(Keselowski believes some ethics and sportsmanship are missing in NASCAR of late)
Last week's wide range of controversies got the attention of Brad Keselowski who questioned some of the ethical standards around NASCAR racing.
Between team orders, alliances broken, cheating allegations and penalties being assessed, Keselowski said this weekend at Martinsville Speedway the last few days have not been NASCAR's most stellar.
"You know for me, I think every person, every driver, every team, car owner, whatever it might be, has (their own code of honor). It’s certainly something I place very, very high; that’s why I’m driving for Roger Penske," said Keselowski. "I think you can look at things like that and you can see who a driver picks to drive for and you can kind of get a mindset, so to speak, of how they feel about it. Roger, I think, is at the top of the list in my opinion. There have been times where I’ve had conversations with Roger and ask him why are certain things not done on the car and he’s told me point-blank, ‘Hey, this is something that is a little grey and I don’t live in the grey area, it’s not how I run my race teams, it’s not how I’m going to run my race teams. And if I lose races because I’m not in the grey area, I’ll accept that so that I don’t have to answer for the races that I’ve won and been yelled at, or discredited, or had the asterisk put next to me for some sort of violation’. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that."
Keselowski said he understands the pressure that's asociated with competing at NASCAR's highest levels but that it shouldn't come with the price of losing sportsmanship or respect for the sport.
"It’s easy to fall into temptation of sorts to push it a little bit harder. I think we all come back to it sometime, whatever individual code we have, and mine is a reflection of who I drive for. That can be tough. It can certainly be tough. As far as where my line is at, it’s not an easy answer to give. I want to win as bad as anyone else, sometimes more. I don’t want that win to be discredited in any way shape or form. If that means I have to lose a few to make sure that the wins I have are credited the right way, then I’ll do that.
"I guess it’s tough because one of my defining moments in my career was my first win at Talladega. I think some people may have questioned the integrity of that win and how far I was willing to go. But I see that completely different than what we’ve seen as of late. You know, there’s a question of integrity when you maybe stop on the race track to cause a yellow. There’s a question of integrity when you maybe have something illegal with your car that you know about and so forth and things of that nature. Those are certainly huge questions of integrity. I’m not going to say that I’m always innocent, but I’m trying to make sure that I win without those things. Those are different, in my opinion at least, than what I went through there at Talladega because they’re further reaching."
Keslowski questioned how some of the most recent controversies will impact how NASCAR is viewed from those both sinide and outside the sport.
"When you look at the sport, the perception is, and it always has been, that stock car racing is about drivers," he said. "That’s why drivers get the most pay and sponsors go with the drivers. It’s not supposed to be about who has the best cars. It never has been. It does always kind of morph its way into that. I guess what I’m trying to say about that is that it’s important to the honor and credibility of the sport that a driver wins the race.
"If you win the race by a bump-and-run, that to me is ethical. Man, that’s great. That’s where I stand. If you win a race because you have a cheated-up part that nobody else had and your car is faster, I think that kind of goes against the integrity of the sport and what has made NASCAR so successful to date. So I think that there are two distinct lines so to speak. I guess that’s a tough question to answer, I guess that what I’m trying to say."
Asked to speak to which of the recent issues most got his attention Keselowski added one in that was a bit surprising.
"Wow, there are so many of them, I can’t list them all," Keselowski said. "This was a rough week. To be honest, some people would point at what I just said about Waltrip’s cars, but I didn’t really make that much of that one to be honest. I thought that was just racing, so forth. You know, whatever happened with Jimmie (Johnson), we’ll never know on that car. So, I don’t see how you can really point your finger at that deal. We’ll never know; I don’t have answers on it. So, it just kind of is what it is. I thought it was remarkable, kind of, the truck race to be honest was remarkable to me the things the 3 truck got away with. That would probably be the big one. I thought that was remarkable."
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