“It’s Kind of A 180 From Where We Were at the Test”: Iconic Veteran Calls Out NASCAR, Snubbing Their Effort as He Claims the Track Is “Really Challenging”

Published 07/17/2023, 9:05 AM EDT

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When the tire test for Crayon 301 was held in New Hampshire in April, drivers weren’t particularly dissatisfied with the track’s and tires’ state. Be it Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, or Brad Keselowski, all of them had expressed that it was actually beneficial for them to test out the tracks and tires months before the big race, for it’ll help them prepare. However, these drivers were in for quite a surprise. 

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The changed nature of the track significantly surprised drivers NASCAR drivers during the Crayon 301 qualifying held on Saturday. They felt that the tracks they faced were certainly different from the ones they were facing now. Brad Keselowski, who ranked 9th in Saturday’s qualifying, expressed his take on what could have changed in the tire or track since April. 

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Brad Keselowski thinks the qualifying was indicative of a surprise hurdle

The 2023 Crayon 301 qualifying saw JGR take the cake. Christopher Bell won the pole on Saturday and Martin Truex Jr came in second. Keselowski, who has high hopes for the upcoming race, scored 9th. However, he feels that the car might have something to do with this outcome. He was certainly not expecting the difficulties that came his way during the qualifying. 

When asked how the tires felt after qualifying, Keselowski’s response came somewhat as a surprise to fans. “The cars are really challenging to drive. It’s kind of a 180 from where we were at the test,” he asserted. However, he also had suggestions for what might have made driving difficult during the qualifying. 

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I thought the cars were driving really good, and maybe it’s the modified rubber or maybe it’s the hotter track temps. But, super challenging cars to drive right now. I think you’re seeing that with the way qualifying played out so far,” he further said. Thus, what his experience was during the tire test came essentially of no use to him during the qualifying. With pole opposite experiences on the two decisions, Keselowski seems to be in a state of confusion. 

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Additional blow ‘spotted’ for Keselowski

Brad Keselowski is not new to the New Hampshire Motorway. In fact, he has won two races there. However, besides the challenge he is facing with his car, there is another hurdle he must face in New Hampshire—he needs a spotter.

His brother, Brian Keselowski will be filling in as spotter in place of TJ Majors on the rain-postponed race. TJ Majors has gained fame for being an exemplary spotter. And, while Brian has spotted for Brad Keselowski before, this is a crucial race that requires the expert assistance of a top spotter like TJ. Could it be that TJ’s unfortunate absence affects Keselowski’s performance negatively? Or will Brian Keselowski’s prior experience as a crew chief and spotter save the day?

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As fans wait eagerly for the now Monday race, they can only hope that factors like modified tires and tracks don’t harm the performance of the racer they are rooting for. 

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Written by:

Anjori Mukherjee

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Anjori Mukherjee is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A journalist and storyteller by heart, Anjori has gained significant experience in sports journalism in the past four years. Being thorough in research and unbiased in her pronouncements, she lives by upholding journalistic integrity.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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