Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano, Keselowski and Harvick Give Ford Qualifying Sweep at Michigan

by Official Release On Fri, Aug. 11, 2017

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Pure Michigan 400 Qualifying – Michigan International Speedway
Friday, August 11, 2017

Ford Qualifying Results:
1st – Brad Keselowski
2nd – Joey Logano
3rd – Kevin Harvick
11th – Clint Bowyer
12th – Ryan Blaney
14th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15th – Kurt Busch
18th – Danica Patrick
21st – Trevor Bayne
24th – Aric Almirola
27th – Matt DiBenedetto
28th – David Ragan
32nd – Landon Cassill

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – YOU WERE BAD-FAST THAT LAST ROUND: “Yeah. Paul Wolfe and my team, they kept dialing in on the car and kept working on it. I’ve got goosebumps. It feels really good to run well here at Michigan. This is my home track. A lot of fans here. I have to put my glasses on so nobody can see me. Really cool. Really special.”

WHAT WILL YOU BE LOOKING WORKING ON TOMORROW TO GET YOUR CAR RACE READY? “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m really caught up in the moment. I’m going to enjoy this and let him (Paul Wolfe) worry about that.”

RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE FINAL ROUND OF QUALIFYING? “About backing it into the fence into Turn 1. I just got loose over there. You lose time in one corner and you can’t make it up. I’m proud of the first two rounds. We didn’t tighten up for the last round. We have good speed in our car. Hopefully we should be able to drive up through everybody in the race.”

KEVIN HARVICK – No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion – “We ran our fastest lap in the last round. I held it just a little bit too wide getting into one and it chattered two or three times coming down the hill and I knew when I put the throttle down that I didn’t have quite enough speed to carry in there, but I had the car to do it. It was a good lap for our Busch Light Ford.”

HOW ABOUT THIS BEING A GOOD START TO THE WEEKEND? “We’ve got track position. We’ll get a good pit stall. We’ll have all the things we need to start the race, so everything has gone good so far.”

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “It seems like Team Penske has brought some speed, even the 21, and really most of the Fords look pretty good here. That’s a good sign. I think we were really good in race trim, too. I feel good about it. Obviously a good starting spot and a good pit stall is gonna be key, and hopefully we can just maintain that track position and we need to win, so this is a good start.”

HOW DO YOU NOT LET THAT PRESSURE OF NEEDING A WIN GET TO YOU? “I love the pressure. I’m all right with pressure. It’s good. I’d rather be in, but the pressure part is OK. You’ve got to get used to that, but that’s what this sport is, especially during the Playoffs. We just have to turn into Playoff mode a little bit earlier than everybody else to get in, but so far so good and we’ll just get this Shell/Pennzoil Ford and do our thing. Like I said, execute our race. If we have speed it makes life a lot easier, kind of like earlier this year, and make something happen here.”

DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT THE WEEKEND? “Of course. You don’t know what you’re gonna have before you unload. It seems like we’ve picked up a little bit and hopefully it continues through practice tomorrow. We can hopefully find a couple more things. The field usually gets closer. As there’s more practice time the field makes more adjustments and it gets a little bit tighter, so hopefully we can make some good adjustments, maintain the speed we’ve got in our car, and race my teammates for the win.”

JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE – ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT? “It was a good improvement from practice. It looked like we were 10th-quick or so in practice and after a couple runs that’s kind of where we were. We were able to make some good improvements on our race car and get to where we almost got the pole. We missed it by 7-thousandths, so close, but we’ve got to be proud of the effort that we’ve put in as a team and making speed at a track like this that in all honesty we’ve been a little off speed-wise. It seemed like in race trim we were pretty good – not many race cars were in race trim, but it seemed like we had speed in the race car, so starting towards the front is a big deal here, but anything can happen the way the strategy is here with the stages and the tires not falling off much. They still do a little bit, but it becomes an interesting strategy on how this race plays out, so having speed in your car is always a big help and it seems like we have that in our Shell/Pennzoil Ford this week.”

CAN YOU GIVE MORE DETAILS ON THE IMPROVEMENTS YOU MADE? “No. I can’t tell you what we did. Are you kidding me? (laughing) We made it better.”

HOW MUCH DID THE CLOUD COVER HELP YOU? “I know. It’s hard to put a number on what it’s worth, but we all know a cooler race track is better. We know directionally it’s in the right direction, but we don’t really know how much. We can’t quantify it to say it’s worth a tenth or two-tenths or half-a-tenth. We’re not really sure on what that’s worth, but we all know it’s better, so we all aim for it and try to get as much shade as we can. You say that and then Brad made that second run in the second round and I think there was some sun in that run and he was able to pick up a lot of speed and was almost faster than Blaney that round, so I don’t know what it’s worth. You would think the longer the shade is on the race track the more the temperature would keep coming down and where does it level out?”

ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED TO BLANEY? “I haven’t seen his lap or talked to him, so I don’t know if he got loose or bobbled. He bobbled? He must have gone up the track a little bit.”

HOW IS YOUR CAR IN RACE PACE? “I hope we have more speed than we had here in June. We didn’t have a very fast car here in June and were able to squeak out a top-three finish. We overachieved that day in execution, but I think this car is better than that. I think the balance itself in race trim was more driveable. I’m not in there swatting flies the whole time. I seemed to be in a lot more control, which is a big deal, especially when you get in traffic that you can be a lot more racy and be more aggressive, which is something we’ve been lacking a lot this year. It seems like we’re going in the right way at this point.”

WHAT WOULD THE RELIEF BE LIKE IF YOU WIN? “You have no idea. Believe me, as you get closer to this thing it becomes more and more real, but it is what it is. That’s sports. As an athlete you have to learn how to handle pressure and that’s not just the drivers in this situation, it’s the whole team. It’s not just the crew chief. It’s not just the engineers. It’s not just the guys over the wall. It’s not just the mechanics that are working on the car. Everybody has to be better in these occasions because the pressure is on. Let’s be honest. The pressure is on, but a lot of times it’s gonna bring the best out of you, or sometimes the worst. You’ve got make sure it’s the best.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Go Bowling Ford Fusion – “I felt like we started this qualifying session and our Go Bowling Ford was a little bit looser than it was in practice, so I made kind of a half-run there in the first session, came back in and tightened it up and did some things we needed to do and went back out and put our best time of the day down and felt really good about that. Then the first run of that second round I felt like I hit one and two OK, and missed three and four a little bit. That last run I felt like I nailed one and two and felt really good and then overcompensated and was a little too tight down in three and four. After our last qualifying session here at Michigan, I’m definitely happy with starting 14th. I feel like we can race pretty good from there, so we’ve got better track position than we did last time and tomorrow is National Bowling Day, so go out and go bowling.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE – HOW SATISFYING IS THIS POLE FOR YOU? “It feels pretty good. I’m not really known as a great qualifier, so maybe over time I’ve probably put a little less stock in qualifying, but I can tell you that when I saw that we were gonna win the pole those last few seconds of qualifying it put chills down my body. It’s a great feeling. It’s a special track for me to have any kind of success at. Those that have been in the media center long enough have probably heard me say this and I’ll say it again for those that haven’t, but any success you have at your home track is right there with having success in the biggest races of the year like Daytona for the 500 and the championship. It’s a big deal for any driver, not just myself. Of course, this is my home track and to be able to have any kind of success here just really feels so darn good and I just hope we can keep it up this weekend.”

THE SECOND ROUND SEEMED HUGE FOR YOU. “Yeah. We were decent in practice. I wasn’t as good as my teammate, Ryan Blaney, in practice or the first round. I went out and I just felt like we took a step backwards from where we were in practice, but to my crew chief’s credit, Paul Wolfe, he didn’t give up on it. He came up with some stuff to make us better on the adjustments and you’re always a little skeptical. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical before I went out for that last round because the track had lost its cloud cover, and my tires were pretty warmly. With the adjustments he made we made out and we were handling really well. I was very happy with the performance of the car and I thought maybe I had a shot at it in the last round, but my tires were pretty hot because I did two runs right in a row, so who knows? I thought, ‘Well, I’ll go out right at the end once the tires cool off,’ but with the way the clouds were rolling you had to go right away, so I went right away there and I thought as I’m going out, ‘There no way. I don’t have enough time for the tires to cool off. The track is optimal right now, but I’ve got to go.’ And it worked, so I’m just thrilled with the results, thrilled with the effort and the competitive spirit of our team to handle a big pitch of adversity right off the start, and then come away with a tremendous result.”

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF INSPECTION. WHAT HAS CHANGED THAT WE’RE PERHAPS UNAWARE OF? “About this time every year NASCAR takes all the cars to kind of check to make sure that the competitive balance is where they want it to be, and I think we’ve seen the last two or three weeks that the Toyota cars are pretty dominant. We had a strong suspicion that those guys would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition, and potentially that’s right because our team hasn’t done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as they’ve been the last few weeks. So we’ll know for certain at the end of the week based on whether NASCAR takes the cars after the race today. This is their last opportunity on a track that has the potential to showcase the important things for speed in the chase, which is aerodynamics and horsepower, because the chase is predominantly on tracks of mile-and-a-half or similar high-speed nature to this. So this is kind of the last opportunity for NASCAR to do that, so we came into the weekend thinking that some of those really strong cars would tune it down and knowing that we probably were pretty close to what we had the last few weeks. I’m not sure if that’s what happened, but it kind of looks that way at the moment, but we’ll still take what we can get.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – WHAT’S THE SENSE OF PRIDE LIKE TO DO THIS HERE? “It’s huge for me. I know it’s a huge weekend. I know we have a fast car to try to capitalize on it, but I don’t know how to summarize it any better than a driver’s home track, where his family and friends are all present, just feels like a bigger event. Michigan for me, being my home track, feels like a bigger event than other weeks and you want to make those people proud when you have the opportunity, so when you have the smallest sliver of success it just feels magnified. It feels bigger and that’s what it feels like for me.”

