NASCAR Cup Series Ford Performance NASCAR: Five Fusions to Start Top 10 in Sunday's Atlanta...

Ford Performance NASCAR: Five Fusions to Start Top 10 in Sunday’s Atlanta Cup Race

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Ford Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Folds of Honor 500 Qualifying (Atlanta Motor Speedway)
Friday, February 23, 2018

Ford Qualifying Results:
3rd – Kevin Harvick
5th – Brad Keselowski
6th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
7th – Kurt Busch
9th – Clint Bowyer
11th – Aric Almirola
15th – Paul Menard
16th – Joey Logano
17th – Michael McDowell
20th – Trevor Bayne
26th – Ryan Blaney
29th – David Ragan
30th – Matt DiBenedetto

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Autotrader Ford Fusion – “That’s decent. We won here from fifth last year, so we’re gonna do it again. I felt like I got all I could get, but we just need to find a bit more. We’re real close.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion – “It wasn’t really a handful, but our car was just way too tight all three rounds. I think everybody did a great job on our Jimmy John’s/Busch Ford and the car still had speed it just didn’t drive as good as we needed it to drive to cut to the center of the corner and it was just way too tight the whole time. We were that way in race trim too, and you don’t get a lot of chances at it in practice to try and make it better, so we took our best guess at it. We went one-two-three there, but we just had the first in the wrong round.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “I don’t think I made a final round ever last year, so it’s been a long time since I qualified in the final round, so that was nice to be able to kind of go after a pole there. I got a little bit too aggressive getting into one and kind of killed my lap, but I’m really proud of everybody on our Smithfield Ford Fusion. I felt really good and we’ll get her tuned up for the race tomorrow.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion – “That’s a good start. You always worry about after Daytona you get down to Atlanta and get to some of these mile-and-a-halves and you wonder where you’re going to be. You’ve had a competitor get a new body this year, so you worry about that. There are a lot of unknowns as you go into the season off of a long offseason like we’ve had, but to have all four Stewart-Haas Fords in the top 11 and making that final round is very, very good for everybody involved. I have to thank the aero guys and the engine guys, everybody that makes up Stewart-Haas. It’s so fun to have a group like that that’s all racers. They all get it. They know the task at hand and they all just get in there and get it done and it’s fun to see. There’s no oddballs at that place. Everybody fits in and everybody chips in and it’s a lot of fun to see.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Ford Fusion – “I think we actually improved the last round, so I think that’s a positive from the second round speed-wise, we just didn’t pick up enough to get there with the 31 and the 4 and the 2. Making it to the third round at the first intermediate track of the season in qualifying was definitely a goal of ours, so we accomplished that and now we’ll get to work tomorrow and get this thing good on the long run where you know you’re gonna have to be good.”

KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion – “I’m happy with it. I thought we made all the right adjustments for that final round and I just overdrove it a little bit going too hard. I was too zealous. I missed the line through three and four. When you miss it down there you lose two-tenths and that’s where we lost the pole by.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – “Not a bad first day. The result is decent. We’re pretty happy with that because it was a struggle today. This isn’t the first weekend, but this is the first real weekend of our race season, so we didn’t make too many laps in practice. We made good adjustments right there and the car had a lot more speed than it did in practice and it felt like I got it all out of it and everybody did a good job on the Love’s Ford. It’s definitely a pleasant surprise. We were just hoping to make it into the second round. We knew we would be close, but there we had a little bit of a cushion too, so that was pretty cool.”

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