Ford Performance – NCTS Richmond Post-Race Quotes

Ford Finishing Results:

2nd – Ty Majeski

3rd – Zane Smith

7th – Matt Crafton

12th – Ben Rhodes

15th – Hailie Deegan

20th – Conner Jones

32nd – Christian Rose

33rd – Derek Lemke

36th – Josh Reaume

 

TY MAJESKI, No. 98 Road Ranger F-150 – “I had a dominant truck, obviously. You have trucks like this and it hurts not to win with them. A couple of mistakes cost us – the speeding penalty. We were still probably gonna win the race and, boy, I didn’t think they’d get there by pitting like that with 40 to go. I thought at the time that Joe made the right call. Our truck was so much faster than everybody else. Hindsight is always 20/20, obviously maybe should have pitted, but without that speeding penalty we win it staying out, too. I’m disappointed. We’ve got to clean up the mistakes and be better, but the good news is we have fast trucks heading into the playoffs.”

 

WHAT WERE YOU FEELING THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS? “You can’t do anything. You’re obviously on 100-and-whatever-lap tires and he’s on 40. You just don’t have a chance. I felt like our pace was gonna be OK, but once guys on new tires, there were so many of them, they kept passing me and getting me off the bottom. I was just losing too much lap time to maintain the lead there, so it’s disappointing, but we should be good at IRP?”

 

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A TRUCK OR CAR AS GOOD AS THAT? “I don’t know that I ever. I was multiple tenths on the field anytime I wanted it. It was a crazy fast Road Ranger Ford F-150. I don’t know what to say. I’m just incredibly disappointed. I should have been in victory lane tonight.”

 

DOES IT STING MORE BECAUSE OF HOW FAST THE TRACK WAS? “For sure. It’s hard to get trucks like that. It’s not easy. Everyone’s got the same stuff. Everyone’s got good equipment. These guys are good at what they do. NASCAR’s got us in the box rules-wise. Everybody is so close nowadays and to have a truck like that and not win with it, it’s uncalled for. I’ve got to be better.”

 

WERE YOU JUST PUSHING TOO MUCH? “Just a little bit. It was honestly just on entry into my pit box, the section right before my pit box. I was just trying to get it all to maintain the lead. In hindsight, I didn’t really need to do that. We were so much better than everybody. It was a silly penalty.”

 

 

BEN RHODES, No. 99 Campers Inn RV Ford F-150 – “I had that commitment line violation and I think I slid my right-rear tire over the orange box and that will do it. That will ruin a race. It happened. I didn’t think I clipped it. I thought i was close, but I didn’t think I clipped it, but, sure enough, I did. At the end of the race I heard we had really good speed, enough to compete for the win so that’s unfortunate. They were trying to save and keep me out there to save laps for the end on newer tires and I think the strategy could have worked had I not made that mistake. I don’t know. You have to go back and do the math on lap times. It’s just unfortunate because it was a good truck and a good run and if that didn’t happen, there could have been a chance we could have gotten third in the regular season, which would have helped immensely with some bonus points going into the playoffs.”

 

THE COMMITMENT LINE GOT THREE GUYS TONIGHT. WHAT MAKES IT SO HARD? “It’s just the old tires. You’re slipping and sliding so much. I was modulating the brake pedal on entry and as I touched the brakes the rear slides out and you’re just kind of playing with that all the way through the corner, and then exit on really old tires you’re barely getting to wide-open at the flag stand. The front was hooked up coming to pit road, the rear not so much and as I was sliding up the track trying to catch it, that right-rear just snagged it. That’s not good. I hate it. We had Campers Inn here and had a really good run going and came up short because of this. I think we could have at least been a good nine or 10 spots better. That’s on me.”

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? “Good. IRP is coming up next. We had a really fast truck there last year and also made a mistake and also had to come from the back and finished second in that one, so I’ll know what not to do at that racetrack. I know exactly what we need to focus on. We’ve got a good notebook. The next round, I think, is a really good strong point for us.”

 

 

MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Ford F-150 – “The first and second run we were pretty good and then I just got a terrible brake vibration and it made me so loose in that I couldn’t charge the corner anymore. That was our strong suit early and that last half of the race I couldn’t charge the corner at all. I got really free in and then I had my head firmly in my butt on one of the restarts. We picked the outside and I was in first gear when I was supposed to be in second gear and just about the time I cleaned the tires up before the restart zone they took off and I went from sixth to eighth. I really messed up on that one. I take all of that on the chin right there, but I wouldn’t want to be a crew chief with all the long green flag runs and when to pit and when not to pit, and then if you come down pit road too early and get two or three laps down, you’re caught with your pants down at that point and it makes for a long night. We were just at that point where we had to try to race the 2. In hindsight, maybe we should have came just a few laps earlier. That’s easy to say now and then we might have leapfrogged the 2 and the 25, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the races. We go to a lot of racetracks where you actually have to use two feet and not just run around all wide-open. This 88 has been pretty good when we have some fall off.”

 

WHAT SEPARATES THIS YEAR’S PLAYOFFS FROM THE PAST? “Nothing. We’ve got a good group of guys right now. I’ve got a crew chief who actually lives in Ohio. I think the last five years I haven’t had a crew chief in-house since Junior left in 2018 and he commuted back and forth. The other crew chiefs commuted back and forth from North Carolina, so I’m ecstatic to have Jeriod. Jeriod is doing a really good job. We stunk at Pocono, but that’s probably part of me because I hate the place, and we stunk in Nashville, but that’s just me. I’ll take all of that on the chin, but we’re a lot better than we were last year going into the playoffs. We’ve got some new trucks we’ve built and we keep making them better.”

 

 

ZANE SMITH, No. 38 Boot Barn Ford F-150 – WHAT DID YOU HIT ON AFTER THAT FIRST STAGE? “Simply just tightening our Boot Barn Ford up. It was really, really bad in the first stage and did not think we were gonna be able to fix it here at least. Chris Lawson and everyone at FRM proved me wrong, so we just really never gave up and unfortunately gave up a lot of points through those stages, but, all in all, it was a solid finish. I’m happy with that strategy we did. That was really our only shot was probably hoping for a late-race caution, come back down pit road again and get some more tires and go at it on a short run. That was really our only shot. I’m happy with our finish and to carry this momentum to the playoffs.”

 

HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR TEAM THIS YEAR GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS VERSUS LAST YEAR? “To be honest, last year we hardly had any adversity and this year I feel like our race team is in a great position it’s just a lot of ups and downs. We just need to do the small things a little bit better and focus on our end result a little bit more, instead of so focused on those stage wins. Yes, they are extremely important, but I’m happy where our race team is. Unfortunately, I’ve had some torn up trucks throughout the process, which sucks for everyone at FRM, but we win together and we lose together. Unfortunately, we’re not leaving Richmond with the trophy, but I feel like this has been a track we’ve struggled at, so, all in all, a top three is good for us and some good momentum to carry into the playoffs.”

 

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