Keselowski: “I Wanted an All-Star Race I’d Enjoy as a Fan”by Kyle Pokrefky May 6, 2016 0 comments
KANSAS CITY — Like many other things surrounding the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, driver input played a major role in the development of the All-Star Race’s new format.
Officially announced earlier today, the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race will feature three segments with the final 13-lap segment featuring a mandatory four-tire pit stop for either the top-nine, top-10 or top-11 drivers.
With half the field for the final segment starting from the rear of a 20-driver field for a 13-lap shootout on fresh tires, the run to the end of this year’s All-Star Race should prove to be quite the hectic one.
If you ask Brad Keselowski, he’d tell you that that’s all according to plan.
Speaking at Kansas Speedway on Friday, Keselowski, a new member of the driver’s council, stated that both he and the council had a hand in the exhibition race’s format change for this year.
“Someone reached out to me and asked me from the Charlotte Motor Speedway what we could do to make the race the best possible, and I put a little bit of thought into it,” Keselowski said. “I know another group of drivers did as well and we all kind of pitched in some ideas. I don’t know, I don’t think that I was all the ideas, but maybe the one that seems to catch everyone’s attention.”
Keselowski’s motivation for the changes made stem from him wanting to see something that he personally would want to watch.
“I just wanted to see something that I would want to watch if I was a fan, and something that I would want to be proud of if I was the driver that won it.”
Keselowski says that he has never felt satisfied with the previous incarnations of the All-Star Race, feeling that the previous formats made for rather lackluster finishes; something he hopes to change with the adjustments he helped make to the event.
The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford also spoke about the challenges of finding a way to keep multiple parties happy with the changes made.
“Quite honestly, I didn’t feel like the formats of the past few years were that way,” Keselowski continued. “So when sitting down and kind of going over it all, I kind of had this over-arching theme that I think our sport is best when at the end of the day we have what I call common winds, where everybody is happy.
“Those are easy to say, hard to do, but I think they’re out there. A lot of times we get caught up with trying to maybe make one group happy and we forget that this sport is more than one group. So for this particular format, example, the idea was how do we make the drivers feel like they earned it and the fans feel like they saw a great race.”
When speaking of how he believes the new format will be received, he’s aiming for it to be the new benchmark for the illustrious race.
“I feel really good about it,” Keselowski stated. “I think what you’re gonna see in the All-Star Race is gonna be the modern day format of excellence for that type of race because a lot of things have changed.”
The Sprint All-Star Race will take place on Saturday, May 21st at 9:00 p.m ET.
Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images