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Keselowski: Head Injuries Need To Be Addressed

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, January 25 2017

January 25, 2017: Brad Keselowski says concussion problems need to be studied. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Brad Keselowski said Wednesday he still believed NASCAR’s concussion protocol was lacking, but he had read an article that he felt bode well for the future.

 “I think it was Northwestern University that has made some huge studies and potential breakthroughs with respect to coming up with a definitive tool to diagnose (a concussion) and that piece, to me, is potentially the future of this sport and the path that we need to go down and explore – not just for our sport but for all sports,” Keselowski said on the final day of the NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. “But as the (NASCAR) program stands right now, my opinion hasn’t changed and it’s one where I feel like the program is extremely deficient.”

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Paul Menard says there needs to be a road course in NASCAR’s playoffs.

We have speedways, we have intermediates and short tracks. Throw a road course in there,” Menard said. “I’ve said all along that there are these tracks that we go to two times, like Kansas and Charlotte, that have road courses available.

“I’ve driven on the Daytona road course. It’s a good mixture of high speed and really slow speed corners, so there’s a lot of give and take setup-wise. I’ve actually won on road courses in the Grand-Am Series at Fontana and Phoenix. The Phoenix one is particularly exciting because it’s so small. It’s like a short-track road course.” 

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Ryan Blaney said Ford Motor Co.’s GT program has sparked his interest in sports car racing.

“I would love to do the Rolex 24 or anything like that – one of the bigger races or even a smaller race,” Blaney said. “I’d just love to drive some of those cars.  I love road courses and Ford has made a big commitment into the GT program and the Mustang program. If I ever got a call or opportunity from Mr. (Roger) Penske or Ford, I would definitely do that in a heartbeat.”

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Darrell Wallace Jr. said Wednesday his team still needs sponsorship in order to run the full Xfinity Series schedule in 2017.

“We have the first six races right now with a 99 percent chance we’ll have more after that,” said Wallace, who had Leidos, a military defense company, on his uniform at the annual media tour. “The biggest thing is we haven’t had the best year the last two years, so we just need better results. I believe the changes we have made, along with the new format coming up for the whole sport of NASCAR, will definitely help that out.”

Wallace said there was a possibility that Leidos would increase its commitment once the season began.

“We just have to show out these first six races, show all of our cars, show what we have done in the off-season,” Wallace said. “A lot of changes have been made, a lot of personnel changes, a lot of key people have been moved around. We’ve reformatted our team a little bit.”

Seth Barbour returns as Wallace’s crew chief.

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When Ryan Reed was diagnosed with diabetes he was told he would never race again. Now when he hears from someone whose dreams have been adversely affected by the disease he connects with them.

A kid two years ago told me that he got kicked off the basketball team after he was diagnosed (with diabetes),” Reed said. “That’s just devastating to me.  He was in his early teens, 12 or 13, — such a pivotal time in life — so that story stuck with me and, obviously, I offered any help I could. I think that when you hear stories like that it kind of puts in perspective how tough this disease can be and what it can do to your life.”

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Paul Menard said Wednesday he would one day like to own an ice-racing team and he would leave the door open as far as NASCAR was concerned.

Whenever I do retire I’m definitely going to stay involved in motorsports,” Menard said. “It’s a passion; it’s what I’ve always done. My whole family is involved with this. So when that day comes I’m going to spend the season ice racing and go from there.”

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Ryan Blaney’s uniform this year is unique in its appearance. It’s a combination old school design with the appropriate sponsors added.

 “The firesuit is really something we based on Darlington and the Talladega suit I wore last year,” Blaney said. “Darlington, when we had (David) Pearson on the car, we just changed a couple things up with the colors and made Motorcraft and Quick Lane bigger and stuff like that. 

“I know a lot of people enjoyed the throwback suit that we had and it was just like Mr. Pearson wore when he won the Triple Crown that year, so the Wood Brothers and I talked about trying to do a version of that. I think it turned out really well.  Why not have an old-school suit for the oldest-running team in NASCAR? I think it gives us a really good look and the right look for what the Wood Brothers represent, which is old-school racing.” 

Of course, due to the Wood Brothers’ affiliation with Roger Penske’s organization the drivers are expected to appear in white starched shirts. However, due to Blaney’s inability to prepare one, he’s handed a new one each time it’s the uniform of the day.

 “I’m pretty sure that goes for Brad (Keselowski) and Joey (Logano), too,” Blaney said. “I get them dirty and I can’t wash anything without shrinking it or messing it up, so I just get a new one.”

Blaney also noted he shaved Wednesday, “which was nice” and fixed his hair, “which was good.” 

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NASCAR announced its 2017 Drive for Diversity class Wednesday. The six drivers are Collin Cabre, Chase Cabre, Ruben Garcia Jr., Jay Beasley, Macy Causey and Madeline Crane.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, January 25 2017
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