Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS)
Saturday, August 3, 2019
EVENT: Zippo 200 at The Glen, Watkins Glen, NY.
WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE
BRIAN WILSON, Crew Chief, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – “Obviously, the finish was pretty wild, but, for me, the biggest part was that pit call and that goes back to some homework that Austin and I did throughout the week. We had that scenario in mind that if a caution came out we wanted to pit there. We had seen the 7 car did that last year and it paid off for him to come back through. There was a lot of speed in it, so when he came on the radio and asked if that was the scenario we were in, we were both on the same page there. He sounded very confident that he wanted tires. Now, I don’t know if it would have worked out if we didn’t have the guys get sideways in the esses, but in the end they did and it was a really good day.”
AUSTIN GOT THE LEAD WITH 1 TO GO, BUT THEN HE AND AJ RACED TO THE FINISH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HE SHOWED TODAY? “His development has been pretty rapid throughout this year. We’ve had some ups-and-downs, obviously, but he’s doing a really good job not only on road courses, but ovals. As far as the last lap, I was a little surprised because we had talked about that he would make the move on the last lap into one and the fact that he made the move earlier than that showed me how confident he was that he could pull away. I’m sure some of that was the fact that he had fresher tires, but, honestly, I was sitting on the pit box and thought it was too early, but he made it work out. That just shows how far he has come and how confident he is in his abilities, that he was able to make that move early and still hold him off.”
WERE YOU WORRIED THAT THE PIT CALL WAS WRONG WHEN THE OTHER CAUTION CAME OUT AND YOU LOST A COUPLE OF LAPS? “Yeah, as the laps were ticking away we were sitting there, and he had moved up a row, so he was P6 at that point, but, yeah, we needed laps to make everything happen. Like I said, if they don’t get sideways in the esses, I don’t know that we get by that many guys because they were pretty strong cars. Earlier in the race we struggled to get by some of those guys, so, yeah, I was definitely worried. I still don’t know that it would have been the right call if different scenarios had played out, but we’re obviously pretty happy that it did.”
A YEAR FROM NOW DO YOU THINK THIS WILL STILL BE THE RIGHT CALL BECAUSE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HAPPENED? “That’s why we do the homework during the week because we talk through all the scenarios in a nice, controlled environment. It depends if the tire changes. We felt like this tire had speed in it, at least for the first 10 laps. That’s part of why we wanted to make that call, but everyone in this garage watches how scenarios play out to where next year there might be more guys that do it to where you might come out with fresh tires and be P5 or P6, so those are the things you’re always looking at when you’re reviewing that strategy and that’s why we talk about it ahead of time, so in the heat of the moment Austin and I can be on the same page.”
BRIAN WILSON CONTINUED — WHAT HAS IT TAKEN TO GET HERE TODAY WITH A ROOKIE LIKE AUSTIN? “Yeah, there’s definitely a different feeling when you win with a development guy. If you go back in mine and Austin’s history, we actually worked together in ARCA. There was one point I was off the 22 car, I was on the 12 and we were able to get his first oval win or stock car win at Kentucky in an ARCA race. Seeing his full progress from back then to where he’s at right now I’m proud to see it, but I also knew what I was up against at the beginning of the year. When you’ve got guys that come in week-in and week-out that are Cup superstars, it gives you the ability to just focus on the car and I think it’s made me a better crew chief to where week-in and week-out I’m having to spend a lot of time with Austin, focus on that side of things. I’ve had to delegate more to my car chief and my engineer, but in the end I think it’s making the whole team stronger working with a guy like Austin.”
MORE ROAD COURSES COMING UP. HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN DO IN THE PLAYOFFS? “Honestly, I think it starts with this month. We came into this month knowing that we needed to get Playoff points and I told him this week we didn’t need to throw a Hail Mary to get a win and it turns out we just threw a Hail Mary. But in the end that’s why we stayed out so long in the first stage, trying to get the Playoff points. That’s our focus right now is let’s try to get as many Playoff points as we can to put ourselves in a good position for the Playoffs. That’s also why we’ve stayed pretty focused on the oval stuff, knowing that’s how you’re gonna end up winning the championships. You’ve got to be good at the places like Kansas and Texas and Homestead, but we definitely like the fact that the Roval is in the Playoffs. I think it lines up well for us as long as we can keep progressing on the ovals and getting better there.”
