Ford Performance NASCAR: Keselowski Leads Ford with Third-Place Bristol Finish

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Saturday, August 17, 2019
EVENT: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Bristol, TN.

Ford Finishing Results:
3rd – Brad Keselowski
7th – Clint Bowyer
8th – Daniel Suarez
10th – Ryan Blaney
11th – Ryan Newman
16th – Joey Logano
23rd – Paul Menard
24th – Corey LaJoie
27th – Matt Tifft
29th – Aric Almirola
33rd – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
36th – David Ragan
37th – Michael McDowell
39th – Kevin Harvick

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang – “There’s always a lot going on at Bristol and a lot happening at one time. The top was pretty much the dominant line. It’s hard to pass, so guys were aggressive in making moves. There at the end it looked like maybe the 12 blew a right-front tire. Somebody blew a tire and they all slid up, and it’s Bristol you check up and you kind of all wash up into the same spot. I saw my teammate try to dive low to miss it and just caught it and when he caught it, I just ran right in the back of him. It’s unfortunate for everybody at Front Row Motorsports – lost two cars in that accident and not really anything of our own doing, just wrong place wrong time. It’s unfortunate for the Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang and for David – not his last Bristol race, but this was an important race for him and I hate it for him.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 MDS Transport Ford Mustang – “I saw Blaney cut a tire just past the start-finish line and I knew he was gonna run up and hit the wall, and I started trying to slow down. I was already committed to running the top and that happens in a fraction of a second and I got off the gas and hit the brakes, tried to go low, but as they bounced off the wall they came back down the track a little bit and just knocked the radiator out. That’s racing at Bristol. That’s short track racing. We had a solid run. I felt like we had a top 15 to top 20 car. We made some good adjustments throughout the night and it’s just one of those things. That’s kind of the way short track racing goes.”

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HOW WAS THE RACING? “It was great. I felt like the bottom groove was still really good for some cars. Our car wasn’t that great on the bottom, but our Mustang was really fast up top. I felt like the second stage we had a top 12 or 14 car because it was rubbered up a lot up top, and I think the top has kind of evened out some. It’s a great race. Bristol is a great track and it’s gonna be a good finish. I wish we were gonna be out there.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – DID YOU SEE THE 95 LEADING AT THE END? “We were getting lapped there at the end and I was like, ‘Who is leading?’ And they said, ‘The 95 and the 11 is right there.’ I’m like, ‘No way, man.’ The 11 just got by him. That’s tough. That would have been a pretty cool story. He just announced that he’s not gonna be in that car next year and I think he does a great job. He really drove for that one. It stinks he couldn’t get it done, but he’s a great driver. I hope he lands somewhere good.”

WHAT WAS THE RACING LIKE? “Typical Bristol, I thought. I thought the bottom was gonna be a little bit more competitive. A little bit later in the race when the top kind of was dominant I got in that wreck there. I cut the right-front tire down on the restart and plowed into a couple of them. We got it fixed and I was glad we were able to come back. I would have liked a caution to see what we could have done, but the thing was killed. That’s a big Dent Wizard car for sure, but I’m just glad we were able to salvage a decent day. It could have been a lot worse.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING ABOUT THE TIRE? “No. I clipped the 8. I kind of got loose and I just touched the 8 and as soon as I touched him I heard a pop and I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ You just have no time to slow down, so you slow down as much as you can, but wrong spot.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – “My nose without a hole in it would have been really good, but it was a decent finish for us nonetheless. We led a lot of laps and that’s something to be proud of.”

WHAT DID YOU NEED TO CONTEND? “We seemed to fall off a little bit on the long run and then got in the back of some lap traffic and put a hole in the nose, and that knocked a little bit of speed out of it. That’s all she wrote for us.”

WAS IT HARD TO PASS? “No more than usual Bristol. It’s just the way the cars are around you.”

HOW WERE YOUR TIRES? “I’m not aware I was having any issues.”

HOW WAS THE RACING? “The top and the bottom came in and it was two-groove racing like we’ve seen here the last three or four years.”

