Ford Performance Finishing Results:

2nd – Ryan Blaney

4th – Austin Cindric

8th – Michael McDowell

9th – Chris Buescher

11th – Harrison Burton

14th – Kaz Grala

16th – Ryan Preece

20th – Justin Haley

26th – Todd Gilliland

28th – Joey Logano

29th – Josh Berry

31st – Chase Briscoe

33rd – Brad Keselowski

36th – Noah Gragson

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 BodyArmor Zero Sugar Ford Mustang Dark Horse – DO YOU REALIZE HOW CLOSE THAT WAS? “Yeah. I’m sure it was close. I’ve won some by a few inches and lost some by a few inches. It was a fun night, fun racing. I didn’t think they’d get that big of a run on me. I thought I did a good job of getting close off of two to where I kind of had some of their energy.  I guess they just got hooked up super good and got a massive run, and I can’t block both lanes. It was fun racing, but just a couple inches short. I’m happy for Daniel, though. That was fun racing him and Kyle. That was fun.”

WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY AT THE FINISH LINE? “Not at the finish line. I thought I laid back enough in one and two to kind of not let both lanes get that big of a run. I did that the three laps before the end and I was able to kind of manage it fairly well, but they just got both lanes shoving super hard. I just chose the bottom and the safest place to be. What a cool finish. I appreciate the fans for sticking around. That’s a lot of fun. That’s always a good time when we can do that, race clean, three-wide finish to the end. I’m happy for Daniel. That was cool to see. It was fun racing with Kyle. I can’t complain. I’ve won them by very, very little too, so I can’t complain too much when I lose them by that much. I’m proud of the BodyArmor Zero Sugar car. Our Ford Mustang was fast and was close.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang Dark Horse – WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT LAST RESTART? “It’s really unfortunate to have two weeks in a row where I feel like Team Penske has brought three of the best race cars to the racetrack and not come home with a win. Obviously, we got really close with the 12. It was fun to lead laps and win the stage. I got in a real tight aero spot while I was following Ryan and washed up the track a bit. He was, honestly, in a really tough spot with the runs that were coming from behind. I thought he was gonna be able to hold on, but the first win for the Mustang Dark Horse has to wait another race, but I’m really proud of the effort. It should be a really great points day for us, so that puts us on the right side of things heading into Vegas.”

WHAT ABOUT THAT FOUR-WIDE MOVE? “That was kind of cool, wasn’t it? I mean, four-wide at Atlanta, that doesn’t really work in the corners, it only works in the straights, but I had enough time to think about if it was a good idea and it was a good idea. I’m sure it looked cool and made for good pictures.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT? HOW DO YOU MAKE THAT MOVE? “Someone’s gotta do it. I can promise you I’ll be the guy.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED IT WORKED? “They were only four-wide with me for about half-a-second. I had a big enough run that didn’t last too long. I did look in my mirrors expecting them to wreck being four-wide for that many laps. That is pretty impressive. What the viewer doesn’t understand is how difficult it is to follow at this racetrack, especially when you have all that turbulent air coming out of the hood next to the other cars. That’s what got me at the end, honestly, guys just running close to me. It’s not easy to do, but I guess that’s why they call us the best in the world.”

WAS IT FUN OUT THERE? “It was fun to lead. I’m sure some of the guys weren’t having fun. There was a lot of wrecks today, but from my seat it was fun to lead.”

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “It’s a handling racetrack and the handling is just not very good for a lot of cars, and then you get into different aero spots basically and it changes pretty drastically. It’s just tricky. It’s easy to make mistakes and without practice I don’t think many of us were able to find that balance, so you get into the race and you find out if you overstep your bounds for speed versus handling real quick and there’s not much you can do about it then. I think it was just the small window we’re working in for these speedways like this, especially Atlanta when we have so few laps around this place. Three laps before today on the weekends. The more laps we can get, I think we can get it dialed in to where it’s not so much of a crashfest.”

WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT YOUR TEAM TO COME BACK AND FINISH IN THE TOP 10? “It was a bad day. It was ninth, but that is a bad day. Nothing went quite right. We spun out there early and then got crashed. We kept working on it and I’m just proud of everybody for that because it was not easy. It was frustrating being on pit road that much, but they kept getting it a little bit better every time to the point where I was able to make decent speed and get to the point where I was having minimal lift. We still weren’t 100 percent by any means, but were able to drive up there and make good speed.”

TODD GILLILAND, No. 38 Georgia Peanuts Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “My car was really fast. The Georgia Peanuts Ford Mustang Dark Horse is really fast. We’ve shown that the last couple of weeks. Just the progress from my team. Right at this moment, it definitely feels like a huge missed opportunity. I lost some track position and got caught in the middle and then just got behind that wreck, which ultimately bent a toe link. I feel like I made a lot of good moves, but obviously the one at the end where it all counts I didn’t. I’ll put the emphasis on a really fast car and my team did an amazing job. I just wish I could have done a little bit better at the end.”

AT ONE POINT YOU WERE BATTLING TRUEX AND OTHERS FOR THE LEAD. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE UP THERE WITH THOSE GUYS? “It felt really good. In my heart, I definitely believe that I can do it with those guys week in and week out. Our car was really fast. I was making really aggressive moves, but really in control the whole time. That’s what it takes is my confidence gets more and more, and hopefully those guys’ confidence around me gets better with every lap also. We’ve just got to keep doing that and hopefully the better runs will come more consistently and race up front with those guys more and more.”

