Just a couple of weeks removed from celebrating their NASCAR Sprint Cup championship together with Dodge, Brad Keselowski and his Penske Racing crew began preparation for their 2013 title defense with their new Ford Fusion as part of a multi-team test of the new-generation Sprint Cup cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Although he shied away from any direct comparisons of his new and old machinery – in contrast with the exuberant early reaction of Dale Earnhardt Jr. following his test runs – Keselowski was enthusiastic about the potential of his new combination.
“It's hard to get a great read on the whole manufacturer change because, obviously, it's a different cars,” he said, “but I think we have the potential to be just as strong if not stronger than we were last year. I think that the level of engagement from the Ford camp is extremely high, and that's from the top down. That makes me more confident than anything else because, at the end of the day, this is a people sport. You look at the cars, the aero or whatever it takes to be the best that you can be, and those things tend to work themselves out when you have the best people, and that are engaged and sharing a common goal.”
Keselowski sees trading in his title-winning car for a new model as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of himself and his team.
“One of the best advantages of switching to Ford is that it gives us something to prove all over again, that we can continue to be successful no matter what the manufacturer, no matter what the circumstances,” he said. “I think that's very healthy.”