Brad Keselowski practically broke into a jog leaving the NASCAR media center on Saturday afternoon, eager to return to business at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After recording the fourth-fastest time in the final practice – and getting a gift when a practice wreck involving pole-sitter Joey Logano moved Keselowski's No. 2 car up to the front row for Sunday's Ford 400 – you might have thought Keselowski would maintain the relaxed, affable persona he'd had leading into the weekend.
Keselowski seemed tight and very focused, not breaking into his typical wide grins or engaging in his usual banter with reporters. The Penske Racing driver kept his answers concise and appeared eager to fulfill his media obligations and move on.
"I'm still in a focused race mode, so I don't know if I have a lot of thoughts," he said.
On the eve of what could be his first Sprint Cup Series title, Keselowski said he didn't plan on relaxing much – "other than maybe tweeting," he added.
"I plan on doing a lot of focusing on what I need to get the job done, whether that's with the parts and componentry that combines itself in the car to make the most speed and efficiency or the decisions I need to make inside of it," he said.
The driver chasing him, Jimmie Johnson, took a more relaxed approach. Having worked out on Saturday morning, Johnson said he'll be tired enough to get a good rest before the race.
"It's really nothing for me to lose sleep about tonight," said Johnson, who was 17th in the final practice. "It's an easy night for me."
Johnson was nonplussed to hear Keselowski would be moving up to what was essentially the pole position for Sunday's race. In fact, the five-time champion used it to throw another of his not-so-subtle jabs.
"I hope he tries really, really, really hard to lead that first lap," Johnson said. "I know (Marcos) Ambrose next to him is going to try hard, too. That could be good for me."
But similar to his reaction when asked about Johnson's barbs all week, Keselowski said his rival's words had no effect on the pressure he feels with one race to go.
"I haven't ignored it, but I certainly laugh at it because I think if he could trade places, he would in a heartbeat," Keselowski said.
Said Johnson: "I knew coming into this weekend I was going to have a big hill to climb with the 2 car and the points lead they have. They've done their part, they've been very competitive all weekend long and we'll just have to see how the race goes tomorrow."