Pastrana Wins Talladega Nationwide Pole

Ford Racing NNS Notes & Quotes:
Aaron’s 312 Qualifying (Talladega Superspeedway)
Friday, May 3, 2013

Ford Nationwide Qualifying Results:
1st – Travis Pastrana
3rd – Trevor Bayne
6th – Sam Hornish Jr.
12th – Joey Logano
15th – Reed Sorenson

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?  “There’s not much as a driver you can do here, but the car drove all right.  We were trying to max out our temps as much as we can to try to make the most power we can get.  I think we all thought we were gonna qualify a little bit better than that, but we’ll see what that puts us.”

American Muscle

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RUNNING SOME NATIONWIDE RACES AGAIN?  DOES IT HELP YOU ON SUNDAY?  “Yeah, not a whole bunch this weekend because the racing is so different here in these Nationwide cars, so it doesn’t help your Cup effort to be over here this weekend.  But it’s kind of a relaxed weekend.  You’ll have a little more free time here because in practice you can only do so much.  It makes sense to run this as my first Nationwide race because it will allow me to learn working with Jeremy Bullins and the whole Discount Tire team.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING?  “It’s fun when your day goes all right.  It’s frustrating because you can’t control your own destiny as much as you would like to as a driver.  You’re relying on what other people do and that’s what makes it a chess match.  You’re banking on a guy doing a certain thing when you make your move and if he doesn’t make that move, you’re out of luck.  It just kind of depends on what other people do and if someone makes a mistake in front of you, a lot of times you’re gonna get caught up in it.  There’s a lot going through your mind on just positioning yourself for the right moments at that time in the race.”

ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS OR UNKNOWNS YOU HAVE ABOUT THIS CAR AT THIS TRACK THIS WEEKEND?  “The bumpers line up pretty good, so we don’t really have an issue there, but there are some unknowns you always try to figure out when you get here to try and improve on your package a little bit.  These new Generation 6 Cup cars don’t handle as well.  Obviously, handling isn’t as big of a deal here, but it will still come into play a little when you get in the big packs, so you’ll probably see some of that in practice.”

SAM HORNISH JR. – No. 12 Wurth Ford Mustang – “You’re not going to take a 10th-place car and make it a first-place car, but there are a couple of things you can do like shifting on the money and being real smooth with the wheel.  You can definitely hurt the car a little bit, so we’ll just go out there and be a smooth as we can possibly be – not only through the shifts but also with the wheel.  We’ve got a really good Wurth Ford Mustang right now, but the big thing is that anybody who has a top 30 car can win this race if they have the right person pushing them, so we’ve just got to go out there and put ourselves in a good position and work well with our teammate tomorrow and have some fun.”

IT’S HARD TO PROTECT ANY KIND OF POINT LEAD AT THIS TRACK, LET ALONE ONLY ONE POINT.  “Yeah, the biggest thing you can do is try to not get yourself in a situation where you lose a bunch.  We want to take care of our car and get a good, solid points day.  A lot of people go, ‘Well, you can’t really change a whole lot that can happen,’ but if you get up there and get impatient and start racing and taking chances too early in the race, you can definitely hurt yourself.  I don’t know exactly where we’re gonna run tomorrow.  I feel like if Joey and I can get up there and run in the first two or three cars, we’ll be happy with that.  We don’t want to be in like the 15th -18th area in the middle of the pack because you don’t have enough time to get stopped if there is a problem.  We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.”

THE FORECAST IS NOT VERY GOOD.  WILL THAT HAVE AN EFFECT?  “The forecast is terrible , but basically all it means is I’ll have to skip doing SpeedCenter this week if we don’t get our race in tomorrow.  We’ll run whenever we can.  The thing about the forecast being the way it is though is it does kind of bring another factor in that if we do get going tomorrow and it is scheduled to rain throughout parts of the day, you really have to try to be up front all day long because you never know when those sprinkles are gonna come out and the race is gonna be over once you get to halfway.  That will add a little different point of view and interest.”

TRAVIS PASTRANA – No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang — THOUGHTS ON YOUR FIRST POLE?  “It sounds like a dream come true.  Bringing the guys to the line at the green flag at Talladega is awesome, so I’m definitely excited.  I mean, this Roush Fenway team has worked so hard.  Chad (Norris), my crew chief, he’s like, ‘We’ve been putting everything together.  Let’s go out there and get this thing.’  He had a lot of confidence in myself and the car and it’s just awesome to be able to show the work these guys are putting together and I’m definitely really happy to be here.”

IT’S ALSO JACK’S FIRST NATIONWIDE POLE HERE AT TALLADEGA.  THAT’S GOOD JOB SECURITY FOR YOU.  “Anytime Jack’s smiling, I’m smiling.  That’s a good deal.”

WHAT DOES A POLE MEAN FROM A TEAM AND DRIVER STANDPOINT?  “On the restrictor plate races it means you went out there and drove a perfectly clean lap and that your car and that your crew and that everybody was working together.  You picked the right line and did the right stuff, but mostly that you have a great team and a great car.  Winning the pole at a restrictor plate race also means that you’re gonna have a lot of people that are willing to work with you come race day, so I’m excited about that.”

