Ford Las Vegas Cup Post-Race Quotes

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES

Kobalt Tools 400

March 11, 2012

American Muscle

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Ford Finishing Order:

3rd – Greg Biffle

5th – Carl Edwards

9th – Trevor Bayne

13th – Marcos Ambrose

21st – David Ragan

22nd – Matt Kenseth

24th – Aric Almirola

27th – Casey Mears

30th – Ken Schrader

33rd – David Gilliland

38th – Michael McDowell

40th – Josh Wise

42nd – Timmy Hill

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Meguiars Ford Fusion – WHAT WENT ON WITH YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATES AT THE END?  “I don’t know if Matt was outside of me. They told me that Matt had a run at the top and Carl was inside of me and drifting up.  I was just holding my line because I didn’t know if Matt was above me and I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know if the 17 wrecked or had a problem or anything.  I hope I didn’t run him up high.  It didn’t appear he was out there, so hopefully I didn’t.” WHAT HAPPENED?  “I got down in there and I was on the top and Carl was digging on the bottom.  I could see him right up on my quarterpanel and I was just easing up the track a little bit, giving him room.  I got a pretty good run off the corner and I don’t know what happened behind me.  It was pretty bad behind me.  I don’t know exactly what happened back there.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FINAL RESTART?  “I honestly don’t really know.  Carl just laid back and got by me three-wide and then it just didn’t seem like there was a lot of room getting into one.  And then I did get clear behind him and he just stopped in the middle of the corner.  I don’t really know what happened.  I got into him a little bit and then I don’t know if I got the air pulled off on the right side or what happened.  I thought I got a good start.  I was right with Tony.  I didn’t lay back on Tony. They always do that at the end.  You’ve got to be ready for that, so I don’t really know what I did up there.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “Matt spun his tires just a little bit on the restart and I went down to the apron.  He gave me a ton of room and we just got all bunched up over there.  But I’ve got to thank Aflac for being on board, Fastenal, Ford, Subway, Kellogg’s, UPS, Best Buy.  We were not that good at the beginning of the race. It was fun to battle all day, fun to race at this place.  It’s slick, it’s fun and I’m glad we could at least see the winner up there.  It was a good time.”  WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END?  “Matt spun his tires a little bit and I got a run on him, and then Greg and I went around him and he ended up getting wrecked.  I feel terrible.  He did a really good job.  The whole Roush Fenway team did a good job and at the end it was nice to have three cars up there with a shot at the win.  It was a fun race.  It’s just a really fun race track, so, hopefully, we can go to Bristol and have a good run there.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “A top 10 feels like a win to us, especially with how hard we had to fight all day.  We got the lucky dog one time, but we stayed on the lead lap for the majority of every run except for one.  I got by the 31 in order to be the lucky dog and the caution came out right when we needed it and we got our lap back.  We fought hard from there and dialed the car in.  The sun coming out really helped us.  It freed up the car some and Donnie and Kyle, my engineer, worked hard to figure that out, but this is what we needed.  We needed some momentum.  We hadn’t had a top 10 since Daytona and it feels good to be back at it.”  DID ALL THOSE RESTARTS HELP YOUR CAUSE?  “Yeah, I think that was it.  We weren’t good on a short run all race until the last stop when we put two tires on.  From there on we would be good for like two laps and then it would get really tight and then it would come to us late in the run, so we needed either a two-lap run or a 30-lap run.  Fortunately, we had a couple short runs.  Had it been a 15-lap run, I think we could have finished 11th or 12th, but we probably wouldn’t have finished in the top 10.”

TIMMY HILL – No. 37 Ford Fusion – “We were making a conservative run.  We were a little bit tight, but I was just biding my time waiting for the first pit stop.  We were probably about three laps away from making that stop, but when I went down into turn one I blew a tire out and hit the wall pretty hard.  These guys on the crew are gonna really work hard to see if they can replace some of this stuff, so I can get back out there and get a little more experience.  This isn’t the way we wanted to start our first run. It’s just some bad luck on our part, but we’ll continue on with the rest of the season.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion — “We would’ve had a better finish if we didn’t have to check up behind Kenseth. But, overall, it was a pretty good day.  Jay Guy did a great job making calls in the pits, the pit crew had a good day and we just made the most of every opportunity we had out there today.  I think we can improve on this car, so we’ll take it back and work on it.  But a lead-lap, 21st-place finish at the first mile-and-a-half track of the season for this team is a good start.”



GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Meguiars Ford Fusion – “It certainly started off to be a good season for us so far.  Just plain and simply Matt Puccia is the reason why we’re running and competing and finishing where we are.  This team needed leadership and he was willing to step up and take the task on and he’s done a fantastic job so far.  We were a little disappointed.  Certainly we ran third and we qualified ninth, it was a good weekend, but we were faster last year here and were kind of scratching our head a little bit, so we knew it was gonna be a tough battle today.  We knew that some cars had better speed than us and that if we just hung tough and kept our track position and worked on it, we might be there at the end and that’s certainly what happened today.  It was clear the 14 and 48 were just a little bit better than we were.  The 17 car looked like he was a little bit better than we were, so, like we thought it would come out, we had about a top-five car and finished third.  We’re super-excited about it, but, there again, we want to win like the 14 car did today so we’re gonna keep our heads down and keep working hard.”

