Brad Keselowski says he’s focusing on Phoenix win – and nothing else

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Insisting that he’s not worried about his involvement in a second post-race melee during this Chase for the Sprint Cup – or comments from his fellow drivers on what they see as his lack of respect towards them – Brad Keselowski says that he’s stayed focused on nothing else except winning Sunday’s Eliminator Round finale at Phoenix International Raceway.

Well…Maybe one other thing.

“I haven’t honestly paid that much attention this week,” he said after qualifying on the front row tonight at PIR. “I knew early on in the week, it was gonna be one of those weeks and I kinda put my head down and focused on Phoenix – and my Madden team.”

“At the end of the day, we all have our own biases. It’s not fair for me to really – I shouldn’t say it’s not fair, but I don’t think it’s really productive for me to get into the ‘He said, she said.’ Because at the end of the day, we disagree.”

Following Keselowski and Jeff Gordon’s scrap following last weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway – triggered primarily by late-race contact between them that left Gordon with a flat tire and caused him to finish 29th – multiple drivers such as Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Sunday’s polesitter, Denny Hamlin, have said that Keselowski didn’t show enough remorse for what his aggressive actions versus Gordon at Texas brought about.

But Keselowski says that he has not spent a lot of time digesting their comments and furthermore has a clear conscience about what he did.

“I feel pretty good about the actions I’ve taken,” he said. “Some of them are not perfect. I’ve made some bad ones, but I didn’t make any last week and I still feel that way.”

Neither Gordon, Keselowski or Harvick (who pushed Keselowski from behind leading up to the start of the fight between Keselowski and Gordon) were punished for their roles in the Texas tussle.

However, four Hendrick Motorsports crew members (including three from Gordon’s team) as well as Hendrick crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Kenny Francis have been fined and/or suspended.

When asked if NASCAR made the right decision in their punishments, Keselowski again said that he hadn’t thought much about that.

“I have to worry about winning this weekend, this race, and this championship,” he said. “And that’s where my focus is, and where it will continue to be. And I think, really, a lot of these conversations, a lot of these talking points, are meant to serve as a distraction. So to sit here and comment on a lot of them would really be to justify them.

“…I know the things that I’m doing are the right things.”

And regarding the prospect of possible retaliation against him this Sunday that could ruin his hopes to compete for a second Cup championship, Keselowski said…Well, you can probably figure it out by now.

“I probably need to win the race – that’s my concern,” he said. “And I want to have the most speed I can have, the best execution whether it’s on restarts and on pit road. Those are my concerns. Beyond that, I haven’t put any thought into it.

“My answer to all that other junk is I plan to be in this sport for a long time and whatever happens, I’ll get through it like I have this past week.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).