NASCAR CUP SERIES
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 2020
FIREKEEPERS CASINO 400 – MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
FORD PERFORMANCE DRIVER – POST RACE QUOTES
KEVIN HARVICK CAPS MUSTANG SWEEP SATURDAY WITH WIN AT MICHIGAN
- Kevin Harvick won his fifth race of the season and 54th of his Cup career by winning today’s race.
All five of Harvick’s wins have come since NASCAR returned to action on May 17 (13 starts).
- The win is Mustang’s 12th of the season.
- Harvick is now tied for 11th on the all-time win list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. Up next on the list is Rusty Wallace in 10th with 55.
- Harvick is now tied for 13th on the all-time Ford Cup win list with Greg Biffle and NASCAR Hall of Famer Davey Allison with 19. What makes that accomplishment so impressive is Harvick has done it in only three-plus seasons.
- This marks the 25th win for Stewart-Haas Racing since joining Ford (Harvick has won 19).
- Today’s win is Ford’s 698th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
FORD FINISHING RESULTS:
1st – Kevin Harvick
2nd – Brad Keselowski
4th – Ryan Blaney
8th – Joey Logano
15th – Matt DiBenedetto
16th – Aric Almirola
19th – Clint Bowyer
20th – Chris Buescher
22nd – Corey LaJoie
26th – JJ Yeley
28th – Ryan Newman
29th – Michael McDowell
34th – Cole Custer
36th – John Hunter Nemechek
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang — VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
EVERYONE WE TALK TO SAID THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOUR CAR TODAY. HOW DOMINANT AND HOW STRONG WAS YOUR MUSTANG TODAY? “Yeah, the restarts were obviously a handful but our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang was really fast today and we held on for the long run and would really go on the short run and did everything we needed it to do. I gotta thank everyone from Busch Light Apple, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers, Jimmy Johns, Haas Automation and everyone from Ford. I know they love to win here and we are glad to bring that trophy to them.”
THE HARD RACING WITH KYLE BUSCH, HOW DID THAT UNFOLD FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “I didn’t know if I hit him or not but I saw the video and didn’t touch him. I must have packed a bunch of air on his left rear. I knew I needed to be right there. You have to take the chance when you have it and I needed that side draft down the front straightaway. I got within like an inch or so it looked like on the video. I didn’t know if I had just barely touched him but in the video I definitely didn’t touch him.”
SIXTY-SEVEN PERCENT OF THE RACES YOU HAVE FINISHED TOP FIVE AND YOUR FIFTH WIN. DOES THAT PUT YOU GUYS AS THE TEAM TO BEAT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “We are a week to week team. We talked about this years ago. We want to go to the track and worry about one week at a time. We want to be competitive and win as many races as we can and see where it falls in the end. These guys are awesome and when we come to Michigan to ride a car like that is unbelievable.”
YOU NOW ARE TIED FOR 11TH ALL-TIME WITH 54 WINS, TYING HALL OF FAMER LEE PETTY. DID YOU EVER IMAGINE THAT KIND OF SUCCESS? “No. I am honored. I have been very fortunate to work with some good teams and have some good race cars. When you start talking about names like Lee Petty and Rusty Wallace and Junior Johnson and all the names that are around us on that list is just an honor to be around them. I know that comes with a lot of responsibilities for our sport and I ask myself all the time if I have done enough or am doing enough to help make this sport go forward. It is an honor to be around those names.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — Finished 2nd
RUNNER UP AT YOUR HOME TRACK. WHAT DID YOU NEED IN THAT CLOSING LAP AGAINST THE 4? “He is just super fast in the corners and the straightaway. He was definitely the best car out here today. We put a good effort to kind of maximize our day and that is what we did, finished second. Proud of everyone on the Discount Tire Ford Mustang team. We will go back to work on it and hopefully find a little bit more for the race tomorrow.”
WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT FOR WHAT YOU NEED TOMORROW? “Just the 4 was so strong on this type of racetrack and I think he has won a bunch of these races lately and we just need some speed.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang — Finished 4th
WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOUR STRENGTHS WERE TODAY AND WHERE DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE FOR TOMORROW? “I thought our car was really good. I thought our Mustang was pretty good all day. We made a good call there before the competition caution to come in and pit and that cycled us up to 12th or something and we were able to drive to third before that stage and then ran second in the second stage. We took four tires there when we got in our fuel window and it was hard to get through traffic. We didn’t handle good so we came in again with maybe 18 to go and changed it up a little bit and made sure we were good on gas and were able to drive through there. I wish we would have kept third before that last caution because I would have chose the bottom and had a little better shot. I am proud of the effort. The 4 was really fast. We need to work on our stuff a little and I think we can compete a little better tomorrow.”
WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE CHOOSE RULE TODAY? “I thought it had a good impact on the race. Obviously the best car won the race but I thought it was unique seeing what everyone was going to do and trying to figure out what you wanted to do. There was one time that shocked me. It was how the 9 got the lead. He went from fifth to starting on the front row and ended up getting the lead and I couldn’t believe nobody took that opportunity to line up on the front row. You saw a lot of guys that were third today would take that chance. I lined up on the top and I chose the bottom a good bit. I chose the bottom a decent amount when I was trying to get back up there because you jump about three rows and you figure you can maintain or maybe gain. I thought it was great. I thought they did a really good job implementing it the rest of the year besides next week. I was a fan of it, for sure.”
