Ford Performance NASCAR: Atlanta (Mustang Sweeps Top-3 Qualifying Spots)

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

FORD QUALIFYING ORDER
1st – Aric Almirola
2nd – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3rd – Clint Bowyer
5th – Daniel Suarez
12th – Michael McDowell
13th – Ryan Newman
14th – Paul Menard
18th – Kevin Harvick
19th – Brad Keselowski
23rd – David Ragan
26th – Ryan Blaney
27th – Joey Logano
31st – Matt Tifft

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Little Hug Fruit Barrels Ford Mustang – Qualified 2nd

“We made some big improvements the first run. We were 18th but our engineers really made a lot of adjustments to get us to where we needed to be so that I could hold the car wide open because the first run I couldn’t. It is a good start for our Little Hug Fruit Barrels Ford for this weekend at Atlanta. It is a bummer. I was trying to think to myself what I could have done to get a little more and I looked up and Aric ran a 55. There wasn’t much I was going to do to catch that. This is my second front row start here at Atlanta. I got my first pole here and I was hoping for another one. Track position for the race will be key trying to figure this thing out.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 ARRIS Ford Mustang – Qualified 5th

“Our Mustang was very good. We didn’t touch the car all three rounds. The balance was very good. I think the temperatures being cold I guess helped a lot. Hopefully tomorrow the sun will come out a little bit more so that we can get a handle on some issues and try to fix them. In all, the Arris Ford Mustang was pretty strong. I feel like we had a top-5 car all day long and that is where we ended up.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Mustang — Qualified 3rd

“It was a good effort. A good effort for everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. It is good to get off on the right foot. Certainly the speed is in the race car. I don’t know what that means for the race. Momentum is such a key thing. When I knew that it was going to be, I tried to get out there. I thought Austin would take off and go and he was kind of lagging back. I knew it was a momentum deal and I had to have as much as I could and it still wasn’t enough. I do believe that we were the fastest car all day long and they were going to have to do something and they formulated a good plan to beat us.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 FR8 Auctions Ford Mustang – Qualified 12th

“We thought we had the potential after practice. The car had a lot of speed. Our Ford Mustang was fast and it was good the first two rounds. I just didn’t time it great that last round. I didn’t get a draft. I am really proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports to get a car in the third round. It is a good first day here at a mile-and-a-half for our program.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Qualified 27th

“I think it is just the rules package. We are still trying to learn and understand what is going on here. I just got loose the first lap behind the 10 trying to find the right distance behind the car I wanted to be. I don’t know if I was the right distance or the handling was just off. We tightened it up the second time but it didn’t give us any speed. We will start in the back and work our way up.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Mustang – Qualified 18th

“Today has been a complete waste of time for us. The car won’t steer. It won’t turn to the right. We can’t figure out what is wrong with the steering to make it go straight. It has been a bit of a challenge today. We haven’t really made any laps that you can actually turn the car. We were kind of just hoping for the best there and it didn’t fix any of it.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Qualified 19th

“We just weren’t fast enough. I don’t know. It is pretty early in the weekend to know really. I think it is definitely different but I don’t think this whole rules change was made for qualifying, I think it was made for the race. We will have to get to the race and see what it looks like there and let the smart people that know everything figure it out from there.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Acorns Ford Mustang – Qualified 13th

“We weren’t quite good enough with our Acorns Ford Mustang. Obviously we were first of the ones that didn’t make the cut. I learned a little bit watching what those guys were doing and I think everybody was trying to pay attention to learn and apply what to do for the rest of the season. We had a good first run and just wasn’t quite good enough to make the cut for the second run. Ricky picked up some speed and we lost some speed, so there are things we can learn internally.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Menards/MOEN Ford Mustang – Qualified 14th

“We lacked qualifying speed in practice but we could run just as fast in race trim as we did qualifying trim in practice. I am looking forward to practicing tomorrow with different cars to see how this package shakes out. We bottomed out hard a couple different times and probably cost us some speed. We will figure it out.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 30 FireAde Ford Mustang – Qualified 23rd

“There is definitely a little bit of speed difference in some of the cars. Our Ford was wide open and I am pretty happy with the balance. I think there is a little bit of speed in catching the right draft at the right time. I think if you get it at the right time it can be a benefit but if you get it at the wrong place on the race track it can be a detriment to your balance and speed. I think you saw that in the first round with a couple guys slowing down. I thought it was exciting. We learned a few things. I can’t wait for tomorrow to get in race trim and make some adjustments and see how the cars drive.”

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