Ford Performance NASCAR: Michigan 1 (Ford Qualifies Eight Mustangs in Top-10 at Michigan

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Saturday, June 8, 2019
EVENT: FireKeepers Casino 400 MENCS Qualifying

1st – Joey Logano
2nd – Aric Almirola
3rd – Kevin Harvick
5th – Clint Bowyer
6th – Paul Menard
8th – Brad Keselowski
9th – Daniel Suarez
10th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
13th – Ryan Blaney
18th – Ryan Newman
23rd – Michael McDowell
24th – David Ragan
26th – Matt Tifft
32nd – Corey LaJoie

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 1st
American Muscle

“The car went where I told it to go, that was good. We will see. The car has speed in it, that is a good thing. Hopefully it drivers good in the draft. It was pretty good in practice yesterday so I think we will be alright. Getting the pole is really cool.”

IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE HAVING TO WATCH THAT PYLON AFTER EVER CAR GOES? “It just brings back the old days of when I first started racing. You run a lap and then you just cross your fingers and hope. You watch the TV and the tracker and it makes it fun. It is interesting for the fans I think. It has definitely changed the game a little bit, for sure.”


HOW IMPORTANT IS GETTING THAT FIRST PIT STALL? “There will be times I am sure strategy will change things up. There will be two-tires, four-tires, no-tires and everything will get mixed up at some point but I think being in that first pit stall is going to lessen that risk of getting back there and getting stuck. If you can kind of keep yourself up there I think it will be important for tomorrow’s race.”

ON THE LAP ITSELF, WAS THE LINE AND EVERYTHING INTENTIONAL? “That was all luck (laughing). Of course it is planned. I drive the car. It doesn’t drive itself. At least it went where I told it to go. That part really helped me a lot. It helps a lot when it does that.”

IS THIS GOING TO BE A SIMILAR MINDSET IN TERMS OF THE CARS BEING PACKED TOGETHER AS DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA OR MORE LIKE KANSAS? “No, it is not going to be like Daytona and Talladega. Those tracks are so easy wide open in dirty air that the draft works throughout the whole race track. There is some times that you can follow a car right behind them here and still be pretty much wide open but you have to be one of the first two to four cars to be able to do that. So when you get back in the pack, the more handling is going to mean and that is when you have to approach it more like a race you would at Kansas and be smart about what lines you pick and where you are trying to make passes. It is a lot to think about. Even Pocono lost week. We single filed out pretty quick but those first two laps you had to be so aware of what was going on around you and looking a lap ahead and not necessarily just the corner in front of you, you had to be thinking really far down the road of what was going to happen and the consequences of making each move. You have to be thinking about a lot. Mentally it is tough racing as I have been a part of since the beginning of my career, from a mental side. The cars handle better than ever but when you get in dirty air they are very unpredictable and the runs that are formed by other cars is a direction that I go to study now compared to what I used to study. I chance a lot of what I work on as a driver and what I look for in my race car has changed a lot and it keeps changing every week. I have picked the wrong road a few times already. Hopefully we pick the right road this weekend to go down and we can make some moves on the race track. It is just different types of racing than we have seen in the past. You won’t see three or four wide packs for very long. You will see three and four wide for sure but it will get to the point where cars will be looking for clean air in the corners. You won’t see many cars following each other into the corner unless it is on the bottom.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “You just have to ponder if you are going to try to pass someone on the bottom and don’t clear them you are in trouble. You have to think about where the cars are, three or four cars ahead of you, the amount of time it is going to take to pass that car in front of you. Are you going to lose touch with those cars and you won’t be able to catch back up to them? Those are things you have to think about. What is your gap behind you? What is the risk you are taking by trying to make a pass? It is changing all the time and you don’t have time to think about it so you kind of just have to be aware of the situation and then make the decision. By the time you think about it, you are done. You have to go but you have to be aware of what you are doing before you make that decision and that is what is making it so challenging. You have to make the decision one way or the other and you have to live with the consequences immediately. That is how it works.”