DID YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICES BASED ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT WERE YOUR CARS STRENGTHS OR DID IT MORE DEPEND ON THE OTHER CARS THAT WOULD BE AROUND YOU? “I made it more off of how much it was going to gain me. If you are lining up 20th when we pitted again and then you ask yourself if you can get to 15th if you chose the bottom. Hell yeah I am going to choose 15th. You just try to decide where you are going to line up and how many lanes or rows you are going to jump. There were a lot of times I was sitting fourth and the third place choses to line up on the front row on the bottom and I wanted to stay sixth. I would rather have been sixth than third. That was just kind of how I chose it, but what I thought momentum would go and I think it differs when you get from the back of the pack to the front. I think your mindset changes a little bit.”
DID YOU GUYS HAVE DISCUSSIONS AMONG YOUR TEAM OF HOW YOU WOULD APPROACH THE CHOOSE RULE OR WAS IT LEFT UP TO YOU? “It was left up to the driver. We talked a little about it, Todd (Gordon) and I did before the race and Josh Williams my spotter a little bit about it. But really when it comes down to it that is just driver choice. You are going to make the right one sometimes and sometimes you will make the wrong one. That is part of the rule. It is chance. You can take an opportunity and nobody is brake checking each other off pit road to get in the lane they want, that part is nice. It can be a really big risk that can pay off maybe at some of these places where there is a preferred lane but that was just driver choice in the moment of seeing what everyone is doing and you have a split second to figure out what you want to do.”
IS THERE ANYTHING WITH IT THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE TWEAKED? “I would like to see them tie a rope to an actual cone and put it on the racetrack and have someone pull it. It was getting dark here and that thing was hard to see. I like how they moved it towards turn one from the start finish line. I know they have some cones on the wall but it is tough to see. I would love to see someone wrangling that damn rope in every single time like at the dirt tracks. It was just a little tough to see when it got dark.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang — Finished 8th
“It was a good recovery. A little bit of practice this week would have been nice. That was one of the loosest and out of control race car I have had. At the start of this race. The clean air made us look better than what we were. As soon as I lost clean air I was just trying to hang on. Unfortunately I collected a lot of damage along the way on the back bumper from everyone hitting me. I don’t blame them, I was in the way. Over time, by probably the beginning of the third stage we got close. Not quite to where we needed to. Then there at the end we pitted and may have gotten to the other side of it finally. At least we know where the edge is so we can work on it for tomorrow. We got a top-10 out of it. If you had told me we were going to finish eighth after the first 50 laps of this thing I would have taken it but greed always sets in and you want a little more there at the end. We got our Mustang for tomorrow and we got to the other side of it. We should be in the ballpark.”
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR DISCUSSIONS WITH NASCAR LIKE BEFORE THEY WENT WITH THE CHOOSE RULE AND HOW YOU MAYBE NUDGED THEM IN THAT DIRECTION? “I have been nudging for years. NASCAR has to look at all the possibilities of it going wrong. And there are a lot of opportunities for race teams to try to manipulate the system a little bit. It is also something else they need to officiate. You have to make sure you are on one side or the other of that cone and you can never go back on your choice. Things like that. It definitely adds something to the race. There is a lot to think about going to it and you see a lot of drivers really pick up a lot of spots here today by making that bet. It is a lot to study which is what I am going to do after this. There is a lot to study on how these restarts work now. A lot for everybody to learn. A lot to take advantage of and it evolved a lot through the race from what it was in the beginning to the middle and end where it was much different. It is cool. I like it. You aren’t giving up spots trying to get a certain row on pit road. You can actually have your own fate in your hands a little bit so you can make those decisions yourself. I am good with it. I like it. I am glad it went this way.”
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SEE TWEAKED GOING FORWARD? “I didn’t see anything wrong with it, no. I thought it went perfect.”
WITH WHAT YOU STRUGGLED WITH EARLY TODAY WILL YOUR CREW BE ABLE TO MAKE CHANGES TO GET IT RIGHT FOR TOMORROW OR IS THERE CONCERN THAT IT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT CAN JUST BE CHANGED QUICKLY WITH A SETUP? “I sure hope so. I think so. I think they will be able to change a lot. We got some damage and need to fix that first but then after that from where we started to where we finished the race we got way closer. So we were able to do that with just wedge, trackbar and air pressure. Now we can kind of open up the box and do countless other things. We will look at that and try to find the right direction to go. I was talking with Paul (Wolfe) before you guys trying to figure out the direction to go. Yes, we should be able to get to the other side of it and be more competitive tomorrow. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I wish we started the race the way we finished it. I think we would have looked a lot better and could have fine tuned it. We weren’t in the fine tuning stages at all. We were in the swing for the fence and throw everything at it to get to the other side of the loose problem. Now I think we can get to where we are find tuning a little bit to get the last little bit out of it.”