Ford Darlington Qualifying Quotes

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:

Bojangles’ Southern 500 Qualifying (Darlington Raceway)

Friday, May 10, 2013

American Muscle

Ford Qualifying Results:

9th – Greg Biffle

14th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17th – Carl Edwards

18th – Aric Almirola

19th – Casey Mears

24th – Marcos Ambrose

26th – Brad Keselowski

29th – David Gilliland

30th – Joey Logano

31st – David Ragan


ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “The draw hurts us.  It’s not ideal for us at all, but it is what it is.  We can’t do anything about that.  It’s supposedly a random draw, so we just do the best we can with what we’ve got.  It’s not a great lap there for us.  I messed up a little bit and the car was a little bit tight, so that’s OK.  We’ll go race them.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Peanut Patch Ford Fusion – WHAT WAS THE COOLEST THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU THIS WEEK?  “I had a lot of friends and family call, a lot of good times with the employees and Bob Jenkins, but the coolest thing was a I had a call from Newton, North Carolina coming in and I said, ‘I can take it.’  It was on Monday and it was Ned Jarrett, so I thought that was pretty cool.  I got to know Ned a few years ago when I drove the UPS Ned Jarrett Hall of Fame car at Indy, so that was pretty neat to hear from Mr. Ned.  It’s been a great week.  We’ve enjoyed our win, but we’re here at Darlington.  This is a place that will teach you some respect pretty quick.  Our Peanut Patch Ford didn’t get the best qualifying draw, but hopefully that will be a decent starting spot and we’ll be ready for 500 miles on Saturday.” 

HOW WAS YOUR LAP?  “I think we picked up a second from practice.  We unloaded and we were a little bit off in race trim, so we spent a little extra time in the second practice, so we didn’t expect to get an outstanding lap.  These guys that qualify in the top 10 or 12, you’ve got to make two or three qualifying runs in practice and we made one.  We made some good adjustments and picked up a lot of speed.  That will beat some cars, but it won’t be as good as what we would like to be.  I’m glad we spent a little extra time in race practice because I think our Peanut Patch Ford is decent for the race.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “Our car was pretty good.  We hit the splitter pretty hard off of two, but obviously picked up speed from practice and when we did the splitter got in the ground hard off of two and I had to pedal it because I got tight.  All in all, I think we’ve had a pretty good day here.  We’ve struggled at this place the last two years and it felt like we had a pretty good Geico Ford in race trim.  We knew qualifying was gonna be difficult just because of the time of day, but we should have a good night tomorrow.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “Our draw is not favorable.  We really unloaded further away than we needed to, so we made one qualifying run with about two minutes left to go in practice.  We got out there just tried to get a feel for it and the guys made some good adjustments.  It was a good pick-up for us.  I think it was almost a second faster than we went in practice, so I’m proud of the guys.  It’s been a great week.  The main thing is we really focused on race trim on our Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion and I can’t wait for the race.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Geek Squad Ford Fusion – “Our car is super-fast.  I just got real tight off of two and I was gonna hit the fence, so I had to lift.  We’ve got a fast car, though.  It’s a 500-mile race.  I’m telling you, I feel really good about it.  That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone through one and two until I had to lift, so I think we’re really good.”

JOSH WISE – No. 35 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “We were just a little loose.  We didn’t work that much on qualifying in practice.  We just did a quick run right there at the end of practice, but I think that was all right.  It felt pretty good and the guys did a good job.  We didn’t unload that good and they worked hard to get it driving right, so I think we’ll be all right tomorrow night.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “It’s been a challenge.  We’re in the race and we’ve got a chance here to work on it, but it’s just really been a trying day for our team.  We worked really hard this week.  We were out in California for two days and we’re running a couple men down, but we’re trying really hard here, so we’ll dig deep and see what we can get tomorrow night.” 

IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR END THAT’S GIVING YOU PARTICULAR TROUBLE?  “It’s just not reacting the way I’m used to, so I’m just having a lot of trouble adapting my style to suit what the car is doing.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion – “It wasn’t quite good enough.  We were a little loose down in one and two, but mainly too tight down in three and four.  This place is really tricky, but definitely a lot of fun.  The Zest guys worked really, really hard there throughout practice and made the right adjustments for qualifying.  We picked up a lot just not enough, so hopefully we’ll make the right adjustments for the race and have a good race tomorrow.  I hope all the fans enjoy the Nationwide race tonight.” 

HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS SPRINT CUP CAR TO DRIVE HERE VERSUS THE NATIONWIDE CAR LAST YEAR?  “Quite a bit.  During qualifying in our Nationwide car we were wide-open and we were able to get the pole last year here.  I drive it totally different this year in the Sprint Cup car.  I think we’ve had about 35 laps to figure it out here in practice, so there’s still a lot to learn throughout the race tomorrow.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Meguiar’s Ford Fusion – “It was a really good lap for the Meguiar’s car.  I got in the fence a little earlier today in practice and the guys did a great job of fixing it up.  The track has a lot of grip right now and I think we’re gonna see some speeds pick up here as it starts to cool off.  I can tell the difference between when I ran and now.  It’s cooled off a fair amount, so we’ll see how the times hold up.  Hopefully, we’ll stay in the top 10.  That would be a good starting spot for us.” 

YOU HAVE TO BE ON THE WALL HERE ALL NIGHT, DON’T YOU?  “Yeah, you do and it’s tough.  It takes a lot to do that, but that’s why it’s such a tough place.  I like tough places and hopefully we’ll stay off it for the rest of the weekend.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE APPEAL CAME OUT?  “I guess at this point I’ve kind of become devoid of any emotions about it.  I was pretty emotional when it all started, but not anymore.  I’m more focused on the task at hand and motivated to do the best we can with the situation we have.  I think adversity is an opportunity and this is an opportunity to showcase how strong we can be as a team and that’s how I’m looking at it.” 

IS IT A PRETTY BIG DIFFERENCE LOSING THE GUYS FOR ONLY TWO RACES AS TO WHAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN?  “It’s not like Paul is shot and dead.  He’s coming back.  It’s just a couple of weeks and we’ll get through it.” 

YOU’VE BEEN USING FACETIME AND IPADS TO SEND STUFF BACK TO HIM SO YOU’RE USING TECHNOLOGY TO STAY IN TOUCH?  “There’s all kinds of technology in this garage, maybe not always on the race cars, but there’s no shortage of that.  Still, there’s nothing quite like having somebody at the track.” 

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE APPEAL?  “I think any kind of change was a little bit of a moral victory, but obviously not what I was looking for.  I wanted the whole thing, so my reaction was, ‘All right, on to the next step.’” 

DID YOU CALL NASCAR TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE OR TALK TO YOU TEAM TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED AT TALLADEGA?  “No, I didn’t talk to anybody at NASCAR about it.  I didn’t feel like that would be productive.” 


WHY DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD TO DO THE PUBLIC LETTER?  “I think people got upset about it.  There’s one particular TV show that likes to take half of my audio and play the worst parts and made it a worse situation than probably what it needed to be, so I had to do what I could to showcase, one, that they didn’t know what they were talking about and, two, that I felt like David did deserve the credit for the win.” 

WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THE DIFFERENCE IN PENALTIES AND THE PANEL YOU HAD VERSUS WHAT JGR HAD, DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE SOMEBODY ON THE PANEL WHO UNDERSTANDS RACE CARS?  “I know one person that was on our panel.  I don’t know the other two to really speak to their qualifications, but I definitely think whenever there’s a situation that involves technical pieces the more technical savvy those that are hearing the appeal, the easier it’s gonna be for both sides to get through it, so I don’t think that’s a bad idea.”

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