Ford Performance – NCS Qualifying Quotes

Ford Qualifying Results:

3rd – Michael McDowell

7th – Chris Buescher

17th – Joey Logano

20th – Aric Almirola

21st – Kevin Harvick

22nd – Ryan Preece

24th – Chase Briscoe

25th – Brad Keselowski

30th – Zane Smith

31st – Ryan Blaney

32nd – Todd Gilliland

33rd – Andy Lally

34th – Austin Cindric

36th – Harrison Burton


MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang – “I’m bummed. We had a really fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang, but those two extra runs there that we didn’t need on tires hurt us. Obviously, pushing hard and anything you push hard you make a few mistakes here and there. Unfortunately, both first runs of each session just had a little bit of front lock up, so that’s unfortunate. I think we had the car to beat today, so that’s what stinks about qualifying third. I feel good about our race trim. The cars I out-qualified there I felt like we were way better in race trim. The only one I felt that was better than us was maybe the 5, so we’ve got a good car for tomorrow and we’ll get after it. It’s good to be disappointed with third. I haven’t had a career pole here in the Cup Series, so I was hoping today would be it. I gave it all I had and just a little bit too much and over-stepped it.”



CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang – “I’m proud of our group. This Fifth Third Bank Mustang has good speed in it, but better than that I just feel like I needed to execute cleaner. Every lap I could pick out something where I just made too big of a mistake. The guys did a good job and make some good adjustments. We’re in a pretty good place here, but I really thought we should have been top five and I didn’t quite clean it up enough for that.”


HOW CLOSE DO YOU FEEL RFK IS TO WINNING? “We’re definitely competitive and we’re close. I think we’re a step away. We’re as close as we’ve been in a long time consistently. This was probably one of the first showings last year, along with Dover, where we showed some really good promise. We came here and were really, really close. I feel like there’s a lot of speed we’ve had at different types of racetracks, but we’ve been really consistent this season and had speed at a lot of races, but not quite race-winning speed. We’ve made massive progress and really proud of everybody for that, and we’re still working to find whatever that next little step is, but we’re in the hunt right now and that’s a really good feeling. I’m really proud of the effort and the results. We’ve just got to keep after it. This sport doesn’t sit still, so we’ve got to keep digging.”


DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN HAVE THE SAME SPEED THIS YEAR HERE THAT YOU DID A YEAR AGO? “I’m confident we will. I think our group has done a really nice job. Road races throughout the year last year, COTA was kind of our exception to our good speed and we were much better there this go around. I don’t think we need to rehash all the turn one chaos that we had there and what happens from it, but nothing leads me to believe that we won’t be very competitive here. We’ve been very good at every road course we’ve been to. We’ve been top 10 just about every time we go somewhere and that’s including when we were on fire for three laps. I feel strongly about these things and I know we’ve made more gains on our race cars for different parts of the course as well. Really, the only unknown we have is the different downforce package coming into this one and what that does for Sonoma. It’s nice and cool out, and it was cool last year as well, so it’s similar track conditions and we’ll just have to see where it leads us.”


DO YOU PREFER THIS LAYOUT OR THE ONE WITH THE CAROUSEL? “I’m not really strong one way or the other on that side of it. I enjoyed the carousel. I did like doing that and I thought it did lead to some pretty good passing zones, but it also, in a way, took away some of the view for our fans and I understand that. This is a cool racetrack where certain places you can see vast majorities of the racetrack and that’s great if you’re sitting up in these stands. I think we lost some of that with the carousel. I enjoyed it, but this one is what we know. This is what we grew up racing on NASCAR ‘99 or whatever it was growing up. You have a pretty good sense of this layout and know where we’re heading, so I definitely enjoy it both ways.”



BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang – WE HAVE A DRIVER OUT WITH A CONCUSSION THIS WEEK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? “I don’t know what the story is with Noah and obviously a concussion is not what we want to see. We hope he gets well soon. I’m not sure what caused that to happen, if it was his crash or what angles or anything of those things that you can attribute to it, but certainly not what we want. We don’t want drivers missing races with concussions, so clearly there is still more work to be done. What that is I can’t say I know right now, but hopefully some of the changes that NASCAR has made that will be implemented in the next few weeks are a step in the right direction. It appears so with all the video and pictures that we’ve seen, so we’ve got work to do.”


ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “I’m not terribly comfortable. We obviously had a bad week at Gateway with losing an engine really early in the race and left a bunch of points on the table at the Coke 600, where I feel we honestly had a car capable of running in the top two or three and maybe even winning the race. The last two weeks have been frustrating because I felt like we left so many points on the table, but then encouraging because we were competitive enough at Charlotte to legitimately have a shot at winning the race. I’d be a lot more comfortable with a win. Everybody would say that. We’re not in a bad spot, but we’re right on the fringe with both of our cars and we need to get some wins.”



RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang – DO YOU WISH THE OFF WEEKEND WAS COMING A BIT LATER SINCE YOU GUYS HAVE THE HOT HAND RIGHT NOW? “Not really. I don’t think so. You know when the off week is coming all year, so I don’t think it helps or hurts you if you’re on a good streak. It might help you a little bit more if you’re down in the dumps and things aren’t really going your way. It might be kind of nice to take a week off and re-evaluate, but I don’t think it breaks up our momentum at all. If anything, it kind of gives you confidence going into this off week. It’s like, ‘Man, we’ve done a good job the last month. Let’s go into the off week, enjoy it and then get back to work at the start of the next week.”


YOU’RE THE POINTS LEADER NOW, SO DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY GOING FORWARD KNOWING THERE ARE 15 BONUS POINTS THERE? “Yeah, that’s a huge thing to try to win and helps you through the playoffs. It’s funny, before Charlotte we were like 40 points out of the lead and in just two weekends it shows you how quickly you can gain points and how quickly you can lose them. The 1 has had a couple bad weeks and he’s now fifth in points, so those things can shift so quickly. Now that you’re in it and you have a shot to win the regular season points, maybe you do something different in the heat of the moment during races. Can you take some stage points at this point if the guys you’re racing aren’t gonna do that? It’s not something we sit around during the week and talk about. I think it’s kind of in-the-moment stuff when it comes down to those types of situations.”


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