FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES – AAA 400 Qualifying

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 30th) –  “I think we pretty much ran what we did in practice.  I wish we could have picked up a little bit, but the car just seemed to slide around a little bit more than it did in practice.  I think our car is gonna be pretty good for the race.  I was happy with hit when we unloaded, so we just needed a little bit more speed there in qualifying.” 

HOW HAS YOUR FIRST DAY WITH DREW GONE?  “So far, so good.  Drew and I have worked together a little bit in the past.  He knows the Roush system very well.  We’ve still got some time to learn and some things to do, but, overall it’s been good.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings and hopefully he’ll have a few different opinions of what we’ve got here.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 7th) – “Can I do it one more time?  It was really good, but the track was hotter and slicker than I expected it to be.  I probably drove it in three and four a little bit too far and it went up the track.  I had to wait forever and that cost me at least a tenth and that’s the top of the board.”

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CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 11th) –  “I just missed my mark a little bit in three and four, but it’s just a blink of an eye – you don’t want to mess that up.  I needed one more lap and I could probably run another tenth faster, but we’ve got a fast race car.  It’s nice to be disappointed not being on the pole.  We’ve got a car that can win the pole and it’s been like that the last few weeks.

That’s been cool.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) – “It’s tough here because the lap times at this place are so close.

You just watch everybody go and some guys would speed up, but a lot of guys were slowing down.  You just never know, but I’m just proud of everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports and the Roush Yates engine shop.  We’ve got great horsepower and everybody has just been doing a great job over the last month.  It’s been a pleasure to feel like we’re building again and getting better.  It’s a great effort from everybody and I’m just proud.”

KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 17th) – “I think we went a little too far.  We just got a little bit loose, but the car actually drove really good and did everything I wanted it to.  I just wasn’t able to give it enough gas all the time.  We have a lot of time to work on the car tomorrow and keep getting it better, but I think it’ll be strong on Sunday.”

PAUL M ENARD – No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion (Qualified 10th) – “That was a nice pickup from practice.  I butchered turn one a little bit and I thought I hurt the lap quite a bit.  There was more there, for sure, but it was a nice pickup.  We made a few changes and kind of guessed at a few things that worked out pretty good.  We were decent in race trim earlier.  We just did a couple of runs and we’ve got all day tomorrow to improve, as does everybody else, but I think we have a good car.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER PRESS CONFERENCE – “For us it was just another solid day.  Over the last month I’ve felt like everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, but especially the 43, my team has been really strong.

We unload strong.  We have good Fridays and good Saturdays and the races have been going really well, so today was just another portion of that.  We went out there and were really fast in race trim, I felt.

 We did a couple of runs there and went right into qualifying trim and went really fast.  I would have liked to have had the pole.  When you’ve got the 48 behind you it’s tough to hold on, but, more importantly, the confidence that my race team and I are building together is the most important thing.  I’m excited about tomorrow with getting some practice in.  The track is gonna change a lot and that’s what we’ve got to focus on, but I’m really excited about my car on Sunday.”  YOU GUYS ARE COMING AROUND NOW.  DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR?  “For me, it’s my first full year working with all the 43 guys and this is Richard Petty Motorsports’ first year working with Ford.  We have the alliance with Roush Fenway and the beginning of the year was tough.  We were trying to learn a lot of new things.  Everybody was trying to find their place inside the company and where that belonged.  I felt like we kind of got on a good path in the middle of the season.  We were having a lot of solid top-10,

top-15 runs and then the last six weeks or so we kind of got off track and were struggling.  We had a good run at Watkins Glen, but that was about it.  And then over the last month, just inside the team we made a couple of changes engineering-wise helping all of us out and I feel like that’s really got us back on path.  Over the last three weeks, and counting today now, we’ve just been getting better.  We’ve had good races.  We need to minimize our mistakes during the races, but, overall, I feel like our cars are really strong.  We’re really fast and they’re really consistent, which is the biggest deal.  For the chasers, to me, you never want to be the guy that goes out there and gets into the side of one of them and possibly cost them a championship or anything like that, but, to be honest with you, I could really care less about if they’re out there racing for a championship.  They’ve got a lot more to lose than I do.  I’m not gonna go and intentionally get in anybody’s way, but I’m out there to win.  I’m out there to get Insignia/Best Buy a victory and the way I look at it, they’ve got a lot more to lose than I do, so they’ve got to be more cautious than me.”  COMING FROM OPEN WHEEL, WHAT DO YOU LIKE AT DOVER NOW THAT YOU’VE HAD A CHANCE TO GET USED TO COMING HERE?

 “I think ultimately, Mark said it the best, it’s a cool place.  It’s fast, there’s a lot of banking in it.  To me, the corners narrow up so much on the exit and you’re going so fast that you’re almost on edge every lap.  You don’t ever feel like you can relax because when you do relax it’ll jump out and bite you, so, as a race car driver and me especially, I think it puts you on your A-game every lap that you run.

 It’s a really fun place.  I can’t really say much more than Mark said.  It’s just an awesome place.  I’ve really enjoyed it.  Even the first year I came here.  I remember I showed up and I was running the truck race and the Cup race.  We had a truck practice on Thursday and my crew chief wouldn’t let me out for the first 20 minutes.  He wanted me to just watch.  He said, ‘Kind of watch the straightaways, but watch off of turn four.’  I’m like, ‘What do you mean, and watch off of turn four?  I have to.  That’s what I’m supposed to do.  I’m supposed to learn.’  And I think Hornaday came off of four the first lap and the wheels didn’t look like they were touching the ground and I was like, ‘I retire.  Screw that (laughter).  I’m not doing that.

That’s unfair.  I’m not doing that.’  It’s an amazing place when you get on it.  You feel like the bottom drops out from under you when you get in the corners and then come back and they try to bite you on the exit.  It’s just an awesome place to race and just drive in general.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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