Ford All-Star Qualifying Quotes

Ford Qualifying Order:

1st – David Ragan

2nd – AJ Allmendinger

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6th – Marcos Ambrose

8th – David Gilliland

16th – Travis Kvapil

20th – Andy Lally

22nd – David Starr

24th – Boris Said

25th – Derrike Cope

It will be an all-Ford front row for tomorrow night’s Sprint Showdown as David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger captured the first and second spots, respectively, in qualifying. Both drivers visited the infield media center to discuss their qualifying efforts.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “There was a lot of grip on the race track and you could see everybody that was going out there was picking up speed. The mile and a half race tracks for me, especially in qualifying, I’m usually hit or miss, so I went out there and just tried to get everything I could out of it and not overstep the boundaries. I knew I had some good guys coming behind me with Paul and David, so I was pleased with it. To be on the front row of the showdown with it being such a short race is a good thing. For us, we just have to keep working on our mile and a half program. It’s been our biggest struggle this year on the 43 side of it, so it’s kind of the same thing Paul said, if we can go out there and get some notes and, hopefully, race our way into the All-Star Race, but, more importantly, just get some good notes and try to make our Ford run better for the 600 and on.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – “Hopefully, we’re a part of the real big event tomorrow at Charlotte, but our UPS Ford was fast in our one and only practice we had today. We didn’t make any changes. I didn’t expect the track to pick up that kind of speed from the first practice to this afternoon with the sunshine still really out there and the place is pretty warm, so I saw Allmendinger and a few of those other guys pick up three or four tenths and I knew that we should be able to, so we didn’t make any changes on our UPS Ford from the practice lap that we ran and it was a good lap. It’ll be a good start for us.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET IN THE ALL-STAR RACE? “It’s very important. That’s the number one thing on our to-do list right now besides the Daytona 500, which we’ve already run. I think this is the next important race that’s here because it kind of sets the tone for the Coke 600 next week. Everybody is around. If this car runs well, we’ll be able to bring it back and have a head start for the next week. The last two weeks our results haven’t been that great. We had a pretty good month of April, so we need to get back and get some of these points. We still have a goal of winning some races and getting to that chase, so I think this is a start. If we could make the big show tomorrow, which we’ve got a great chance to do that, it’ll be fine. I think we’ll have a good shot to run good in it, we’ve just got to get there.”

A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME THE FORDS WERE STRUGGLING FOR SPEED. HOW FAR HAVE THINGS COME IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS? “Yeah, the last two years have been really tough and I think if it wasn’t for the veteran leadership that we have at our race shop, like Robbie Reiser and some of our engineers, and Doug Yates at the engine department, and our three drivers that are veterans like Carl and Greg and Matt, they have really helped me a lot being a younger guy just learning the deal over the last couple of years. We wouldn’t have been able to make great strides like we have, so we’ve talked about it to death over the last year or the last six months of 2010 that we could see a turnaround – our cars were getting better. Doug Yates promised us the FR9 engine would be ready to go for Daytona and all year, so they’ve all lived up to what they told us and it’s fun to show up at the race track and have fast cars and now we’ve just got to do our jobs and not make mistakes. Mistakes are what will hurt us. Slow cars, we don’t have to worry about that right now.”

Ford Qualifying Results:

2nd – Greg Biffle

4th – Carl Edwards

13th – Matt Kenseth

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – DID YOU GET ALL YOU WANTED IN THAT RUN? “No, I don’t think we did anything exceptional in that run at all. The good news is the car felt a lot better than earlier today. I didn’t really get a great lap through one and two after I took the green. The rest of the time on the track it was pretty good, but I didn’t do a very good job getting to pit road, getting into my stall, and I don’t think our stop was what they usually are, so I don’t think it’s gonna equate to a good performance overall, but the car seems better and that’s the main thing.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I tell you what, that’s the best car I’ve ever driven. These guys just keep amazing me, the race cars they bring to the race track – Greg Erwin, Ben, Sam, Will and all the guys on the team. They’re just building me great cars and what can I say about the Ford power, Doug Yates and that whole engine shop. I’m just speechless with how much power that thing made. If we get beat, it’s gonna be my fault for getting on pit road. I started stopping too soon. The brakes were just phenomenal. The thing stopped so fast I was a little slow getting on to pit road. It was a great pit stop, so I’m just excited for these guys and how hard everybody has worked.”

IT’S A FAR CRY FROM A YEAR AGO. “Yeah, you’re exactly right. To have 3M back and signed through 2014 on the car, and Ford and everybody like that behind us is a great feeling.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “My guys did a really good job. It’s one of those things that you get one shot at it a year, but I wish we did that every week. It’s fun. My guys did a really good job and that will be a good spot for us.”

GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE – YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR CHANCES TOMORROW. “I really do. A year ago here we were terrible and were slipping and sliding, the car didn’t have any grip. Now, the car is super-fast. Those laps it turned on the race track felt so good, and I knew I probably could have gone a little bit faster. I started stopping too early. Like Clint said, you get a little nervous out there because you’re not used to this format. You don’t want to make a mistake because everybody is watching you, but I started slowing down way too soon getting on to pit road, so I left a lot of time out there. But it was a great pit stop and getting off pit road, and our laps were really good, but I should have gotten to pit road a little faster. I’m excited about how my car is driving and I think tomorrow night is gonna be really fun and exciting. There are a lot of fast cars, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

WHO IS THE ONE TO BEAT TOMORROW? “There are 10 of us that can do it right now. I think my car is fast enough. He thinks his car is fast enough (Bowyer). It sounds stupid, but it’s gonna be the guy that’s got track position at the end of this thing. The guy out front, with how close our cars are, is just gonna have the advantage. Whoever gets that track position, unless the top groove really comes in during the race, which we’ll have to wait and see, but whoever has the track position.”

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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