Ford Performance NASCAR: Trevor Bayne Tops Ford Qualifiers With Seventh-Place Run

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Auto Club 400 Qualifying – Auto Club Speedway
Friday, March 18, 2016

Ford Qualifying Results:
7th – Trevor Bayne
9th – Joey Logano
14th – Ryan Blaney
15th – Brad Keslowski
16th – Chris Buescher
18th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21st – Brian Scott
22nd – Greg Biffle
25th – Aric Almirola
34th – Landon Cassill
39th – Jeffrey Earnhardt

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion – “It was pretty event-free, really.  It was kind of nice because every session we were comfortably around the top 10.  They did a great job with the car this week.  I feel like it was really good in race trim and I was happy with how it drove because it didn’t just have speed.  In qualifying trim we just over-adjusted for the last run.  The cooler temperatures kind of threw our adjustments off a little bit.  It shaded up in three and four and I just got too loose on that last run.  I think maybe if we kept it closer to what we did the second round on adjustments that we might have had a shot at the pole, but Austin laid down a really fast lap time for three rounds.  To run a .20 after three runs on tires is pretty stout, but I can’t complain about a seventh-place starting spot.  It’s good to have track position here and now we’ve got to work on race trim.”

American Muscle

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Auto Club Ford Fusion – “We wanted to be a little better than that with our Auto Club Fusion.  We tried something different on the last run.  We were seventh in the second round and in the last round we just decided to try something different and hopefully hit a home run and swing for the fence and it just didn’t work.  Our car is decent.  We made a few race runs today.  There weren’t many cars that did, so it’s kind of hard to say where we stack up on that, but I don’t think we’re that bad.  I think there are definitely some signs of greatness in our car.  I think the first round we were pretty decent.  Brad was really fast the first round, so I think our cars have speed in them and we just have to hone in on the balance a little bit.”  DID ANYTHING SURPRISE YOU TODAY?  “There’s always something surprising to me.  Anytime you come to these older surface race tracks that are really wide you always wonder what lane you’re gonna qualify in and what lane should you go to.  We saw the fourth lane get pretty popular – the third and fourth lane in one and two – and three and four it’s pretty much the bottom.  It’s kind of interesting to see when guys would move up, if they would move up, what was gonna happen there.  It always makes it fun when you go to these race tracks because you don’t know where you’re gonna qualify and what you’re gonna do as tires wear  Do you need to move around?  Do you not need to move around?  We tried something and it didn’t work.”  HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO START UP FRONT HERE?  “It is fairly important because as wide as this race track is it’s still fairly hard to pass because everyone ends up running the wall or close to it, so it’s tough to get around but our car should be good enough to be able to run up front hopefully.  It’s definitely one of those places like the race last year.  Strategy comes into play.  Brad didn’t have the winning car and he went out there and won it, so I think that’s something that makes it fun for the driver because you’re never out of this thing.”

RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “The qualifying session went OK.  It wasn’t want we wanted because you obviously want to be in the last round, but we made a pretty good gain from where we were the first round to the second round.  We weren’t very good in the first round and just didn’t adjust enough for the second one and barely missed it, but they did a good job of getting us better between rounds.  It was close, but just not enough.  We’ll find out how good our race trim car is tomorrow.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “I think we’re off just a little bit.  We had pretty good speed in practice qualifying, but we’re having trouble getting all the speed out of it we need to at the top of one and two.  It got a little tight on the first ruin and I had to come out of the gas.  On the second run it was a little tight across the seam.  I went to the gas and then it got loose off and I had to abort.  We’ll get it worked out.  We did a little bit of race trim practice, so we thought we’d start in the top-15 or better because we had that kind of speed, but we just missed it.  You only get one chance with these tires.”

CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – “We didn’t miss the third round by much, so that’s really exciting.  We’ve got some speed this weekend.  We’ve been pretty decent right off the truck, so it’s a big turnaround.  I’m really proud of all these guys.  They’ve worked really hard to get to this point and to have it in just a week’s time is a pleasant change, and now we get to start in a much better spot for the race.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion – YOU WON AT VEGAS AND I’M SURE YOU WOULD LIKE TO END THIS SWING WITH ANOTHER ONE.  WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ON SUNDAY?  “Yeah.  We had a great first round, but I think as you saw some cars were able to keep their speed and we seemed to kind of fall off a little bit.  We’ve got to work on that and look at it, but this is always an interesting race because it seems like you have cars that are good on long runs and cars that are good on short runs, and the last few years it’s come down to short runs.  It kind of appears that’s the case this weekend as it was last year when we won.  We have really good short run speed and maybe a little bit more fall off than what we’d like.  Ideally, we’ll try to get both out of our car.  Hopefully, that will be the case with tomorrow’s practice sessions in more of a race trim, so I guess we’ll kind of see.  The jury is still out, but, all in all, I’m looking forward to racing here in Southern California.  This track is one that I enjoy.  I think it’s some of the best racing, if not the best racing of the year, and it would be very nice to take home another surfboard.  That’s one of the coolest trophies.  I don’t know if anyone is here from the track, but I really appreciate tracks with cool trophies, so style points and so forth.  Thank you very much.”

ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS NEW LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?  “Yeah.  I think it’s definitely an improvement from last year and even to some extent the year before.  And it’s showcasing some pretty strong results on the race track.  Like anything else it can always be better and I’m the type of guy that is progressive natured and wants to see it continue to get better.  I don’t want to rest on our laurels as a sport because I think this sport has even more potential to work on the cars and open itself up to the things that most people would quantify as exciting racing, and last lap passes for the win like we’ve seen two of the first four weeks is really exciting for the sport.  I think everyone can kind of rally behind that, so those doors open up a lot of times with the rules package and I think that’s what we’re seeing.”

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR SEASON SO FAR AND DOES ANY TEAM HAS AN ADVANTAGE WITH THIS NEW PACKAGE?  “I don’t know if I would say anyone has really figured out this new package better than the others, but I think we’re of course very pleased to have a win so early in the season.  That doesn’t mean we’re satisfied and we don’t want to win anymore I can promise you that, but it is a huge stress reliever.  Looking at other teams, I think I would say that the Gibbs cars look very strong week-in and week-out.  They’ll be tough to handle.  They’ve got a great program.  I think our mile-and-a-half program showcased at Las Vegas was very strong, but beyond that it’s very early to tell where we are.”

DO YOU FEEL AS A DRIVER THE MOTORSPORTS INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE IS DOING ALL IT CAN TO LEARN ABOUT CONCUSSIONS AND DO YOU FEEL THERE’S MORE THE DRIVERS COULD DO TO HELP THE INDUSTRY?  “I get a lot of flak on that whole topic because I have an opinion and apparently unless you have and MD behind your name you’re not allowed to have an opinion on that topic is a lot of people’s thoughts, but I don’t feel that way.  I think it directly affects me and it directly affects a lot of other people in this sport, and it’s a very, very complicated topic – one that is developing.  It’s developing not just here in this community, but across sport communities worldwide.  I was really disappointed to hear about the things that happened last week with my Indy Car teammate Will Power.  I think that’s maybe the definition of worst-case scenario and shows that there’s a lot of work to be done.

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED — “As to how to get there, there are a lot of ideas.  I have a few of them, but I don’t know if they would really fit in this context, so I’ll probably save those for a little while, but I think it’s something that the whole industry can rally behind as being a focal point for the future of not just our sport but all sports.”

THE CARS SEEMED TO BE BOUNCING A LOT MORE THIS YEAR.  IS THAT DUE TO THE NEW PACKAGE AND TRACK SURFACE AGING?  “I think the older track surface.  There are some really big bumps down the middle of the backstretch and a little bit in both corners – the bottom of one and two and the bottom of three and four.  These cars, of course having less downforce, they don’t stick into the springs as much so I’m sure that there’s the possibility that that could be allowing them to be more visibly bouncing, but inside the car it feels very similar.”

YOU LOOKING FOR A SIMILAR FINISH THIS YEAR?  “I think you’re gonna see that short-run, long-run balance.  The guys that are good on the short-run here will have a huge advantage if there’s a yellow at the end, and there’s a pretty big discrepancy between what it takes to run good here on the short-run and a long-run.  It was two years ago where the 24 car was heads and tails the best car on the long run, but didn’t have any short-run speed and he ended up with a green-white-checker finish and was 15th-20th.  That shows how you can get eaten up really quick if you don’t have that short-run speed at the end.  I think a lot of what’s gonna dictate who is gonna win the race is gonna be exactly how the yellows fall.”

HAVE YOU USED THE SURFBOARD?  “It’s only half a surfboard.  I don’t know if you noticed that.  It’s definitely not useable.  If there was one, I didn’t get it.  I know at one time you were supposed to get a lobster for winning Loudon and I never got that one either.”  SO YOU ONLY GOT HALF A SURFBOARD?  “Yeah, it looks like a shark ate it, so it’s not something you can use.”  WHERE WOULD YOU GO SURF IT?  “You couldn’t just pick one spot.  I could probably do it in my backyard and bust my butt and make a video that would be really popular.”

DO YOU USE ANY WURTH PRODUCT?  “Of course we do.  I know what the most popular product is in the shop and that’s not really a product, it’s a vending machine.  They make these vending machines for consumables that we use on the car and it used to be when you wanted to get a part to work on the car you had to go to the parts counter or you had to go to a parts store and buy it, and then somebody from accounting would walk in and hassle you about it.  I’ve got this great story about that because when I first went to drive for a team I’ll leave unnamed they had a lot of trouble with wrecking a lot of cars with their previous drivers.  I don’t know if you know this or not, but wrecking race cars is really, really expensive (laughter).  So this team had wrecked a lot of race cars and I came in I was getting ready.  We were just starting up and things are good and one day I’m in the general manager’s office and he’s mad.  I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘I just got in a fight with accounting.’  I asked him what it was over and he said, ‘Well, the head person in accounting came up and said I’ve got a serious question for you about bills and how much money we’re spending.  I see here on these receipts that every week the hauler driver is buying a brand new jar of mayonnaise and I want to know why?’  He looks at her and says, ‘Yeah, and every damn week he wrecked an $80,000 race car too.  I think maybe we should worry about that.’  So it’s easy to get caught up in that, so Wurth makes these vending machines so the guys can come up to the vending machines and get something and check it out with their card and they don’t have to get yelled at by accounting, and that’s the most popular product by far.”

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