Ford Coca-Cola 600 Qualifying

Ford Qualifying Results:  

2nd – AJ Allmendinger

3rd – Carl Edwards
American Muscle

8th – David Ragan

9th – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

15th – Greg Biffle

19th – Matt Kenseth

24th – Marcos Ambrose

30th – David Gilliland

31st – Travis Kvapil

32nd – David Starr

DNQ – Tony Raines

DNQ – Andy Lally  

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – “We’re prepared.  We know what’s in front of us.  Qualifying here tonight is just the beginning.  It’s obviously a good tone-setter for the rest of the week and allows us to pick a good pit stall.  Hopefully, we can wind up here in the top 10, but 600 miles is a long race.  You’ve really got three stages, you’ve got the first 150 or so laps – the middle part while the track is changing – and then when it gets really cool in the evening.  We feel like we’ve got a good game plan and we’re ready to go try and win this thing.”  

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “The car was pretty good, but it just slid the nose a little bit in three and four.  I just chattered the front tires, but I thought it was gonna be way faster than that actually.  It’s a long race and we know that it’s cooling down fast, so we’ll get bumped down but that’s the way it goes.”  

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “It wasn’t really the draw it was a reflection of our speed in practice.  We brought the same car back from last week and it was just a little bit different today.  We just didn’t quite get the speed out of it at the end like we wanted.  I feel like we learned a lot in the Showdown and were able to bring it back with no scratches, so we feel like we’ve learned a lot and we’re looking forward to the 600.  I think we’re gonna have a good car.  We finished seventh last week in the Showdown and hopefully we can capitalize on that finish and parlay that into a good finish for the 600.”  

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion – “The U.S. Air Force Ford is really quick.  I’m proud of Mike Shiplett and all the guys and I think we’ve got a good race car.  The mile and a half program hasn’t been our best.  We’ve been struggling with it a little bit and haven’t been as good as our teammate, Marcos, and a lot of the Fords, so I thought last week in the All-Star Race we got better.  We still weren’t as good as we wanted to be, but we learned some things.  We came back here with a different plan to work on setup and, so far, at least in qualifying trim, it was pretty good.  That will at least get us in the top five or top six, which, for 600 miles it doesn’t really matter at that point.  You just want to start up front and now we’ve got to work on Saturday to make the car better and then stay there on Sunday.”  

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Scotts EZ Seed Ford Fusion – “We’re fast and that’s a car that we didn’t plan on bringing to this race.  I don’t know if you saw it, but I tore up the other car.  This one is fast, so we’ve got a fast Scotts EZ Seed Fusion and it looks like we’ll probably be third.  That will be a great starting spot.  We’ll get a great pit stall and it’s a great way to start off our 600 weekend.”   

IS THIS CAR AS GOOD AS THE OTHER ONE?  “I think this car might be better actually.  I didn’t know that the car I tore up had been torn up at Phoenix and it raced at Martinsville and got beat and banged up there.  I didn’t feel so bad after that, but this one that we’ve got now is a brand new car and it’s neat.”   

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN MISSOURI?  “I’m really proud to be from Missouri, and I’m extra proud after what I’ve seen here the last week.  The whole state of Missouri and Oklahoma and Kansas for that matter, everyone has really joined up and volunteered.  There are firemen and first responders and hospitals.  A couple buddies of mine took their tractors down there to Joplin and they made a base at a church and they went out and helped people get trees off their houses and gather up their belongings.  It’s a tragedy.  We’re praying and thinking of them and as we learn more, we’ll know who we can help more.”  

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “We’re just gonna pay the price.  We’re not gonna qualify well.  We just didn’t get it right this afternoon when the track was hot and it is what it is.  It’s a long race, but every spot counts.”  

DAVID STARR – No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales Ford Fusion – “That was big.  I thank everyone for the opportunity.  Our Ford Fusion was awesome.  Doug Yates and the engine horsepower was great.  Wally Rogers, my crew chief, I can’t believe that I’m gonna be in the Coca-Cola 600.  It’s just awesome.  The car was good in practice, but you just never know.  I said, ‘Man, are you sure we’re gonna be  in the race?’  And Wally said, ‘Yes.’ I’m just glad to be here and look forward to racing on Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600.”  

