At first, Brad Keselowski offered an honest "I don't know." Then he briefly paused, seemingly to gather his thoughts.
The question recently posed to the Team Penske driver was about his outlook for 2018 after finishing fourth in this year's final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. As one the Championship 4 contenders, Keselowski had a shot at a second premier series title, but ultimately felt he was the long shot.
The 2012 series champion still feels that way. Keselowski, who is nothing but candid, said immediately after the checkered flag in Miami that Ford could be in for a "drubbing" next season if they don't get help to battle the fast Toyotas and what will be a new – and presumably better – Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Which brings Keselowski back to the question at hand.
"At this point, don't see any reason to believe that we won't have a very similar 2018 to what we had in 2017," Keselowski continued. "Which was a good year, but not a great year."
Victories at Atlanta and Martinsville qualified Keselowski for the postseason. A win at Talladega in the playoffs earned him a spot in the championship race.
Keselowski was the only Penske driver to make the playoffs, while he was one of five Ford drivers to be in the postseason. The Championship 4 was a split between two Toyotas (Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, who finished and second in the standings) and two Fords. Kevin Harvick wound up ahead of Keselowski in the points.
For Keselowski to go from good to great and seriously contend for NASCAR's biggest prize would be to resolve what nagged him all year: speed. Through various interviews and his social media pages, Keselowski made it clear he felt Toyota had a horsepower advantage over the competition.
Not that the No. 2 team's numbers were too shabby. In 36 races Keselowski earned 21 top-10 finishes and had an average finish of 12.4. Perhaps one of the most competitive drivers in the garage, and certainly one who has never shied away from pushing his team to be better, Keselowski wants more.
A second championship has been foremost in Keselowski's mind since 2012, and he's insistent on adding to his résumé.
"Winning three races [in 2017] was very enjoyable, but we want to win another championship," Keselowski said. "And we didn't achieve that goal."
And his early expectations imply it will continue to be a long, tough battle to get there.