NASCAR Cup Series Ford Performance NASCAR: Daytona 500 Post-Race Quotes

Ford Performance NASCAR: Daytona 500 Post-Race Quotes

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Ford Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Daytona 500 (Daytona International Speedway)
Sunday, February 18, 2018

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 32nd (Wreck on lap 102)
“The 24 got loose and spun out in front of us all and got caught up in it. It just really sucks. We had a great car and were in a great position. I guess that’s the way it goes. I went to pass the 24 on the bottom and he came down. I can’t tell if I made contact or not, but obviously he turned and there was nothing I could do. We were all wrecked.” PATIENCE IS ALWAYS MENTIONED WITH THIS RACE, BUT WE DON’T SEE IT ALL THE TIME. “No. You definitely didn’t see it today.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 31st (Wreck on lap 102)
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE INCIDENT AND YOUR TEAM’S EFFORT TO GET THE CAR BACK OUT? “They did a good job fixing the car. The car was fine. Apparently, you have to have the door. I thought it was just the door foam, but you’ve got to have some metal on the outside of the door. All in all, they did a good job fixing our Jimmy John’s/Busch Beer Ford. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two guys, I couldn’t tell. It looked to me like there was one too many blocks and the blocking car wound up spinning out and the 2 car hit the 24 and wound up coming up the race track into me. It was like a can opener on the way by.”

WHERE WAS THE PATIENCE TODAY? “You really can’t block that aggressively. They got away with it, especially the 24 got away with it most of the weekend and didn’t get away with it that time. Unfortunately, we were one of the cars that got tore up.”

FRUSTRATING FOR THAT TO HAPPEN THIS EARLY. “Yeah, there’s really nothing you need to do early on, but those guys are very ambitious.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 Speedco Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 30th (Wreck on lap 102)
“I think that wreck was just a product of speedway racing. You’ve got young guys with fast race cars. They were probably being a little too aggressive, blocking, moving around, pushing and sometimes you get what you ask for, and I think the two guys that wrecked got what they asked for and it’s just a shame we were caught in it. Our Speedco Ford was really good. We hung around the top 5 and top 10 some, and I was happy with the speed in our Ford. Our Front Row team did a nice job bringing some good cars down here, but we just didn’t get in the right place at the right time.” HOW MUCH OF IT WAS THE CAR’S HANDLING VS. PEOPLE GETTING TOO AGGRESSIVE TOO EARLY? “I think our particular wreck it’s probably 65-70 percent just being too aggressive. When you wreck on the straightaway that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with handling and they were wrecking on the straightaway, so those are things you have to learn. I’ve made those mistakes before, but it’s a little too early to be pushing and shoving and blocking like that. The handling of the cars are a little bit of a challenge, but they’re very similar to what we’ve had in year’s past. We were able to get our Ford handling pretty good. I was really happy with our car.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 11th
WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON AUSTIN DILLON’S MOVE? “It was the last lap and we’re all trying to win the Daytona 500. It’s the biggest race of the year and it’s a career-changing race, so we were just racing really aggressively. I put every move I knew to try and stay in the lead and, unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to hold on. He got to my back bumper and was pushing and just hooked me. My heart is broken, but the beauty is we’ll go to Atlanta and we’ve got an incredible race team here at Stewart-Haas Racing and we’ll have another shot next week.”

WAS DILLON DRIVING TOO AGGRESSIVELY? “He’s not driving too aggressively, he’s trying to win the Daytona 500 just like I was. I saw him come with the momentum and I pulled up to block and did exactly what I needed to do to try to win the Daytona 500. I wasn’t gonna just let him have it. I wasn’t gonna just stay on the bottom and let him rail the outside, so I blocked and he got to my bumper and pushed and I thought I was still gonna be OK and somehow I got hooked. I still haven’t seen the replay, so I don’t know what happened, but I’m just devastated. I really thought we were gonna start this relationship off with Stewart Haas Racing in Victory Lane and get Smithfield and Ford and everybody to Victory Lane, but I’m really proud of everybody. That was a back up car and we were a half a lap away from winning the Daytona 500. I’m really proud of that. I’m still very excited. I’m not gonna let that get me down. We’ve got an incredible race team and I’m gonna go to Atlanta and we’re gonna have good race cars there and we’ll have a shot to win next week. That’s something I’ve not had in my career, where I feel like every week I get on the plane to go to the race track I feel like we’re gonna have a shot to go win. This is just one race. It might be the biggest race and this one is gonna hurt for a while, but I think next week we’ll have another shot.”

YOU HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO BLOCK THERE? “Yeah. I’m doing everything I can to win the Daytona 500. If that was lap five, I probably wouldn’t have pulled that block, but it was the last lap of the Daytona 500 and I was doing everything I could to try and win. I wanted to win the Daytona 500.”

YOU’RE STILL SMILING, THOUGH. I’M SURPRISED. “I’ve got an incredible opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing and Smithfield and everybody’s support at Ford, so I’ve got a lot to be happy about. I’ve got a lot to look forward to. My boss, Tony Stewart, came in the infield care center and he gave me a big hug and he said, ‘The good news is we have a whole lot more of this to look forward to.’ We’ll move on and go to the next race.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Peak Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 7th
“It was just hard racing. You say it all day. I was trying to be aggressive blocking the lead and kind of fell back and got a good run back up towards it. Man, the 11 blocked the 41 and the 41 kind of went high last minute and I was on his left rear and I turned him. I feel bad about that. He kinda changed lanes last minute and I couldn’t react quick enough. It stinks. We led a lot of laps. It just wasn’t meant to be. But it was a good showing. Hopefully we go into Atlanta and have a decent run.”

KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 26th
“I was feeling the magic. I thought we could do it again back-to-back and win the Daytona 500. We found the right drafting lanes and I was making good moves. I just got caught in a Bermuda Triangle it seemed like when Hamlin blocked us. I hit him pretty hard and that killed a lot of my momentum. Maybe I should have just flung the 11, but you have to treat guys with respect and you’ve also got to throw your elbows out and you have to hold the hits when you get hit. We were close to going back-to-back in the Daytona 500, but I don’t have anything to show for it. Hopefully, the pride of our fans watched us and our Fords were pretty good. I have to thank Almirola for the help he gave me on the bottom lane.”

HOW TOUGH IS IT YOU WERE RUNNING SO WELL AND MADE A GREAT MOVE AROUND BLANEY AND THEN TO HAVE THAT HAPPEN. “That’s what happens, you have to make sure that you’ve got it all under control until the checkered flag drops.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 4th
“There were a lot of ups and downs all day for us. Getting the left rear fender rub, needing to pit, going down a lap, getting the Lucky Dog, scoring points in that stage was amazing. To get ourselves back in position where we needed to be behind Blaney, our teammate, to try to control the race and win. It was a mental mistake on pit road. My fault. Can’t pick a worse time to do that. Once you are back there, you are kind of back there in the garbage. It was getting crazy. All the holes close up at the end of the race and it is hard to make progress and the crashes happen more often. We were able to get a top-five out of it, which is nice for the Shell Pennzoil team. Maybe we would have gotten caught up in a crash if I stayed up front but overall I just feel like I let us down a little bit.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Omnicraft Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 6th
TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN: “We had a really fast Omnicraft Ford today. These guys are awesome. Great race car. I ran upfront the first-half of the race. I got shuffled out. Denny (Hamlin) bumped me in Turn 3 and got loose and lost all my track position. I just kept fighting from there to get my track position back. Great run for us. We had shot to win the Daytona 500 at the end of the race. We just came up short. The Omnicraft Ford Fusion was a rocket ship. It was really fun tonight. I’m so proud of this team. The car was fast all day. We survived and were able to bring it back home in one piece.”

TALK ABOUT HAVING A SHOT TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500: “We were so fast. I just wasn’t able to get the restart that we wanted on the green-white checkered. I had a bit of a run, he blocked and just got outrun on the outside.”

YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY THAT YOU SCORED STAGE POINTS IN ALL THREE ROUNDS: “It was huge. To score points in all three stages is awesome. That’s good for the overall picture. I had a shot at a stage win. It was a good points day for sure.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 29th
WHAT HAPPENED? “I have no clue. Unfortunately, we got some front-end damage. We were overheating there at the end of that second stage and had to pit and that really caught us laps down. We were trying to battle back and I think we were in the free pass spot there for a minute and everything broke loose and we just got caught up in it. Two laps from the end was a bummer, but we felt really good at the start of the race. I hate that we had to pit and lose our track position and the lead lap because I felt like our Fastenal Ford was really, really good all day and really strong. I could make just about any move I wanted to to stay towards the front, just had to pit there with like six or seven to go in that second stage.”

DOES THAT MAKE IT WORSE WHEN YOU HAVE SUCH A GOOD CAR? “Yeah, it is. It’s a bummer. I made a huge save there on the back straightaway and I felt like we were doing everything we needed to do. We missed some of the big wrecks and it was just unfortunate there at the end. It didn’t really matter because we were already one lap down, so we weren’t really gonna make up anymore positions, but, all in all, it was a fun Speedweeks. I felt like our cars were good and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta.”

MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 32 The Hurricane Heist Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 27th
“Blaney was right in front of me, so I just tagged onto him and I was just gonna shove the heck out of him, being another Ford and a really strong race car. We were running anywhere between second and third and sixthish at the end, but you’ve got to expect anything at all that happens at the end. The Fords were really strong. My car was really strong, especially being a back-up car. It had plenty of speed, so I just tried to tag onto another Ford, but stuff happens.”

IT’S UNAVOIDABLE AT THE END. “It’s frustrating. That’s the thing that I have a love-hate relationship with superspeedways. I dread coming to them because it’s so frustrating that everybody just tears up cars and it’s basically a demo derby, but, at the same time, we can also have really good runs and run really fast with our small, little team and group of guys. It’s a love-hate relationship.”

TREVOR BAYNE, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 13th
“That was a hard fought race and kind of heartbreaking. We had a few times we had to recover and we were able to do it. Gotta clean stuff up and not have mistakes. The guys on the team did a great job and I am happy with how we performed today. A lot of times you leave thinking you should have done 20 things differently, but today I felt like I did all I could do. That is a great feeling. We made a day out of it. I look forward to getting to Talladega and then back here to Daytona in the summer when handling is a big deal. Congrats to the 3 team. We will go to work for Atlanta.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion
Finishing Position: 9th
“We had our ups and downs that is for sure. I am thankful to get stage points. It takes a top ten finish and makes it like a top-five. We had a fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford. Unfortunately we had a little mishap on pit road. The 6 was coming out of his box as we were coming in. There was no way I wasn’t going to hit him, so we had to come back through and lost a lap. Thankful to get out of Daytona with a top-10. We brought a fast Ford. Showed good stage. It was a really good run.”

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