HOW MUCH HAVE THE CHANGES YOU MADE DURING THE OFF-SEASON MADE A DIFFERENCE SO FAR?  “It has 100 percent to do with where we’re at right now.  That’s why we changed and put the crew chief in charge last year, and then we kept handcuffs on him.  I wouldn’t let him change any people or change out guys as he went two, three, four, five, six weeks into his job.  We waited until the off-season.  I say we – Robbie (Reiser) and all the guys waited until the off-season to make the changes because we were waiting to figure out what we were gonna do with the 6 car.  We were waiting to see what was gonna happen because it would determine whether we got a sponsor for the 6 or not, so if we had to downsize we were gonna have a bunch of people that we could move internally around the company, so Matt got to really – with free reign I think – got to pick the guys he wanted on the 16, so it’s all been Matt.  Matt has done this whole thing himself with some guidance from the company.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — DO YOU GET TO LOOK AT TONY’S MAPPING AND SEE WHAT HE WAS DOING ON THOSE RESTARTS?  “I don’t think NASCAR has decided whether they’re gonna release the map yet on the top five cars or winning cars or whatever.  We would certainly look at it because any data available you’re gonna look at, whether it helps you or not. It was clear the 14 car had more power than we did.  It appeared to me he had more power than the 48.  He could kind of drive away from him. That car was very, very fast.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a car that fast.  I might go back on my words a little bit because we were really tight in the center of the corner, so I couldn’t use the throttle the way I needed to.  I was off the gas way longer in the corner than probably he was and the 48.  Obviously, that’s why they’re faster, but, still, on the restarts, I’ve just never seen a car drive off like that.  They’ve got something going on with their cars that has carried over from last year, clearly.”

WHEN YOU WERE BEHIND TONY ON THE RESTART WITH 30 TO GO, WHAT WAS YOUR THOUGHT WHEN HE WENT THREE-WIDE RIGHT AT THE START?  “I’m going with him.  Thank you for making the hole for me.  That was the difference between my car and his car.  I was able to pull up on his bumper going down in the corner, but my car started sliding the nose on the bottom and I was sliding up and I had to come out of the gas or I was gonna get into the 2 car until I got it to turn a little bit and then I could get back to the gas, so now I’m side-by-side with the 2.  My car just didn’t turn good enough today.  That’s what I lacked.  We fought loose-loose-loose in practice and kept working on it, working on it, working on it and finally at the end of the day we got it to where it was pretty good.  Today, I was just too tight – right from the drop of the green and we just kind of pecked at it.  We should have taken two, three rounds of wedge out.  We took half-a-round of wedge out, raised the track bar half a round or one round, and I just was not aggressive enough.  I should have taken two or three rounds out of it, or raised the track bar a half-inch or maybe pulled a rubber out of the left-rear and I would have maybe been up their tail pipe a little bit more at the end.  But we had a good run.  Even then, I don’t know if we had a car that was fast enough.”

IS CLEAN AIR SO IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU’RE NOT UP THERE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO PASS ANYBODY?  “Yeah.  It’s just so important – not quite so much here.  It’s very important, but, here, you can move around a little bit because you can run the bottom in one and two, run the top, and you can kind of do the same in three and four, but it seems like it’s further distance behind him.  I’d get within 15 car lengths of the 48 car and my car would just stop.  I couldn’t get any closer, so I’d start criss-crossing around and running the bottom and then I would suck way up on him and now I’m within eight car lengths of him, and then I go down in three and four and I try to run above him and it starts sliding the nose because of the dirty air and then we come off the corner and I’m back to 15 cars lengths.  You kind of move around the race track cat-and-mouse, but, definitely, the guy out front has got it made.  It makes a big difference about everywhere we go.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — DID YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THE 99 AND 17 ON THE FINAL RESTART?  AND HOW WILL IT BE TUESDAY IN THE TEAM MEETING?  “You’ve got to get what you can get.  We saw the 14 go three-wide on the 2 car.  Unfortunately, these days you’ve got to race each car like you’re passing for the position.  Now you’re not probably gonna put the guy out in the weeds and jeopardize him wrecking, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, I guess.  I didn’t know we were three wide.  My spotter told me Carl was on the apron below the 17 and I found that to be a surprise, so I moved up the race track and gave about as much room as I thought I needed or could, and just held my line through the corner.  When I looked out the side mirror, the 99 car was coming up the track, coming up the track and was gonna hit me, and then I started moving up a little bit to try and give him a little bit of room on the bottom, and then my spotter told me the 17 is looking at the top.  I was like, ‘What else can happen in one corner?’  But there wasn’t room for the 17 above me.  I don’t know if he saw that exactly.  It may have looked like he was because the replay showed the 17 was behind the 99 and the 99 kind of got stalled out on my inside.  The 99 finally had to lift or he was probably gonna be in my side, so as long as we’re not beating and shoving on each other, I suppose anything goes.”

WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO FIND THE RIGHT LINE?  “I’m just trying to figure out how to get a clean lane, just trying to get my car to go where I can.  Then I was just hoping those two guys up there would kind of get a little bumping and shoving and slow up a little bit so I could get a chance to get on them because it is hard to pass.  I thought maybe if I got out in front of them, but, there again, my car – when I was out front or when I’d get in the corner really fast, I think it was hitting the splitter a little bit, so that was hurting me.  But you’re just looking for where the car can get the most grip.  That’s all you’re trying to do.”

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