POLE WINNERS DO WELL HERE. HOW DO YOU FEEL FOR SUNDAY? “It feels really good because I think you’re spot on that stats don’t lie. Michigan qualifying is a very important track because there’s not a lot of fall off in the tires, the handling characteristics that might change what would be a good car in qualifying versus what would be a good car in the race stays pretty consistent because of that and the track surface that it has. That makes us feel pretty good. We won’t really know until we get into race trim tomorrow as far as what we really have, but it certainly is inspiring and something that I think we’re looking forward to hopefully taking advantage of with having the number one pit stall and starting up front and keeping that track position all race long.”

IF YOU WON WOULD YOU BREAK OUT THE BOOT AGAIN? “There were some legal issues with the boot, to my understanding, so it got retired. But it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, so we might have some forgiveness to ask for it that were to happen. I don’t even know if it’s here. I kind of feel bad I’m not prepared, but I can promise you we would have a great time and a great party.”

HOW IDENTICAL IS YOUR SETUP TO JOEY’S CAR AND CAN IT HELP WITH YOUR TRUCK TEAM SETUP? “There’s not much I can really tell the truck guys. There’s so much different with those vehicles than these vehicles with the draft and they almost run around here wide-open at a much slower speed, so there’s not a lot I can tell them that’s gonna apply. But I’ll certainly be watching and willing to give any input or help in any way that I can as the race plays out. As far as our cars, I think my car and Ryan Blaney’s car continue to be week to week almost identical in every way from the people working on it to the most smallest minute details of the setup and so forth. We try to stay in line as much as possible, but my other teammate, Joey Logano, there are some small differences that I couldn’t really allude to. I would let Travis Geisler and the team explain those things.”

DO YOU SENSE THE 22 TEAM IS FEELING THE PRESSURE? “I don’t spend a lot of time around the team. I spend a lot of time around Joey Logano. Of course, they’re not in the situation they want to be in, but they have a tremendous opportunity to break out of it the next few weeks. The last race before the playoffs is the track where they did win at last year, and he’s got two wins there, so my sense for that is he’s got a lot of racing left and he’s got a great opportunity to get in the position he wants to be in.”

WHAT’S THE BOOT STORY? “Das Boot? You’ve never seen the beer movie, where they’ve got the big boot that the beer goes in? You have to watch the movie. The big beer jug. That’s Das Boot.”

WHO IS HERE FROM YOUR FAMILY AND WHO ARE YOU CALLING FIRST? “I’m gonna call my wife first. She texted me and I haven’t had a chance. She’s at the Greenfield Village with my daughter and mother-in-law and father-in-law for the first time and they’re having a blast and playing up a storm. I can’t wait to see them and probably Facetime them and say hello. None of my family is here. They’re all coming tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to seeing them and enjoying the moment.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – HOW DOES IT FEEL TO DO THIS IN FORD’S BACKYARD? “The manufacturers being here has always added something to Michigan that’s hard to quantify. There’s a lot of presence, a lot of Ford executives, a lot of Ford presence in the blue collar workers as well, and they take a lot of pride in seeing the vehicles run well. Manufacturers remain our biggest sponsors and our biggest partners, so it’s important to make those guys happy and I thought I saw a text in there from a few of them. We’re thrilled to do so, and we want to make sure that we do that and keep those guys engaged and show them that we’re making the most out of their investments in the sport.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BOOK YOU BOUGHT FOR HIM – DUDE YOU’RE GONNA BE A DAD. HOW DID YOU GIVE IT TO HIM? “He had his gender reveal and all those things. He had the Mustang and did the burnout with the blue tires, which was pretty cool, so we gave him some gifts there. I think my wife is probably as excited as they are because she’s been thrilled to death shopping for clothes to give them, so that’s been fun for her. She had a whole bunch of ideas to help them with their nursery and I think she’s helping with the baby shower, but I can’t keep up. I know there’s been a whole discussion about cupcakes. Our families get along very well and I’m happy for him and to see him going into the next chapter of his life.”

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c) **

Leave a comment

Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at

Copyright © All rights reserved. - Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.