Ford Performance NASCAR: Keselowski Qualifies 5th, Harvick 9th at Homestead

by Official Release On Fri, Nov. 17, 2017

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes
Ford EcoBoost 400 Qualifying – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Friday, November 17, 2017

FORD QUALIFYING RESULTS
5th Brad Keselowski
6th Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
8th Kurt Busch
9th Kevin Harvick
11th Ryan Blaney
12th Trevor Bayne
16th Clint Bowyer
19th Joey Logano
20th Aric Almirola
25th Danica Patrick
28th Landon Cassill
30th David Ragan

RYAN BLANEY — No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion (Qualified 11th)
“We made improvements from the first round to the second round, but we fell off for the third round. We missed a bit on that last adjustment. It was a good effort.”

WHAT WAS THE STRATEGY BEHIND GOING OUT EARLY FOR THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS AND WAITING FOR ROUND THREE? “For the last round you just want to let your tires get as cool as they can be and give it all you have.”

WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRACTICE WHEN YOUR SPEED WASN’T WHERE YOU WANTED IT TO BE AND QUALIFYING? “The biggest difference is day and night. So much changes We made some adjustments to the car between practice and qualifying but the biggest difference is the temperature.”

TREVOR BAYNE — No. 6 Roush Performance Ford Fusion (Qualified 12th)
“That’s good. I wish we could do that every week, but we’ll end on it. We’ll take that and go into the off-season. This week we talked a lot about qualifying and put an emphasis on that. I spent all day on q-trim and it paid off. A lot of times you try to emphasize something and spend all day on it and you don’t get the results, so it’s exciting for us to have both cars in the final round and kind of end where we picked up at the beginning of the season. I love this race track, so I’m hoping in race trim tomorrow we’re as good as we are in q-trim.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion (Qualified 6th)
“I feel like our Fastenal Ford was good, not quite as fast as some of those other cars, but I feel like our Fords are real close. That’s the best qualifying effort by far here at Homestead, which is promising. I felt good with my car in race trim today, so we’ll go have two good practices tomorrow.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI — No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion (Qualified 5th) PRESS CONFERENCE — “It is a decent effort position wise. These races are so long that where you start isn’t always super important. But getting a decent pit selection as qualifying does for you not a bad thing. There’s a half a dozen good pit stalls and we able to get one of those. We don’t have a lot of tires to put on the race. When we do we’ll have a decent position to pit from so that’s good.”

TIRE FALL OFF HERE, CAN YOU TELL A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN A COUPLE LAPS TIME? “Yeah, it is certainly one of the more dramatic tire fall-off tracks. I don’t think that is a bad thing. I think that is a good thing. It gives the track its own distinct character and I never got to run at the old 1996 Atlanta but from what Dale Jr. and those guys tell me this is exactly like that with the shape and fall-off. I think that is really neat. It is kind of funny how that is the end race of the season to harken back. It requires you to be smoother with your inputs and adjust to the car as it changes and faces degradation from the tires and that makes its way to the performance of the car. At the end of the day it is just another challenge for us as drivers to face. That is not a bad thing. That is how you make the cream rise to the top.”

YOU HAD BRAKE ISSUES IN THE FIRST PRACTICE. DID YOUR TEAM RESOLVE THOSE? “No, we haven’t yet but we will keep working on it. Certainly it is a concern for us at this moment.”

IS FIFTH ABOUT WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE? “I thought we could qualify somewhere from fifth to 10th. In the first round we were eighth or ninth then in the second round it was disappointing to be 12th and barely in. The last round was the top of the spectrum. We are probably a tad bit higher than what I realistically thought we would end up, especially off the second round but I am not complaining.”

KEVIN HARVICK — No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion (Qualified 9th) PRESS CONFERENCE — NINTH PLACE EFFORT THERE, KEVIN. TALK TO US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT FINAL ROUND. “Just about spun out there going into turn 1. I don’t know if I just tried to roll a little too much speed. Got the car sliding and missed the whole corner. They did a good job trying to get it back out. I thought we were going to make it back out. Yeah, just missed the lap there and got it loose and wound up ninth. Good thing is it’s ninth, it’s not 39th. And there’s nobody in the first pit box.”

THIS TIRE WEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECTED IN PRACTICE TODAY, AND ANY CHANGES IN HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NUMBER OF SETS YOU HAVE FOR TOMORROW ‑‑ OR FOR SUNDAY?
“I haven’t looked at the set tires. I’ve only run three laps total, three runs.”

WE HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT THE REPLAY, YOUR HANDS IN THE CAR. HOW BIG OF A SAVE WAS THAT DOWN 1? “It was definitely sideways, but I just ‑‑ I don’t know if I tried to roll a little too much speed or just I was pretty confident that it was going to turn to the bottom. It kept turning, but the back wanted to go the other way. It was just one of those things where you’re trying to get that 90 and the 90 was a little too far and just wound up messing the whole lap up. Just one of those moments.”

I KNOW YOU GUYS WANT TO WIN, OF COURSE, EVERY RACE, BUT THIS ONE, HOW DOES YOUR MENTALITY CHANGE? IF THE STRATEGY DOESN’T, AT LEAST IT’S HUGE FOR SUNDAY. CAN YOU GUYS BOTH JUST KIND OF WALK ME THROUGH THAT. “Yeah, you know, for us, it’s been a year of just building everything to get to this point, and I think everybody’s done a great job. You just have to go out and race like you normally do. You just don’t want to be at the end of this race with less sets of tires than the guys that you’re racing with, the way that the tire strategy is and the cutting of the sets. Obviously, tire fall‑off is something that we always talk about here, and I think this weekend it’s going to be magnified. The pace is already ‑‑ I think I was on the pole last year and ran my fastest lap of the three rounds in like a 30, 30‑something. So the pole is like ‑‑ what is it, 31 flat?”

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