Three Fords Qualify Top 10 For Sunday’s AAA 400

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
AAA 400 Qualifying (Dover International Speedway)
Friday, September 27, 2013Ford Qualifying Results:
4th – Carl Edwards
5th – Aric Almirola
6th – Brad Keselowski
11th – Joey Logano
15th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19th – Greg Biffle
24th – Marcos Ambrose
26th – Casey Mears
27th – David Ragan
28th – David Gilliland

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “It was definitely too loose for qualifying.  It always loosens up here, so we tightened it up some but we didn’t tighten it up enough and it was still just too loose.  I felt like we had a pretty good race car, but I don’t think that’s gonna be a very good lap today.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Fusion – WHAT IS THE SENSATION OF SPEED LIKE OUT THERE?  “Right now, my sensation isn’t about speed it’s about waiting for 20 more cars to go out.  There are quite a few good ones left, so I’m not counting any chickens, but that was certainly a really good lap for the Miller Lite Ford Fusion.  We’ll just have to see how it holds up, but the car was pretty fast.  It was really fast off the truck.  We weren’t where we wanted to be in qualifying trim, but we made some adjustments and obviously put up a good lap.  Qualifying is so important here because when we get to the race pit road here is so small that having a good qualifying position helps you get a better pit stall and that can make a huge difference for your day.”

WHAT DO 399 MORE LAPS LIKE THAT ON SUNDAY FEEL LIKE?  “Physical.  You’ve got to be tough to run Dover.  It’s a tough track.”

HOW WAS THE TRACK?  “The concrete here at Dover is really difficult to get a hold of and some like it while some hate it, but I kind of like it.  I haven’t had as much success at the Cup level here at Dover as I have in the Nationwide level, but I still really enjoy the challenge that are these concrete tracks.”

HOW DOES THIS FEEL RIGHT NOW?  “It feels like there are still 20 more cars left to go.  Ask me when they’re done.”

HAS NOT BEING PART OF THE CHASE BEEN ANY DIFFERENT THAN YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE?  “You start the whole year off and goal one is to make the Chase.  Goal two is to win races, but goal one is to always make the Chase for a team.  I want to do that by winning races and we’ve been stupid-fast this year in a lot of different races and haven’t put it all together, so that’s why we’re not in it.  Obviously, we have a very fast car here.  I expect to be really strong in the race, but, at the end of the day, you’ve got to put together a race.  That’s what counts.”

DOES COMING HERE PROVIDE THE REALITY THAT IT HAS BEEN A YEAR SINCE YOU LAST WON IN CUP?  “Not really.  I look at it as it’s been every week that I haven’t won.  That’s how I think of it.  You’ve got to move forward as fast as you can in this sport because if you’re not moving forward this sport will move without you.  Looking back at where we were at last year is something I’m certainly very proud of, but I’m obviously looking forward at what we can do to win now.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “We actually quit practice pretty early.  A lot of those guys made their fast lap right at the very end when it seemed like the track cooled down, so we were really happy with the lap we ran in practice.  We thought about tightening the car up a little bit for qualifying and that seemed to pay off because everybody seemed to be free, so it was a great lap for us.  That should be a really good starting spot.  Hopefully that holds on, but, either way, I think it’ll be a great starting spot.”

HOW IS THIS TRACK?  “It’s certainly weather sensitive.  We’ve seen that this weekend.  The sun comes out, it slows down.  The sun goes away, it picks up.  I was glad the clouds stayed over for us through that run, but our Smithfield Ford Fusion has been really good this weekend.  I’m really proud of  Todd Parrott and all the guys for bringing me a really fast car.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “I was actually laughing down the back straightaway because that was the best one and two that I’ve ever had here.  It was perfect.  The guys did a great job with our Fastenal Ford, and then I thought, ‘All I’ve got to do is make it through three and four here,’ and then I got a little greedy down there.  The car was still good through the first half of the corner and coming off of turn four I thought, ‘I don’t think I can move that wall.  I’ve got to lift off the throttle,’ and we ended up fourth, but it was a great effort by our guys.  We struggled here in the spring, so a lot of work went into this.  Everybody back at the shop has been working hard and we feel like this is our opportunity to go out there and close in on the two leaders.”

HOW WAS THE CAR IN RACE TRIM TODAY?  “The car was OK, but I actually think we learned a little bit from qualifying trim.  Jimmy Fennig comes with a very good plan and I think it’s a lot like the plan a lot of these guys had.  We ran some race trim, went to qualifying, and now the things we learned in race trim we can apply tomorrow.  With a couple hours of practice tomorrow and the starting spot we’ve got, the pit crew we’ve got, this could be a really great race for us.”

WHAT QUESTION WOULD YOU ASK YOURSELF ABOUT THIS PLACE?  “I guess I’d probably ask about what it feels like to drive here because it’s insane.  We all started racing cars because we like going fast, but there are times at this place where you’ll be like, ‘That might be a little bit much.’  I mean, you drive down in the corner and it is literally like being on a rollercoaster and you’re going 180 miles an hour and the car is sideways.  There is more grip than you think you should have and you just fight to put your foot down and keep going.  It’s a really fun place to race.”

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “I’m just mad at myself.  I had a really fast car and had a really good one and two, but I just screwed up three and four.  It was my fault.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “We unloaded in qualifying trim and that’s what we were gonna work on and the track just changes so much here at Dover throughout the course of the day.  We made some good adjustments and we picked up during qualifying, but we didn’t run a good enough lap in practice to know where to adjust for this qualifying run.  It’s a long race.  You can pass here.  You can run the bottom and the top and the middle and everywhere in between.  I wish we could have gotten a little better handle on our Ford today, so we’ll have to talk with our Front Row teammates and see if we can’t come up with a good plan tomorrow to work on race practice.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “My car was just too loose.  We’ve been fighting that all day and just haven’t been able to get that out, but that’s the opposite of what you fight in the race, so maybe it will be good for that.  Either way, we had a really good run here earlier in the year, so I feel good about our car in race trim, but we just couldn’t get it tightened up enough today.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “We made gains on it today.  We were better than we were last time here.  The sun came out there and it seemed like a lot of guys slowed up from practice to qualifying and we were able to almost match what we ran in practice, so that’s a positive.  We’ve just got to keep working on getting a better feel, but it’s cool to have the EcoBoost paint scheme and we’re gonna do our best to do it proud on Sunday.  We’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow to get it good in race trim, but we made a 10-lap run today in race trim and it felt decent.  It didn’t have a ton of speed at first, but it seemed to keep the speed that it had for a long time, so we’ll look forward to tomorrow and run a lot of laps and do a lot of long runs because it seems like there are a lot of those in the race and a lot of green flag stops.  We’ll probably take two tires at some point in practice to see how that will set us up for the end of the race because it seems like you’re always doing no tires or two tires towards the end of these races.  We’ll see what kind of balance change that has for us so we can make some notes for Sunday.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford Fusion – “With this cloud cover I don’t think it’s gonna matter too much where you go out, but if you had a choice of a draw you never want to choose number one.  But it’s gonna be the same for everybody with this cloud cover, unless the sun comes out here and changes the game.  It wasn’t a bad run, but not exactly what we were looking for.  We struggled a little bit when we unloaded just being loose in qualifying trim, but hopefully we’ll be good in race trim.”