RYAN PREECE, No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “Our day was ruined right from the start, so to really end up 16th is a gift. For the half a lap that I felt like my car made it through it felt like it was gonna be really fast, so it gives me a lot of hope moving towards Vegas next week.”

JUSTIN HALEY, No. 51 Grady Medical Center Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “I’m not really sure what we could’ve done any different. It felt like we were caught up in every situation that happened from the start, so I’m glad we were able to finish and get a decent result for Rick and everyone at RWR. Even with a roughed-up Grady Health Mustang we were still to run in the top-10 for a bit and show that we’ve got the speed to do more. Still a lot of positives to take away, but definitely a tough day for us.”

KAZ GRALA, No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “We had a really good ending to a very tough day. The No. 15 N29 Capital Partners team overcame a lot of adversity to leave Atlanta with a top-15 finish and we learned a few things we’ll be able to apply to some upcoming intermediate races. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone at RWR and the way we handled everything that was thrown at us today.”

NOAH GRAGSON, No. 10 Black Rifle Coffee/Ranger Boats Ford Mustang Dark Horse – ‘It’s definitely a bummer. They started stacking up on the top and I thought we were gonna miss the 3 and then got tagged in the right-rear by someone. I just got hit from behind and the car was pretty torn up. We tried to keep it going, but then the rack started falling out of it, so we started losing steering and had to bring it in. It’s just a bummer, but we’re gonna go to Vegas and rebound. There’s a lot of fight in these guys with the Ranger Boat team. This 10 group is really tight together and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

YOU KNOW THIS CAN HAPPEN AT A TRACK LIKE THIS, BUT THE FACT YOU FINISHED NINTH AT DAYTONA DOESN’T MAKE THIS A WORST-CASE SCENARIO IN TERMS OF POINTS, DOES IT? “It still sucks not being able to collect points. We were looking to have a good day and to only really get one lap in at speed and then we’re limping around with a wrecked race car for the next 60-80 laps, so that was a bummer. Overall, I’m just really grateful. This kind of hurts us in the points. I know it’s still early, but the way the qualifying and practice algorithm goes, being higher up in the points is really beneficial, so it’s definitely a bummer but we’re gonna keep our heads down and keep working hard.”

JOSH BERRY, No. 4 Harrison’s Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “The guys did a really good job to get us back in position. We obviously made some mistakes there and have to clean that up, but the car was kind of weird. It was really strong on the bottom, but struggled on the top. There were several times I got put in a bad spot in the third lane and kind of had a moment there, and ultimately that’s what did us in at the end. I was trying to stay out of the top lane. I kind of got forced up there and I just got loose and unfortunately wrecked. I’m glad we battled back and raced well and got back in position, but unfortunately we didn’t finish.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “I don’t know. My car just took off in the middle of the corner. I don’t know if dumped or I lost the rear tire. Once I got up to the wall I couldn’t get it off the wall. It’s a shame. We were in good position. We ran up front most of the day and made good adjustments on the car. I’m just really proud of my crew chief and the team and weren’t able to make it count with a solid finish I feel like we deserved today. It’s a bummer, but we’re running up front and that’s a good thing. We just weren’t able to finish it off.”

THAT RACING WAS INTENSE. YOU SAID MORE INTENSE THAN DAYTONA. “Oh, yeah. This is super intense racing. The track cooled off and now you can really, really push hard. I think it’s some of the best racing you’ll ever see.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “I haven’t seen it yet, so I really don’t know what happened. I got put in a bad spot down the back straightaway. Somebody was on my right-rear and it kind of shuffled me to the left. I think we were three or four-wide and it felt like somebody hit me in the left-rear getting into three, but I could have just got loose from the air. I’m not really sure. Like I said, I haven’t seen it yet. It sucks with how good our car was. We were able to be up front all day and be super aggressive making moves. I thought we were gonna be in a really good spot there, but that’s part of it when you’re racing that tight and everybody is going for it at the end. We were just on the unfortunate side of it today.”

HOW WAS THE RACING? “it was fun. That was the most fun I’ve ever had here, and I think some of that is just our guys did a really good job of bringing a car that we could be aggressive with and make moves. I’m actually looking forward to coming back here. That was a lot of fun. Guys were just making huge moves and big runs, but we were able to not get close to crashing a lot of times like we would at Daytona or Talladega. I had a lot of fun. I wish our finish would have reflected how good we were today, but we’ll go on to Las Vegas and see if we can improve on it.”

YOU WEREN’T CLOSE TO CRASHING? IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE EVERY LAP? “Yeah, I mean we’re close to crashing, but it’s not as sketchy as you would think. To me, I feel way more sketched out at Daytona or Talladega. I don’t know if it’s just the speed feels a little bit slower here or what, but I think, for us, our car was just extremely good. I definitely saw a lot of other guys struggling. I felt like we had easily a top-five car out there. I’m sure my opinion is probably a little bit different than others just because of how easy our car drove, and that’s the part that stings the most, I would say, is knowing how good our car was and we don’t get the finish to show that.”

Ford Performance PR