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “It was OK.  I’m not happy with our pickup versus our practice.  We were pretty decent and picked up three-tenths from practice, but it seems like we should have probably got five or six.  I was nervous.  This is a tough field because there are a lot of good cars.  I went into turn one and the car bottomed out a little bit.  We had been fighting being too tight in turn three  all day, so I didn’t want to carry too much speed into turn three and get the splitter on the track and get tight because I knew that would kill our lap.  I was a little conservative and that showed in our lap time, but I didn’t want to go too far and put in a bad lap.”  

RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – WHAT’S YOUR EMOTION?  “I’m relieved to get this thing in.  I knew the car had the speed.  Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was fast in practice.  Whether I could put it all together was a different story and we were able to, which was good.  I didn’t imagine we would have a lap that good, but we’ll definitely take it.  I left a little bit out there because we just had to get in.  These Wood Brothers guys did an awesome job and I just can’t wait to get in the race on Sunday and just try to make all the laps we can.  It’s a long race.  I’ve got a lot to learn.  That was just qualifying, so, hopefully, on Saturday we’ll have a good practice and a good Nationwide race.  Our Fastenal Mustang was fast in Nationwide practice and, hopefully, have a good race and get into Sunday and just really learn a lot.”   

CAN YOU EXPLAIN BEING THE LAST CAR OUT AND THE EMOTIONS?  “I was gonna ask what we had to run to get in, but nobody ever told me so I figured they didn’t want me to know.  We just went out there and took what the car gave us.  Like I said, if we were in the show I think we could have had a little bit more out of that, but that was plenty.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER AND CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE:   AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion – “I’m really happy with the race team and everybody over at Richard Petty Motorsports and Ford in general.  Our mile-and-a-half program for myself on the 43 side of it, that’s probably been our Achilles heel just over the last year struggling a little bit to get the right package.  I felt like the All-Star Race last week was a good building block for us.  We weren’t quite as good as we wanted to be and went here today with a little bit of a new package and been pretty quick all day in qualifying trim.  For me, I got everything I could out of that lap.  There wasn’t much more that I could have gotten, so I was proud of the lap, proud of everybody on the team and hopefully Saturday we get here and build on a good setup and have a good race on Sunday.”  

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Scotts EZ Seed Ford Fusion – “The car is very good.  Bob and I were a little frustrated with our lap and then we realized that’s OK to qualify third considering where we were a year ago.  I think AJ said it well.  We’ve been working hard at all of this stuff and the cars are fast.  I think at least one of those Fords is gonna be a threat to win on Sunday, so I hope it’s our Ford.  It looks like we’ve got a great start.”  

ALLMENDINGER INTERJECTS:  “If you win, will you spin out through the grass again?” 

CARL SAYS: “No.  I don’t want to have to deal with Jack.”  

ALLMENDINGER CONTINUED – YOU WERE INTENTLY WATCHING THE END OF QUALIFYING.   DID YOU THINK THE 21 HAD SOMETHING TO KNOCK YOU GUYS DOWN?  “That 21 car has obviously been fast all year with Trevor and now with Ricky in it.  He was 12th in practice and with everything that happened in qualifying, it’s been 20-25 minutes since we were out there and the track is cooling down a lot, so he had a shot at it.  I’ve been in that position before, where you know you have a good car but you still have to make the race, but he had a chance at it.”  

EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I was getting ready to walk in and I met AJ outside and he said, ‘You’re gonna go in there?  Ricky still has to go.’  So I figured I would walk all the way down here and then he would knock me out of the top three and I’d have to walk back to the motorhome, so I was kind of curious to see if was gonna embarrass me or not.  He almost got it, too.  I think if he had another shot at it, he could be on the pole.”  

ALLMENDINGER CONTINUED – CAN YOU SPEAK TO HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU DO IS INSTINCT WITH THE TRACK COOLING DOWN AND YOU TAKE IT IN THE TURN DEEP?  “That’s the difference is I don’t trust myself at all, so that’s the problem when I sail it down in there (joking).  You sit there and you watch all the lap times and in practice you think you’re going as fast as you can and you’re looking at everybody run and they’re running six or seven-tenths quicker than they run in practice, so it’s tough.  You’ve got to go down there and hope it sticks.  I think last year I ran a .20 in Showdown qualifying, so at that point I kind of knew what that was supposed to feel like and what I had to run.  It’s fun going out there and knowing if you hit it right, you have a chance to be on the pole.  I spent a couple years knowing that I didn’t have a chance to be on the pole, so it’s a lot more fun like this.”   

