Ford Performance NASCAR: Atlanta (Aric Almirola Pole Winner Press Conference)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, February 22, 2019
EVENT: MENCS Qualifying

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang — Qualified 1st

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO POST A 30:55 IN THE THIRD ROUND AFTER TWO LAPS ON TIRES? “Sneaky. You know, we knew our car had a lot of raw speed in it and through the rounds the adjustments that Johnny was making kept making our car a little bit better. I think we ran an 84 and then we ran a 75 in round two but we were getting it done on lap one. In the first round, there was a little bit of confusion leaving pit road. I feel like that might have costs us a little bit. Then that final round just was really good execution by the whole team. The changes that the engineers and Johnny made to the car. Honestly the car that the guys brought, we were good right off the truck. We were second in practice and we carried that speed through qualifying. In that final round, we knew that a second lap was going to be faster than the first. That first lap, we kind of decided to throw that lap away and work on building the speed up. That second lap just really executed and hit all my marks perfectly and was able to be good enough and had a really fast lap to get the pole which is really cool because I haven’t done it in like seven years. That was pretty neat.”

CLINT HASN’T HAD A POLE SINCE 2007 AND NOW YOU GOT HIM: “Good. I’ve finally got something on Clint (laughing)”

DID CLINT RIB YOU AT ALL WHEN YOU GOT BACK THERE? DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO SAY ANYTHING TO HIM AFTER THE RUN? “No, I haven’t seen him yet but that is one of the great things about our race team. We are going to have a lot more opportunities at these. Everybody at SHR is building incredible race cars. It doesn’t matter what rules they throw at us. At the end of the day it is about people. That is one of the things that impresses me the most about our organization. You give 400 really talented employees a challenge with a new race car, with a Ford Mustang, and a new rules package from NASCAR and they just go to work. They put their head down and go to work and figure out how to make everything work to make the cars go fast. That has blown me away in my year and couple months that I have been there with how dedicated those employees are. All 400 employees at making race cars go fast. That is what they wake up every morning to do.”

IS THIS LIKE PLATE TRACK QUALIFYING NOW EVERYWHERE WE GO WHERE YOU HAVE TO WIND IT UP TO GET A FAST LAP? “It will be different at different tracks. That is one of the things that is still an unknown. Johnny and I talked a lot about it this week with our engineers and myself sitting down at the shop on Tuesday looking at a lot of different scenarios and things. I think it will be different from track to track. Every track will be risk reward. It is going to be very dependent on the track we are at and the tire that Goodyear brings. That was one of the things that we were concerned about here at Atlanta, the tire fall off. We knew we couldn’t just keep putting laps on our tires. We needed the tires to be at the best at the end. Even though we knew that lap two was going to be faster.”

THERE SEEM TO BE MORE UNKNOWNS NOW THAN KNOWNS WITH THIS PACKAGE. WHAT DO WE NEED TO LOOK FOR? “I think one of the things we are going to look for is the fall off. I think that with this new package, there is going to be a lot of risk versus reward with building speed into your car because then you sacrifice handling. It is going to be really hard and a very tall task to trim your car out and have speed and still have it driving good. If you make your car drive good it probably won’t handle very good. If you make it handle good it probably won’t be very fast. That is the challenge that the teams and engineers and drivers are faced with with this package. Trying to find raw speed without sacrificing handling.”

SO SETTING THE CAR UP FOR QUALIFYING WILL BE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE RACE? “I honestly don’t know. I don’t get into the details and the weeds with Johnny and the engineers on our team. They sit there and spend 16 hours a day cross eyed looking at their computers trying to figure out how to make our race cars go fast. I just show up and tell them if it is tight or loose or give them my thoughts and opinions on strategic, 10,000 foot view stuff. As far as all the details on the car and what they are going to need to do to make it fast for qualifying versus what we will need to be fast on Sunday will be up to them. I will be the first guy to know if our car is driving good and has speed but as far as the planning and preparation and all that stuff, a lot of that falls into those guys hands and they do a really good job at it.”

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