Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

NASCAR's Brad Keselowski feels 'naked' without cellphone

HOMESTEAD — Brad Keselow­ski said he feels "naked" without his cellphone.

"That is very accurate," the Sprint Cup's points leader said. "It's my security blanket. But it doesn't really matter how I feel about it."

That's because NASCAR does not want drivers carrying cellphones while racing.

Keselowski was fined $25,000 for tweeting pictures from his phone during a red-flag stop in Phoenix. NASCAR said it told drivers not to bring cellphones into cars after Keselow­ski tweeted during a lengthy delay in February at the Daytona 500.

Asked Thursday at a news conference if he will carry a phone during Sunday's season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Keselowski said, "Probably not."

But he also questioned what, to him, seems like NASCAR's blind spot to a new technology.

"The car," he said, "is a product of technology."

Bottom line, Keselowski said, "You can still be involved in social media, but NASCAR has certainly said that they want to draw a line as to what you can do in the car, and I think that's what it means for the future."

STRATEGY: Keselowski is in a weird spot entering the final race, as the driver of Penske Racing's No. 2 Dodge needs only a 15th-place finish to win his first Cup championship.

Does Keselowski, with a 20-point lead over five-time champ Jimmie Johnson, play it safe or does he race as hard as ever?

"I'm going to play my game, race my way," Keselowski said. "That's got us to this point, and if we do that, we'll be fine. That's our approach."

"We definitely don't want to change our thought process," crew chief Paul Wolfe added. "We want to go down there and contend for the win."

The team will adjust "a few small things" on the car to help gas mileage, Wolfe said, and parts that are close to being "mileaged out" will be discarded earlier than usual.

But overall, "We're not going to change our game plan," Wolfe said. "As the race plays out, if we feel like we need to adjust or change a little bit, we can do that on the fly. But as of right now, it's business as usual."

Copy CAT: The situation is the same for James Buescher, who enters tonight's truck series finale 11 points ahead of Timothy Peters and 12 over Ty Dillon.

"If we switch to defense, you get too worried about what these other two guys are doing and you don't focus on your team and what you need to do on the racetrack," Buescher, 22, said. "We've just got to stay focused on our team, run our race just like we have every other week."

ODDS AND ENDS: Peters' wife, Sara, is scheduled to deliver the couple's first child Dec. 17, fitting since dad drives the No. 17 Toyota. "It would be cool to welcome him into the world as a championship dad," Peters said. … Ricky Stenhouse and Elliott Sadler have swapped the Nationwide series lead five times. "I think it would be a good story if we swapped it six times," said Sadler, down by 20 points. … If Dillon, 20, wins the truck series title, he would be the youngest to do so, besting brother Austin, who won last season at 21.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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