HOW DID THE QUALIFYING LAP THIS YEAR COMPARE TO LAST YEAR? DOES IT REALLY FEEL SLOWER TO YOU? “Yeah, it is slower for sure. We used to be hauling the mail around here in qualifying and you would get the shakes afterward. Today was more about precision and making sure you hit the line with what you are looking for and hitting your shift points and gaining as much speed as you can up to speed and then just doing what your game plan was before you got out there and maximizing that. In qualifying now it is always about the car and driver together but it might be geared a little more toward the car on these big tracks like this where you are wide open all the way around. There is only so much I can do. There are some things I can do to make it better but I can’t make up for much if something goes wrong. In the race is when the drivers really earn their paychecks on that side for sure.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield/Meijer Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 2nd

“Close but no cigar. What is that old saying, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades? That is the sixth front row for our team this year, the 10 team, and only one pole. That is frustrating to get that close to getting a pole that often and only have one pole. We seem to always get beat just by a little bit by somebody different every time. That is part of it. I feel like our car is really fast. We have a really fast Smithfield Ford Mustang. All the Fords are really fast. I think eight of the 10 are Ford. This is definitely Ford country and we are excited to go try and get a Ford to victory lane. Edesl told us the other night that there have been like 99 Cup races here and between Ford and Mercury we have 49 of them. We are trying to add one more and get 50.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 3rd

“It is definitely a lot slower than it has been in the past. We did this last year in the Xfinity race. This is one of the places where the speed was creeping in a lot higher than it needed to be. I think it will be an interesting race. The cars are driving better and drafting better than I thought they would. It should be fun to watch tomorrow.”

WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY? “We were fortunate to be able to pass a lot of cars yesterday in practice. Our car had a lot of speed and I feel good about it. That was my main concern, what would the car do when you were underneath people. We were on both sides of the fence yesterday with how the car handled and the things that it would and wouldn’t do. I was pretty happy with it.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Haas Automation/ITsavvy Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 5th

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY? “It is fast baby! It has a blue oval on the front of it. I think that Ford is going to go a long way today. I think the Fords are fast. I think the Mustang has a good chance of sitting on the pole. I think Ford is going to sit on the pole and this will be Ford day right here.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 8th

“I am not exactly sure what to expect out of the race but I am happy to have a solid qualifying run and I am hopeful that it will pay off with a great race and we can get our first win here in Michigan. It is a lot of pressure to come out here. We have a great team and great cars and we just have to put it all together.”

WITH PASSING AT A PREMIUM, HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR TOP-10 STARTING SPOT? “Well, it isn’t quite as high as I would like it to be but the higher it is the better it is for sure.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY? “We were decent and it seemed like it is going to be super hard to pass. We just have to be really, really, really patient tomorrow.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 9th

“I felt like practice yesterday was extremely productive. It may have been the first time ever I didn’t do a lap just by myself. Well, I did one lap in Q trim. Everything else was in traffic and trying to figure out what the car was going to do in traffic. I am pretty happy with the car. I don’t feel like there is one driver out there that is extremely happy with it. Everyone has their struggles. That is just part of it. It is our first time here with this package and we are trying to work with it.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS A GOOD QUALIFYING SPOT HERE? “Track position is huge. I think that having any kind of penalty and having to go to the back, it will take a long time to come back, if you do come back. The draft and how drivers are extremely aggressive these days is going to be interesting. We will see. We will see how it plays out. My Mustang was fast yesterday in the qualifying run that we did and hopefully we can do another strong one.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 NOS Energy Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 10th

“From where we were in practice yesterday when we did our qualifying run we picked up a lot of speed today and made some adjustments. I felt good about that. We qualified better than I thought we were going to. We are within striking distance it looks like on lap times, which is good. Within a tenth is pretty solid. Yesterday we were pretty far off. They made really good adjustments to our NOS Energy Drink Ford and hopefully it will drive good. We didn’t drive very good yesterday in practice and I was having to lift more than I wanted to and also didn’t have the speed. Everything was bad for us in practice at the end of the day yesterday. Our very first run of practice I felt confident about it and then we kind of got worse and worse. It was good to qualifying 10th today.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 13th

“You come to these places and everyone has certain builds and different builds you try when you come to new race tracks like this. You try to balance out the drag versus handling. If you want less drag you will handle worse. There are a lot of people back and forth on that. You hope you hit it right, get the combination right. Some cars qualify great and don’t race good. We have always been on the not qualifying great side and racing really well. You just hope you get it right. There is only one way to find out. I thought we were pretty decent yesterday. You never really know until you get into the race.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Coca Cola Ford Mustang: QUALIFIED 18th

“It is what it is. That is the speed that the car has in it for what we need and what we think we need for the race. I am proud to have Coca Cola on our Ford this weekend. We did the best we can for the race but it is going to be interesting to see how it all races.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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