Ford Performance – NCS Phoenix Championship Race Qualifying Quotes

FORD QUALIFYING RESULTS

3rd – Kevin Harvick

9th – Chris Buescher

12th – Ryan Preece

14th – Todd Gilliland

15th – Ryan Blaney

17th – Joey Logano

19th – Michael McDowell

25th – Harrison Burton

26th – Chase Briscoe

27th – Austin Cindric

28th – Aric Almirola

30th – Ryan Newman

31st – Cole Custer

34th – JJ Yeley

 

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford Mustang – WHAT DID YOU NEED ON THAT QUALIFYING RUN? “I needed about another tenth-and-a-half – I don’t know. I mean, the car didn’t feel bad, just not as much speed as everyone else. I think our race car is good for tomorrow. So, we’ll see what happens.”

 

HOW WAS THE CAR IN PRACTICE DURING THE LONG RUNS YESTERDAY? “Yeah, I thought we were pretty decent – long runs, race runs. It’s going to be a lot different from where it was yesterday, just being hotter, slicker. I think that’s kind of better for our group, so we’ll see where we’re at. I think the change we made overnight was positive. Just didn’t quite have the speed getting going. I feel good about the race tomorrow.”

 

 

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Harvick Ford Mustang – HOW HAS THE TRACK CHANGED FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING? “Yeah, I mean it’s definitely got more grip with everything for qualifying and everything that you do there. We were just a little bit too loose in the second round. All good.”

 

 

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – WHAT WERE SOME STRONG POINTS FROM QUALIFYING? “It was a great start for us in our Fastenal For Mustang. It’s a racetrack that I haven’t shied away from saying that it’s not my best – I said that about Richmond last year too. We’ve come a long way and this just shows it. It’s more of everyone around me getting better – giving me fast race cars makes it easier for me to go out there and have a strong run. So, it’s a great way for us to start in ninth. Just didn’t have the cleanest second lap. The first lap was really good, really strong in practice – completely different conditions and like three quarters of a second faster. Pretty wild, but we were pretty happy in practice too. Great mid to long run speed. The fire-off actually didn’t seem that good, so I’m happy this looked like that, so cool. It’s a good start for us.”

 

WHAT’S YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO THE SEASON FINALE, AND WHAT IS THE GOAL? “Win a race. Figure it out. That’s where we’re at. We’re not in any kind of points battle anymore. I guess at the end of the day points are always on the line, but for us – let’s go win a race. Top 10 starting spot puts us in a good spot, good pit selection. It’s a good beginning for us.”

 

 

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IN RYAN’S GROWTH THAT HAS PUT HIM IN HIS FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP 4? “I think everyone knows Ryan is fast. He’s been fast his whole career. What I’ve seen this year is that he’s learned how to finish races. He’s learned how to run the race. He’s become a lot smarter behind the wheel and I think that’s why you see him in the Championship 4 now. He’s paired some raceability with the insane amount of speed that he has and that’s really what’s put him in contention every week and it’s all kind of seems to be clicking here in the last six weeks. It’s really worked for him.”

 

RYAN SAID YOU GAVE HIM SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO HANDLE THIS WEEK. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON ANY OF THAT? “We didn’t talk much. He kind of knows what he’s got to do at this point and everybody finds their own way. I found my way of dealing with the pressure and dealing with championship week, whether it’s media day or showing up for practice, qualifying here in a minute. The pressure is real. There’s way of hiding from it. I’ve always gone full tack on it and that’s what works for me, but I can’t say that’s the same for everybody, so I think you just have to find your way of doing it and the only way you know how to do it is repetition and trying different things. It’s not just for the driver, but the whole team is dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure this week. All four teams are, whether it’s the road crew, the guys at the shop, the pit crew when it comes down to it. It’s real pressure. It’s the real thing. It’s everything that you’ve worked for all season long to earn the opportunity to be here. The last thing you want to do is not win. You’ve come this far. Second place stings a lot. Third hurts too that you’ve come this far and didn’t get it done, so that pressure, to me, was always a real thing and you have to learn to embrace it.”

 

WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT TEAM PENSKE THAT FORD HAD THIS ROCKY KIND OF YEAR BUT STILL MANAGED TO GET A CAR IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “It says a lot that we’ve been able to find some speed and the 12 team has done a tremendous job in the playoffs – all the way through it. They’ve survived long enough to where they do have the speed now and now they can race for wins and now they’re in the Championship 4 because of it. I look at them as a great team right now because they’ve made some stuff happen, but I also look at Team Penske as a whole of being able to find speed when it matters the most. We just got knocked out too with the couple wrecks. I wish I was still in.”

 

DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE HAD THAT SPEED? “We would have had a chance, for sure. It’s hard to say what with ifs and ands and buts, but I would have liked to have gotten to the next round and as our cars have gotten faster here recently and had a chance, but it’s not in the cards.”

 

ROGER WILL BE BACK THIS WEEK. WHAT KIND OF LIFT DO YOU GUYS GET WHEN HE’S HERE? “It’s great to have him here. I just saw him a few minutes ago and he’s doing great. We love having Roger around. He brings a lot of intensity with him, which is already here this weekend, but it’s also fun to see the joy in his eyes when we succeed. There’s nothing like winning when the boss is here. That definitely adds something to it.”

 

YOU HAVE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR HIM. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT’S LIKE FOR BLANEY GETTING ADVICE FROM THE CAPTAIN? “I mean, it is what it is. I don’t really know what to say. You have an opportunity to win a championship for Roger Penske and put your name on a list of legends that have won championships for Roger. It’s a huge opportunity. It’s a huge honor to be part of that.”

 

SO IT MEANT SOMETHING TO YOU? “Absolutely. To me, it wasn’t just winning a championship in NASCAR that meant something to me, it was doing it for Roger and adding my name to that list because, let’s be honest, Penske is the most decorated American motorsports team, period. And when you look at the list of drivers that have won for him, it’s pretty cool to be on that list. It’s a really big deal.”

 

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