DO YOU GO FOR MORE WINS NOW OR PLAYOFF POINTS? “I’m sure that’s going to be a discussion we have in our Monday debrief is where are we at right now. Do we feel like getting those five Playoff points is enough? Obviously, the most Playoff points is by getting wins, so we’re probably in a situation where I would think at Mid-Ohio we’re more likely to flip the stages and not necessarily go for a stage point and try to set ourselves up for the end of the race, but you’ve got to get there and see what your speed is. I mean, we were very fast last year, but there’s no guarantee we’re gonna be that fast again. If guys like Allgaier are extremely fast, we might have to change that to where we go for the stage points.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – “We knew coming into today, especially after qualifying, that it was gonna be really tough to beat Kyle Busch. He had seven-tenths on the field in qualifying and I was scratching my head where to find that, so we knew today was gonna be a good points day and being able to be conservative at tracks that are firmly in our wheelhouse and after they had their issues, we kind of knew it was game-on from there on, so to be able to execute like we did and obviously get the right restart in Stage 3, get a gap, being able to be racing AJ and then obviously to come out of the pits in front of him was really crucial, and then that call with about 15 to between Brian and I, we decided that it was time to go on offense and obviously it all worked out in the end. I’m so happy that AJ were able to have the battle that we had and be able to put on that kind of a show for the fans and be able to hug it out after the race and no feelings hurt, and really be able to have such an awesome first win, and to be able to do it in my sponsor Money Lion’s backyard is awesome. They do so much for this sport and my program, so I couldn’t be happier and I’m excited for next week.”
HOW DID YOU GET PAST THE SITUATION WITH THOSE THREE CARS? “T.J. Majors was spotting for me this weekend and he did a great job of letting me know what was going on around me and helping me be able to avoid the stuff that happened in turn one, and then on the following restart the stuff that happened in the esses. You get enough of these guys on these restarts cautions are gonna breed cautions and it put us in a better spot, but we also need a couple of those green flag laps to really hone in and be able to execute and take advantage of our new tires and it honestly worked out perfectly. I thought we were in the fence after the 20 got hooked, but it all worked out.”
COULD YOU IMAGINE A BETTER SCENARIO WHEN THOSE THREE CARS GOT CROSSED UP? “It’s great when you know that there’s only one car you’ve got to beat and when that car is getting bigger in your windshield that’s all you have to worry about. It would have been pretty tough to pass those other guys, but at the same time getting hooked like I did at the fastest part of the race track, I still got clipped in the right-rear and still got a little bit of damage from it and still lost a lot of time to AJ. After the first two laps we were within a couple of tenths of each other and I wasn’t sure that maybe we’d made the right call or maybe tires meant enough, but after his tires got heat in them, especially his rear tires he really seemed to be struggling. I could see him putting down rubber outside the corners, so I knew that’s where we were gonna be able to come on strong and I was just praying for that race to go all green because that was gonna be our best shot to do it without having anyone contest it from behind.”
COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU WERE THINKING ON THE WHITE FLAG LAP? “He was struggling for rear grip and I’m sure he knew he had to keep it in front of me for turn one because I was either gonna try a lunge on the brakes or be able to be close enough in the bus stop. I’m sure he felt like that was his best chance to be able to maintain a gap and he seemed to just maybe overdrive the corner. His rear tires chattered and he did a great job of saving the car, but missed the corner and left a great door for me open.
AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED – “I didn’t know if he was gonna shove me back again into turn one, so I adjusted my brake bias getting ready for it and trying to be as prepared as possible because I knew if we were able to get to the bus stop, which was my car’s strength all day and my strength all weekend, if I was able to get to there, we were gonna be home sailing.”
