't want it to happen again, and we don't understand what happened. So right now, that's the most concerning thing – trying to figure out, because honestly, we don't know."