Ford Performance NASCAR: NASCAR Playoff Media Day (Kurt Busch/Clint Bowyer)

Ford Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
2018 NASCAR Playoff Media Day (Las Vegas, NV)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

All 7 Ford NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers participated in the annual playoff media day in Las Vegas Thursday afternoon. Below is a sampling of the drivers comments during the open interview portion of the festivities.

KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Ford Fusion — YOU ARE KICKING OFF THE PLAYOFFS HERE IN YOUR HOMETOWN, HOW COOL IS THAT? “I love it for the city of Las Vegas with all the sports in the movement right now and sports headed to Vegas with the Golden Knights here now and Raiders on their way. I heard there’s a new AAA ballpark that’s being built. And now for NASCAR to have two dates on the circuit and to kick off the playoffs with Las Vegas Motor Speedway it’s big. I love it. It’s a trend in sports right now to find that new ticket, that cutting edge thing that gives the fans that value that they’re looking for. I love the fact that we’re here in Vegas to give it a shot. And the thing that I love about this town is they embrace the night so locally and they’ve always embraced NASCAR adding a second day here this year. After all these years of coming here in March where you don’t have that feel of going to the pool relax and go out in the sun and absorb the the warm temperatures and so this is cool to have summertime weather. A lot of tracks we go to have a couple summer dates and they’re both the same. This one here is way different because March usually 60 degrees out and now we’re gonna have 100 degrees and that was always the joke is you would always see people wearing jackets and stuff now but it just feels a whole lot different now.”

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YOU’VE GOT 16 GUYS HERE THAT CAN REALISTICALLY WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP OTHER THAN THE BIG FOUR WHO’S THE TEAMS THAT YOU’RE KIND OF KEEPING AN EYE ON? “We’ve got to beat those guys are there’s a huge group fourth to 16th and once we get through a couple of the rounds of the playoffs. We’ll see, I hope that we continue to move forward with the strength that we have on the 41 car and with our consistency we finished in the top 10 the last eight weeks straight and we need nine weeks of that straight through the playoffs. If we do that I think that would get us to Homestead. Then we have to win that thing. The champion has won Homestead the last few years.”

DO YOU THINK THAT FINISHING IN THE TOP 10 PRETTY MUCH FOR THE NEXT 10 WEEKS CAN GET YOU TO HOMESTEAD IN THE FINAL FOUR OR DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO RATTLE RATTLE OFF TOP FIVES AS OPPOSED TO TOP-10’S? “I think if you look at different numbers and statistics top 10s will get you all the way there. That’s what Brad Keselowski did last year. But let’s just say it’s me against Brad to get into the final spot, it’ll be a gloves-off battle at Phoenix to to get that spot and we might be both racing for fourth and fifth out on the track or we might be racing for the win and it’s going to come down to that. I think with the way the big three have their bonus point cushion that’s going to help them all the way through the playoffs.”

WITH THE ROVAL BEING A CUT-OFF RACE, DOES THAT ELEMENT OF FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN BRING EXTRA MOTIVATION KNOWING THAT POTENTIALLY POINTS WILL BE AT A PREMIUM? “There will be a lot of anxiety, a lot of unknowns and a lot of interesting, unique things are going to come out of the road race with it is a cutoff race. It’s a very important race to have a smooth day. And right now based off of testing, nobody’s had a smooth day getting around that track. So it puts emphasis on Vegas and it puts emphasis on Richmond and right now I think everybody’s looking at Richmond like, ‘Man I want to win that one, that way I don’t have the stress of the Roval.”

DID YOU TEST THE ROVAL? “I’ve been there twice and they changed the the track layout since the last time that I was there and the tire is going to be a little bit different since the last time I tested and now I’ve been doing simulation work with Ford over in the simulator and making laps and trying to be as comfortable as I can heading there.”

WITH ALL FOUR SHR CARS IN THE PLAYOFF, IS THAT HELPFUL FOR YOU GUYS AS FAR AS HAVING MORE GUYS TO SHARE INFORMATION WITH? “It’s almost like everybody’s trying to cover up their answers to the test and they don’t want to share as much, but it’s always that way though. You race on the seventh day of the week and the other six you work together as a team. But when you go to the racetrack it’s it’s every man for himself.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Ford Fusion

KEVIN HARVICK HAS INDICATED RECENTLY THAT HE COULD RUN ANOTHER 5-6 OR 7 YEARS. DO YOU SEE THAT? “Yeah, yes. I mean, not only compete BUT compete for championships. What does he ever shown that would make anybody think that he’s not capable of doing that anymore? I don’t know, he damn sure shows me every time he’s at bat, that he’s capable of winning races and winning championships. And until that day is over, I’d say you’ll see Kevin Harvick stepping up to the plate.”

CAN ALLIANCES BETWEEN TEAMS WORK IN THIS SPORT? “We saw it work last year for a championship but they’re not going to work for long because of greed and everything else. Could you imagine making a deal with somebody where you furnish them cars and everything else and never would have dreamed in a million years that they would beat you with it, you know, and then go out and have it be for a championship? It’s tough pill to swallow and then you have to say, ‘Oh my God, how do I get out of it? I made this bed I’m gonna have to lay in it but the next time the wash comes around I’m pulling the sheets off this baby.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE UNPREDICTABILITY MAKES YOU POWERFUL FOR THE PLAYOFFS? THAT PEOPLE DON’T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING SOMETIMES YOU’RE FUN SOMETIMES YOU’RE SERIOUS? “I mean I think unpredictability is dangerous on anybody’s behalf but I hope to make it predictable on their half that they know that they’ve got a tall order to, to try to outrun us. I think we’ve got to go out and live up to our capabilities. If we do that, we’ll have a shot to go to Homestead.”

AND IF YOU HAVE A SHOT TO GO TO HOMESTEAD, YOU GOT A SHOT AT WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP, YOU FEEL YOU FEEL OPTIMISTIC? “Everybody does. I mean, yeah, obviously I do. I really, truly do. It’s not smoke and mirrors. I believe I’ve seen enough out of our race team that I’m confident in our opportunity ahead. If we can go out and get those mistakes behind us, I’ve said over the last month and a half, we’re capable of winning. There is only one thing that that makes you confident and that is success and we’ve had that success to enable me to be confident.”

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