Ford Talladega Cup Qualifying


4th Trevor Bayne 8th David Ragan 9th Carl Edwards 11th Matt Kenseth 17th Travis Kvapil 18th Greg Biffle 19th Marcos Ambrose 24th AJ Allmendinger 28th JJ Yeley 32nd Terry Labonte 33rd Andy Lally 42nd David Gilliland DNQ TJ Bell DNQ Scott Speed DNQ Josh Wise

David Gilliland, No. 34 World Hunger Relief Ford (Qualified 42nd) “It doesn’t mean much for tomorrow. I think we have the best average finish on restrictor plate races this year and probably one of the worst qualifying starts, if you average it I am sure we probably would. These races it doesn’t really matter where you start. We do a lot of stuff for our car, drivability wise, to make it drive better which makes you a better pusher which makes more people want to work with you. Right now, Travis’ car is really fast and has good speed and that is who we will be working with tomorrow. I am looking forward to it and feel like we can keep our string of good finishes on restrictor plate tracks going. I am excited to have World Hunger Relief on our car and hopefully we can do a good job for them.”
American Muscle

TONY STEWART SAID THAT YOU GUYS AREN’T GOING TO BE ABLE TO HOOK UP LIKE YOU HAVE IN THE PAST. “Yeah, we aren’t. It is such a tight points battle right now and we are going to try to help the Ford guys out all we can. We are going to go that route. Our teammate Travis made the race and in the past he has had to do stuff to ensure he made the race and had to go behind the wall sometimes and change the oil and stuff like that. This time he is not doing anything like that so we can make a plan to work together and stick together. We are One Ford. That is the goal for this weekend. I feel good about it. Tony was great to work with those last couple of races and you never know what will happen. If you get down to the end and he is out of a partner and something happens to Travis, we are 100-percent comfortable working together, with each other. You never know what can happen on into the race. As far as our initial plan, it is to work with Ford.”

SO WILL YOU HELP IF CARL OR SOMEONE LIKE THAT NEEDS IT. WILL YOU HELP THE CHASE GUYS? “Yeah. I worked with Carl at Daytona and we worked really well together. He was really comfortable with us working together. We have kinda built a rapport with those guys. So much can change throughout this race as you guys know. When it gets down to the end, we are going to leave our options open.”

SO YOU CAN HELP SOMEBODY IN THE COURSE OF A RACE. YOU AREN’T BANNED FROM WORKING WITH ANYONE? “No, we aren’t banned. When you lay out your initial plans you have to think of the big picture and Ford does a lot for us and we would really like to see a Ford win this championship.”

DID THAT DIRECTIVE COME FROM FORD RACING? “You know, obviously they would like to see that. We are here to help them just like they help us if we can.”

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Ford (Qualified 11th) “It drove good. I hope it drives good going that slow. Qualifying is pretty uneventful here for the driver. It seemed like our speed was reasonable and that should probably get us 15th or so hopefully.”

David Ragan, No. 6 UPS My Choice Ford (Qualified 8th) “Our UPS Ford has some speed. Drew and the guys, this is all about them on qualifying days at Daytona and Talladega. Our job is to try not to go out and make a mistake. Our car was fast and drives real nice. The engine shop has been doing a good job, it has good power. I think we have a fast car and it will be in the top-10 for sure and have a good starting spot for Sunday.”

FOR THIS RACE THERE IS A RESTRICTOR PLATE CHANGE AND THE VENT FOR COOLING. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOUR RUN HERE? “Zero. No affect. We will be able to push all day long and run like we have all year at these restrictor plate tracks.”

YOU HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL AT THE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES THIS YEAR. WHY SHOULDN’T I BET THE FARM ON YOU FOR SUNDAY? “Because there are 42 other cars and the B factors come into effect. Anything can happen but we will have as good a shot to win as anyone this weekend. I guarantee we will lead some laps and we are going to be fast. We are going to have some fun but crazy things do happen. Mechanical problems do bite you sometimes but we will be fine. We’ve got good race cars, good teammates, good engines and it is a lot of fun here being at Talladega.”

AJ Allmendinger, No. 43 Best Buy Ford (Qualified 24th) “That was pretty much all skill by me right there. Actually no, we didn’t qualify very fast so that was all the car then. It was pretty stable. We got on the back straightaway there and there are a couple people partying pretty hard so that was pretty good. I was pretty impressed. I think they were left over from last night. I heard them last night as well. Other than that it was Talladega qualifying. The Best Buy Ford should start mid pack to start with and end up front. That’s the plan.”

WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THIS TO YOU? “Yesterday it seemed like all the stuff they did to make us not be able to push as long still didn’t help. NASCAR will figure out how to do something but the teams are so smart now that they figure out a way to still make it better. I think it is honestly how long you can run in a tandem group and whether we will do that all race or all pack up for awhile and then get with our partners and try to race at the end. We will see.”