DISAPPOINTED? “We had a shot at winning. We probably weren’t good enough on the long runs to just dominate, but on the short and medium runs we were. I got a hole in the nose there late and that kind of ruined our day.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – “The racing was fun. All in all it was a pretty solid day for the 41 Ford Mustang Haas Automation. I feel like we had a top 10 car the entire weekend and that’s pretty much where we ran. We had some ups and downs on pit road and had some mistakes there as well as some electrical issues that I feel like we’re lucky we were able to continue to finish the race with the battery, but overall I’m proud of my team. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going in the next few weeks.”

HOW BIG WAS IT TO GET THOSE STAGE POINTS TONIGHT? “I feel like that was probably the biggest thing of the day. I feel like that was an amazing call from my crew chief Billy Scott and I’m proud of that call. We have to just keep making those decisions.”

ANY CONTACT WITH CLINT THERE? “It was pretty close. I feel like I was lucky that Clint has the experience that he has and he was able to keep his car out of the wall because if it wasn’t for that I was gonna hit him. Overall, it worked out well. The car was clean on that one. The spotter thought we had contact and we didn’t, so it was pretty tight but it worked out well.”

WHAT WAS THE STORY FOR YOUR RACE? “It was a positive weekend. I wish we could have finished a little bit better, probably in the top five or so, but for whatever reason we’re strong but we’re not super-strong. We’re a top 10 car and that’s where we ended.”

ARE YOU RELIEVED THE 95 DIDN’T WIN FROM A PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE? “He did an amazing job. I feel like he deserved the win, but you never know how things are gonna work out. I feel like I have to do my race and let everything else play out by itself. I can’t control that, but I will tell you that I wish in a way I’m kind of lucky that he didn’t win, but I wish he would have won the race because he’s an amazing driver. He deserves that ride and he’s been doing a very good job this year.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Peak Lighting Ford Mustang – “We had a good race. We were too loose. I needed more rear grip all night long. That’s probably the loosest I’ve ever been here. We kind of fought front turn all weekend long and was trying to make up for it with wedge out and track bar up – stuff like that – and it just hurts rear grip. I mean, all in all, it was a good weekend for us. It was kind of a rebound weekend and what we needed, but you can’t expect those guys to just lay over for you. We did all we could do. I was hoping to be a top five car and when you’re a top five car here you’ve got a chance to win, but were just a beat off of that all night.”

IT LOOKED LIKE THIS NIGHT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE FOR YOU. “Yeah, but it could have been a lot better. It’s short track racing. You’re making split-decisions. I was trying to pass those two cars and get some more stage points for us and I clipped him. It wasn’t nothing he did, I was just trying to shoot the gap and I had a run on those guys and trying to do all I could do.”

CLINT BOWYER CONTINUED — ARE YOU RELIEVED THE 95 DIDN’T WIN? THAT HELPS YOUR PLAYOFF CHANCES. “I hate that for that guy. He’s racing for a job and everything else. You know those Gibbs cars are fast. You knew he was gonna have a rocket and he did. Man, that last run those cars took off like crazy. I was just too loose to go with them.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – “It was a bummer of weekend, but at least we put ourselves in the top 10 towards the end of the race and it just didn’t work out.”

ARE YOU DEVASTATED OVER THIS? “Yes and no. I didn’t feel like we were gonna win anyway, so I’m not super-bummed, I’m just more bummed that our car wasn’t better. We struggled all weekend for speed. We got closer when the top came in, but we still weren’t capable of going up and leading the race and running up front, I didn’t feel like. I thought about 10th-place was as good as we could be tonight and we were doing that and that’s where we needed to be from what we had. It’s a bummer to have it end that way, but I didn’t feel like we had a shot at the win. I’m not as bummed as I thought I would be.”

SO YOU’RE MORE DISAPPOINTED IN THE SPEED OF YOUR CAR THAN WHAT HAPPENED? “Yeah, it’s just racing. They got together and I was already committed to the outside of the 12. They made contact, but I didn’t think it was gonna blow his right-front that quick. Unfortunately, it did and trapped us between the wall.”

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