FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES
LENOX Tools 301 (Friday Advance)
July 15, 2011
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
FORD FAST FACTS (NEW HAMPSHIRE)
• There are 12 Fords participating in the LENOX Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
• As a manufacturer, Ford has taken the checkered flag 11 times in Cup races at NHMS.
• Sunday’s race marks the debut of crew chief Matt Puccia for the No. 16 3M team of Greg Biffle.
• Greg Biffle is the only active Ford driver to have claimed victory at NHMS with his 2008 fall race win.
• Biffle’s victory was the seventh at New Hampshire for team owner Jack Roush. Roush ranks second among owners in wins at NHMS with seven, one behind Rick Hendrick.
• Edwards and Matt Kenseth are in the top-five in the latest Sprint Cup points standings while David Ragan has positioned himself in second place in the race for one of the two wild card spots heading into Sunday’s race.
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion is still in position for one of two wild card spots into the Chase with just eight races remaining until NASCAR’s second season. Ragan spent time with media members prior to practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Friday morning.
DAVID RAGAN, No. 6 UPS Ford – BEFORE WE GET STARTED ON NEW HAMPSHIRE, I UNDERSTAND YOU HAD A BIG WIN TUESDAY NIGHT. “Yeah, I raced my legends car at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday. They have a big race coming up the first week of August. It is always fun to get out there and race. I do it three or four times a year. It is pretty cheap, it is inexpensive to go out there and have some fun and enjoy ourselves. Maybe that was a good omen for things to come this weekend.”
TALK ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. YOU HAVE MADE A LOT OF HEADLINES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON? “I think we have had a good couple of weeks. We have made up a lot of points to that top-10. Getting the win was big. Following up with a top-10 and leading some laps at Kentucky was a Chase caliber run for our team. I think that wins are very important for us still and that is what we come to the race track to do every weekend. Top-10’s, top-fives and leading laps are what will get us to the top-10 in points. I think everyone is talking about that wild card but our goal is getting into the top-10. I foresee there is going to be a lot of action from probably fifth to 15th in points, there are going to be a lot of guys moving up and down.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PRESSURE? PRESSURE TO WIN, PRESSURE TO REGAIN YOUR SPONSOR, PRESSURE TO SAY IN A RIDE? “Oh sure, I think I have said it a lot, I have had pressure from day one being a young guy at Roush Fenway. Not having a lot of experience coming in and having a good year my rookie year and better year my sophomore year and then really struggling the last two. Coming into this season we knew we would have a lot of pressure. We have run well and we got the win and have put ourselves in a position to make the Chase. I think that brings more pressure just because now we are so close we need to capitalize on the progress we have made. Being right outside of the top-10, with the win, it is like, ‘Hey, we gotta do something with it.’ We can’t turn back now. There has always been a lot of pressure at this Sprint Cup Series level, but that is what we thrive on. It affects us in a good way.”
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE NEXT FIRST TIME WINNER? “Watkins Glen is just around the corner and that is Marcos Ambrose’s best track on the circuit in my opinion. I think he will be really strong there. If you look at this weekend, our Ford teammate AJ Allmendinger is really good on the short track. Either one of those two guys could win one at any moment. I know it has been a year or two since Logano has won and he feels the pressure to win. He has been running great lately too. I think there are three or four guys and they all happen to be right around us in points that could possible get that win. We are not safe until that checkered flag falls at Richmond.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT WIN YOU HAD SOLIDIFIED YOUR STANDING WITH UPS AND ROUSH? “I think a lot of it depends on what UPS does in coming back. I am really happy at Roush and I think the Ford’s are running great and Jack is happy with the performance of the 6 team even compared to his other teams. A lot of it is the negotiations between Roush and UPS and working out the small details. I am encouraged by some of the recent conversations we have had and things look to be on the good side but like I have said, you can’t stop with what you have done. You have to keep going and that is what is important. I still think we are four to six weeks out from really having some announcements and look forward to some good runs in between then.”
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Affliction Clothing Ford Fusion, brings 11 top-10 and five top-five finishes in 22 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway into Sunday’s LENOX Tools 301. Kenseth, who currently stands sixth in the Cup point standings addressed media members prior to Friday’s first practice session.
MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Affliction Clothing Ford – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COMING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE? “I guess just that it is the next race. In the past, this has been one of our best tracks so I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to getting on the track and seeing if we have our stuff better for here.”
KYLE IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE MARK FOR WINS AT 100. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT MILESTONE? “Whatever Kyle drives he has always been a threat to win from the first time he got into these cars. It doesn’t really surprise me. Whenever you turn the TV on or if you are in a race against him or whatever then you know he will be one of the guys to beat.”