BRIAN THOUGHT YOU MADE THE MOVE TOO EARLY. WHY DID YOU MAKE THAT DECISION? “I’ve done so many of these races and there are so many guys that try so hard to win races in this series and if you have that opportunity right in front of you to pass that guy for the win, you take it every single time. I have no regrets about being able to close in and at least stay close to him. I didn’t know if the carousel was gonna be the right spot, but, like I said before the bus stop was our strength, and to be able to close in that gap and have that opportunity, you can’t think twice about it. I think that’s my mentality and I feel like that paid off today.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAT TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN HERE? “It’s fantastic. Obviously, you get the benefit of the Playoff points, which I’ve been talking about and anyone who has interviewed me in this room all I say is Playoff points, Playoff points, Playoff points, and it’s because it means so much in the Playoffs and to be able to get a race win and get those Playoff points and be able to position ourselves in the regular season points to have the benefit of more Playoff points really separates ourselves from those guys that are all fighting for fourth because I feel like Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Noah has had a good couple of weeks. We’re all fighting for that fourth spot right now because we’re a little behind with the three guys that have been dominating all the races, so to be able to do that, execute today and to be able to position ourselves in a better spot, I think that’s what we need, that’s what we hoped for coming into today and that’s what we’re hopeful for in the next six or seven races heading toward the Playoffs.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO WALK INTO VICTORY LANE? “I kind of felt like Rocky for a minute, but a little more pathetic because my car didn’t work (laughing). It was cool I guess and to be able to give high fives to the fans, but I don’t know why my clutch burned out like it did. I’ve done burnouts before – some have been more successful than others, but I didn’t even get going so I guess that was unique and maybe I’m just not gonna do burnouts when I win. It was definitely a unique way to experience it. I feel bad for my guys having to push the car all the way back from the front straightaway, but they’re a great group.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WIN IN THIS SERIES? “It’s a momentum shift. It definitely is. This team is used to winning. I entered this year and they expect to win championships. They expect to win the owner’s championships the last couple of years and I don’t think our cars are exactly where we want them to be. We want to be where that top three group is running every weekend and I feel like I’ve learned a lot on the oval side of things to be able to execute those weekends better and maybe get more out of my car and understand what that experience side means and really exploit that.
AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED – “I feel like we’ve been making gains, but to your point it’s very gratifying to be able to win in this car with this group because we’ve been in some pretty adverse situations, whether it’s our fault, not our fault, put ourselves in a bad spot, somebody else put us in a bad spot, my guys over-the-wall, whether it’s my crew guys or my pit crew guys always seem to be able to get me out of a hole and make repairs that I don’t think other teams would be able to make, so this is a thank you to them for putting that effort forward and today I had to step up and make it happen on restarts and sometimes you just have to have a little confidence in yourself, but the momentum shift, I think, should be really good for our program.”
HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR DAD YET? “I haven’t talked to him yet. I haven’t honestly even looked at my phone. It’s funny because he’d much rather see me with a basketball in my hand or a golf club or with a textbook on my lap, or whatever, but he’s pretty adamant that this is not his idea, this is not his dream, but I’m very lucky to have parents that, one, have both been in this sport for so long and been so supportive of me and my dreams, just like they are with my brother in his career. To be able to reward that kind of gratification. I mean, my mom rewind a couple of years, she goes to every single race. I think this is the first year where she probably hasn’t gone to as many races, but especially when I was under 18 I had to do the minor waiver, especially at Watkins Glen because there was some other waiver you had to do that made this place special and you had parental stuff, so my mom always had to show up and she’s so great and she understands. She’s done PR, she’s run race tracks. I think that’s what a lot of people don’t understand about me and my career and my family is that it’s very much on both sides and I’m very lucky to have the parents that I have because they’ve surrounded me with the right people and helped me have the right mindset towards success, towards failures, towards your own confidence and towards rebounding. I look at my race year last year and I don’t think I slept for two nights after this race and I’m really happy to come back here and have a little bit of personal redemption.”
HOW MUCH OF A STATEMENT CAN THIS 22 TEAM MAKE THIS MONTH? “I think we can. I thing today proves that we can. I think it’s the right momentum shift, like I said, heading into the Playoffs. I think the month of July, even though the results kind of struggled, I think that’s the best speed between New Hampshire and between Kentucky that we’ve shown on tracks like that, so my guys are pushing hard to find more speed and I’m preparing as hard as I can to put ourselves in the best spots as I can, and I drive with my heart on my sleeve every weekend. Some days like today it works out and some days you’ve really got to reel yourself back in, but I definitely think this is the right time in the year for us to be coming on.”