CAN YOU COMPARE THIS TO OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OUTSIDE OF NASCAR?  AND IF IT RAINS ALL DAY WILL YOU FEEL BETTER FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME?  “For me, it’s awesome to be able to go out there and to know that we have a great team, a great car, that we put in a good lap.  Here at Talladega and at Daytona as well, it’s not quite as much on sheer driving ability.  It’s the ability to keep focused and keep it smooth ,but you’re not sliding the car.  There’s not a lot of braking points or any braking points for that matter, so it’s definitely a huge accomplishment to be able to just start here at Talladega, to lead them to the green is something I’ll always be able to say that I’ve done – assuming that we don’t get rained out here – and I’m pretty excited about that as an accomplishment.  But, at the same time, if we get a pole at Dover or another place that’s more of a driver’s track, I think that gets more respect from the other drivers.  But as far as something to check off the list, this is really, really high on that list, so I’m excited.”

AT DAYTONA YOU WERE LIKE A PINBALL LATE IN THE RACE.  WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU?  “Daytona was wild because we qualified really well.  We knew we had a good car, but we kind of just dropped to the back and that was the plan.  We found Tony Stewart, who found his way to the front at the end, but we found Tony Stewart and just kind of rode in the back.  I didn’t have any practice pushing anyone at Daytona, so I was like, ‘Look, I’m just gonna stay out of trouble as much as I can,’ and all of a sudden all of my friends were kind of starting to take off to the front with about 20 to go.  The 43, my teammate Michael Annett, he took off and my spotter said, ‘Just follow him wherever he goes,’ and we went from 35th and I came across the line in third.  The only problem was that one took about two laps to get there and then from the next 10 laps I was just trying to hold my own and without having a lot of experience in the bump drafting we were kind of bouncing back like a pinball and, all of a sudden, Annett takes a hard right, takes out Dillon and two cars to my right, and the 5 was pushing me and Kasey Kahne ends up crashing.  It happened so fast.  One thing I had no idea about was you can’t see past the bumper of the guy in front of you, and then if you have cars beside you, you can’t see past them either.  So you’re just looking for that Sunoco sign coming to the corner and you’re like, ‘OK, there it is,’ and you turn, and at 200 miles an hour, if anyone missed that landmark, everybody else crashes, so it’s kind of scary having your life in other peoples’ hands, but they’re great.  They’re good drivers and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE NOW WITH THAT EXPERIENCE?  “Without a doubt I feel more comfortable, but, honestly, I feel the most comfortable, especially after working with the 43 in practice.  Sorenson was awesome.  Trevor pushed me a little bit and he was like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna crash.  I’ve got to get away from here.’  Then Sorenson was like, ‘No, do this, do this, do this,’ and we put in a great time tandeming, so I’m excited about what the race brings.  A lot of luck is definitely gonna be involved, but I know we have a fast car, I know we have great teammates and I’m hoping to be up front.”

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HAVE THREE MINUTES TO STAY FOCUSED DURING YOUR QUALIFYING LAPS AS COMPARED TO SOME OF THE OTHER THINGS YOU’VE DONE?  “To be perfectly honest, I came from motocross that was a lot shorter races, but still 35-minute races, and everybody says, ‘Well, at NASCAR you must get bored or it’s just driving around.’  This is a little different when you’re by yourself for qualifying, but here the whole time you have a white-knuckle grip.  I got tendonitis my first NASCAR race because I was holding on so tight and I got tendonitis in my elbow.  I was white-knuckle gripping everything the whole time, so it feels like that intensity only it goes on for two hours, and the cool part about NASCAR is when you get done, I can’t even talk.  I sit down at night and I’m mentally exhausted and have just been on the edge the whole time.  You run a heart rate of 140 and you’re just sitting there, so that’s just pure adrenaline for that whole time.  When you have that much adrenaline and you’re that nervous, especially since I’m still so new to this, my heart rate is gonna be 150 just coming to the line tomorrow leading this pack to the green flag.  So I’m definitely excited and it’s not hard to stay focused.”

COMPARING THE SUPERSPEEDWAY TO THE 1.5-MILE OVAL IS THERE MORE OF A RUSH HERE THAN A STANDARD NASCAR TRACK?  “When you’re with everybody else, because the crashes happen but you need to know what’s going to happen about at least four or five seconds with is hundreds of yards in advance – sometimes a half-lap in advance you can kind of see what’s coming up, so this is the experience and, for me, not having that experience I’m just always analyzing everything that’s going on.  So, for me, I have that rush the whole time because I’m like, ‘OK, he’s on my outside.  That’s taking wind off of here.  That’s taking wind off the front.  I’m getting a draft here.  How can I go faster and not crash myself and everyone around me?’  I’d say that this is more of a thinking game, where I get more of that adrenaline rush of, ‘Oh man, we’re loose.  We’re coming at the wall,’ at a place like Darlington or something.”

CAN YOU RECAP YOUR GRC EXPERIENCE RECENTLY?  “We didn’t turn out so good down there with the Dart.  We’ve got a lot power.  We definitely have the heaviest, biggest car and we didn’t have a lot of traction down there, so we didn’t qualify very well.  Scott Speed did an amazing job just really finessing the throttle.  He was the only person that was able to make a pass all week, so everybody went in the first turn wide-open because we were assuming we could maybe pass one guy, maybe two if we were lucky, so whatever place we come out of that first turn is the best we’re gonna end up.  Unfortunately, the past champion Tanner Foust, Ken Block and myself and Buddy Rice didn’t come out of the first turn.  We knew probably four or five weren’t coming out and we were just hoping it wasn’t us.”

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