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – HOW STRANGE IS IT TO HAVE THE UP AND DOWN SWINGS YOU’VE HAD THE LAST FEW YEARS?  “I don’t know exactly what you’re asking, but I agree with you, it is kind of weird.  I don’t like it.  I like this part.  I don’t like the 72 races without winning, but it is kind of interesting because myself, along with you guys and everybody else, you look for reasons for that and it’s tough to find them.  It’s like I got married and then everybody said, ‘He hasn’t won a race because he got married.’  Now I’m running really well and they go, ‘He’s running so well because he got married.’  So it’s hard to determine what is a factor in that, and I think that’s something we’ve been talking a lot about at Roush Fenway – understanding why we’ve turned this around, understanding what is better so we can keep doing that.  For a driver, all you can do is just keep doing the best you can and hope that it works out.”  

ALLMENDINGER INTERJECTS:  “I think it’s just you keep popping out kids, so you’ve got more mouths to feed, so you’ve got to go out there and win.”  

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – IS IT A CASE WHERE YOU’RE AT THE MERCY OF THE CAR?  “I think so.  I think AJ might agree that there are a lot of the tracks that because of how close the competition is, the aero dependency of the cars, NASCAR’s rules, which have done a good job of keeping everybody close – if your car is just a little bit off, there’s not much you can do sometimes.  You can’t just try harder and make the thing go faster, so you really do rely on the team as much as I’ve ever seen it.  I’ve only been doing this for seven years now, but it seems that the car is more important now than ever.”   

HOW MUCH GRIEF DID YOU GET FOR WRECKING THAT CAR?  “I’m sure it will never cease.  As long as there are people like AJ around you’re gonna be frustrated.”  

AJ INTERJECTS:  “I’ve got nothing else to talk about.  I didn’t even make the All-Star Race, so I’ve got to give him crap about something.  He wins every race now, so.”  

EDWARDS CONTINUES:  “That was pretty stupid, but I guess in my defense I had no clue that would happen.  I just thought it would be a nice slide, but there’s not been a lot of grief.  I think the win kept Jack from getting too upset, so that’s good.  I noticed there were a lot of people at our autograph session today had parts of a car, and I think they paid a lot of money for them, so I don’t know that it was a total loss there for Jack.  I think it might have worked out.  I actually had to buy one of the parts back because I really wanted it, and they were nice enough to sell it back to me.”  

ALLMENDINGER CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUNDAY?  “I look at it as we’re still building a race team here.  We show up every race weekend with a plan to try and win.  If we didn’t do that, we shouldn’t be here, but sometimes I look at it as maybe I’m a pessimist or I look at it as a realist.  These haven’t been our best race tracks, but we’re gonna keep working on it.  Fortunately enough, Carl keeps winning most of them so we’ve got good notes to work off of.  I’d love to go out there and win the 600, but, for me, if we go out there and run inside the top 10 all day and have a solid top-10 finish, for us, that’s a big step in the right direction.  I know that our race team has the capability to go there and be a chase-contending team.  Dover hurt us a lot.  That was a great race track for us and with what happened there hurt us in points, but we have the capability of doing it, we’ve still got to be better.  If we can have a great run here at Charlotte and build momentum and go to Kansas and have another great run, then everything is gonna be good.  I know where our race team is and I know where we need to get better at.”   

ALLMENDINGER CONTINUED — CAN YOU TALK ABOUT KANSAS NEXT WEEK AND REPRESENTING THE 43?  “It’s cool.  Being at the shop today during the fan day and seeing the car up close and personal, you’re definitely not gonna miss it on the race track.  It’s really cool looking.   It looks exactly like the King’s car used to look.  I feel fortunate everyday to wake up and, A, just be in the Sprint Cup Series.  I worked so hard to try to stay in it and now to be in such a famous race car and to one weekend represent the Air Force on Memorial Day Weekend and have them put their faith in me, and then the next week to have STP come back and be on the race car and, more importantly, for the old school fans of Richard Petty to see that car on the race track – last year when we did the throwback when the King was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, you see the fans get real excited about it.  I just love being a part of this and being able to go out there and represent the King and everybody at the team the best way possible.  Every weekend I feel fortunate.”

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


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