Ford Performance NASCAR: Keselowski To Start on Front Row for Southern 500

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Saturday, August 31, 2019
EVENT: Bojangles’ Southern 500, Darlington, SC. (Qualifying)

Ford Qualifying Results:
2nd – Brad Keselowski
5th – Daniel Suarez
7th – Joey Logano
10th – Ryan Blaney
11th – Kevin Harvick
13th – Clint Bowyer
17th – Paul Menard
21st – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23rd – Michael McDowell
24th – Ryan Newman
26th – David Ragan
27th – Corey LaJoie
30th – Aric Almirola
32nd – Matt Tifft
36th – BJ McLeod
38th – Garrett Smithley

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Mustang – “The time that we qualified I’m not sure being early or late is a big difference. The sun is gonna get a little bit lower in the sky, but the air temp is actually supposed to go up a little bit, so I don’t think that’s an issue. I felt there was more grip than I anticipated. Yesterday the track was hot and slippery with all the cars running and now you’re out here by yourself and the track doesn’t have as much heat in it, and it’s got a lot of grip.”


American Muscle

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR THROWBACK SCHEME? “It’s been good. Obviously, this is all about honoring Mr. Glenn Wood – driving a scheme that he drove in a convertible in 1957, so we’re throwing it way back. Every week kind of feels like a throwback with these guys. They’re a lot of fun to be with. Eddie and Len always have a story to tell and when Mr. Leonard comes to the race track it’s always a good time.”

DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO SEE THE DOCUMENTARY LAST NIGHT? “Yeah, I watched it and I feel like I knew a fair bit about the history, just by hanging out with the Wood family the last two years, but I learned more last night. I thought it was pretty neat to kind of put it in Glenn’s own words, what he was going through, and it’s an hour long episode where they have to try and pack in 70 years worth of history. They didn’t cover it all, but they covered a lot of interesting stories.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer/Big Buck Hunter Ford Mustang – “It was a good lap. This is by far the most interesting place that we’ve gone to as far as what you want as far as downforce, drag and what you need in the car. It’s so much different than everything we’ve ever done here before as far as being wide open through one and two, so there are a number of things that we haven’t really wrapped our arms around completely in practice and kind of took a stab at it there for qualifying. We probably knocked some speed out of the car, but in the end I felt like we needed to handle better in race conditions, so hopefully it pays off tomorrow.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – “HOW MANY LAPS CAN YOU GO FLAT OUT? “On sticker tires maybe two or three, but you’ve got to really hustle to do that.” THE BRICKYARD IS NEXT WEEK. WHAT DID THAT WIN MEAN TO YOU? “All three of the wins meant something special to me. It started here at Darlington with the heritage of the sport and then moving to Indy and what it meant for Roger Penske and me personally being from the Midwest, and then to win in Vegas to start the Playoffs and Penske’s 500th win. That’s a heck of a stretech and I’m just really proud of it.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Oscar Mayer/Velveeta Ford Mustang – “I’m not happy with it because we’re not P1, but I felt like I got everything I could as far as driving out of it. It’s kind of a crapshoot. We’re wide-open from turn four to turn three and however you get through three and four coming to your green and then your time lap is where it’s all at. It’s my favorite race track. I’m looking forward to the race. I feel like we’ve got a car that drives fairly good, I just don’t know that we have the speed that it takes to be as good as we need to be.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHO CAME UP WITH THE UNVEIL THROWBACK VIDEO? “It was pretty funny. It was Shell’s idea to run the scheme, obviously, and I said, ‘You realize that’s the car that crashed me in Pocono.’ (Laughing) And then the conversation started immediately after about the firesuit, so I asked Brittany and asked if she would do that and she said, ‘Hell, yeah.’ We thought that was funny. We called Kevin first to make sure that it was OK with him because I didn’t want to stir the pot. As much as Kevin and I get along really well now, so he thought it was gonna be really funny, so we did the video to unveil and I will say the first time Brittany aimed those diapers straight at my face. I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you aim for the shoulder, honey – not the face.’ But we both thought it was funny to do, so she’ll have the firesuit out tomorrow and probably be sweating in it just like everybody else.”

IS THIS RACE ONE OF THE MORE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY EXHAUSTING RACES? “Both physically and mentally, probably. It’s probably a little less physical this year with the added downforce, but still mentally you’ve got to be hustling. The smartest way you know how and when to hustle all night. It’s a mentally tasking race for sure.”

HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “Not fast enough. We’re seventh and I’d rather be further ahead. We’ll fight from there. I don’t see any reason why we can’t drive to the front from there. I think we’ll be OK. We’ve had some pretty good runs here in the past recently, so we just have to get through it and be there at the end. We’ll be fine.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – “After Bristol I haven’t really thought about going out and really getting a win, knowing that I don’t feel like we’ve put ourselves in a position at any of the other race tracks to get the job done, but the mile-and-a-half race tracks this year have been better for us than they have in year’s past. I’ve led laps and got some top fives out of it, but I still don’t feel like we have the raw speed to go out and do something to win a race like here in Darlington, but you never know. Our car felt pretty good during practice yesterday. It’ll be interesting. We were having some tire issues yesterday and hopefully we got that corrected. We kept blowing left-front tires after about 12 laps. We blew three yesterday, so that’s not good. Hopefully, we got that figured out, but this is a race track that I definitely enjoy and I’ve also got myself in trouble at in my Cup career. We finished 12th last year after struggling for three-quarters of the race, so it is a race track where I feel like if you’re struggling early you can get it figured out before the end of the race. It’s a long race and it should be fun.”


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