WOULD THERE EVER BE A SCENARIO WHERE A MANUFACTURER WOULD SAY YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO PUSH ANOTHER MANUFACTURER? “I haven’t been told that yet. Maybe I will be told that after this now. Maybe they forgot to get to me. I could easily see that though. The biggest thing is that first off, I want to win the race for myself, Best Buy and Richard Petty Motorsports. Secondly we want to get one of these Fords to win the championship and Matt and Carl are right there for it. Anything we can do to help them is what is always going to be our focus.”

Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Stanley Ford (Qualified 19th) “Me and Todd Parrott have been through a lot together. I have a lot to thank him for. He has been a great crew chief for me and we get on well. We’ve had a really good month with three top-10s in row and that run will put us somewhere around 15th here. We are close to AJ, our teammate, so we should be able to find each other pretty quick on Sunday and get to the front.”

YOU HAVE ‘NO BRAKES’ WRITTEN ON YOUR HAND, WHAT’S THAT ABOUT? “That is just a cue for me when I jump in the car I always tend to test the brake pedal and here that will push the pads back. I didn’t want to be that guy that pumped the pedal and forget about it. It is just my mental cue before I put my gloves on to make sure I don’t touch the brake. This stuff here is unique. The car has all this stuff in it to make it run fast and produce drag.”

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST THOUGHT ABOUT THE WEEKEND’S RACE? WHAT IS STILL ON YOUR MIND? “I just want to get to the finish. It is one of these deals here where I have had trouble finishing lately being caught up in weird accidents. Our goal here is to be in contention coming to the checkered flag and hopefully put ourselves in good position.”

DO YOU SEE A SCENARIO WHERE YOU WOULD PUSH A CHEVY? “If it is Kevin Harvick then there is no chance. We are trying to help as best we can our Ford drivers win the championship. Carl and Matt Kenseth have had a great year so far and I don’t want to get in the way of the championship and don’t want to change the outcome, I don’t want to be in the way. I think pushing a Chase contender in a Chevrolet would probably not be the best thing for your career if you have blue blood, and that I certainly have.”

SO YOU PAIR UP BASED ON WHERE THEY ARE IN THE CHASE AND WHAT MANUFACTURER IS ON THE CAR? “In the end you want to have a dance partner already set. If you can’t find your teammate or person you want to work with then it will be a scramble and you have to do what you have to do to get your car as high as you can. I don’t think that if there are 43 cars out there that I will be looking for anyone but a Ford driver to get me to the line.”

Carl Edwards, No. 99 Subway Ford (Qualified 9th) “You know, it is Anytober and we are promoting Subway. They will sell any regular foot long sub for five dollars. Here comes the other six inches of my foot long sub, the 16 of Greg Biffle. He is 17th? Okay, we will be probably eighth or ninth and Greg will start back there and that will make it easy for us to meet up and work together. I was just talking to Mark (Martin) and the driver can’t do much on these laps. You have to just not make a mistake and get through the gears correctly. Our car was pretty good and the great thing is that working with Greg I felt like we could pass anybody yesterday. This is going to be a fun race.”

Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M/O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Ford (Qualified 18th) “It was a pretty uneventful lap, always is qualifying here at Talladega. We got a pretty good gust of wind down the backstretch and I could feel it slow the car down. The wind is starting to pick up a little bit and I think it hurt us a little bit. Carl and I, we have a marriage made in heaven and we are going to work together in the race. The 21 car was really fast in practice, so we will see if he can knock Mark off the pole. We will have to wait and see. We didn’t qualify quite where we wanted. I think we lost a tenth with that gust of wind and Carl’s car and my car really match up on speed pretty well.”

Trevor Bayne, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford (Qualified 4th) “I think that shows how much work the 21 guys put into these cars and they do a great job at the superspeedways and the work shows up here. It is all about speed and our car has it. I think it is a solid run for our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford. Hopefully we can keep it up there all day. Qualifying doesn’t really matter once the green flag drops with all the drafting that is going on. You will move around from the back to the front and back again. We will hang out and see who we hook up with.”

Andy Lally, No. 71 TRG Motorsports Ford (Qualified 33rd) “It means a whole lot to the manufacturers and we have a good strong motor here. This Ford is pulling real well. We are a small team and this is a real good effort by these guys. There is no wind tunnel time on this car. We are relying on the Roush Yates Ford power under that hood and some little tricks these guys learn along the way. They have been learning a lot and we have been working behind the scenes as hard as we can. I am proud of them. They have done a good job.”

DO YOU HAVE A PARTNER STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW? “I got to work with Terry Labonte at Daytona and had a blast. To get to work with a veteran like that, you just want to keep coming back and doing it some more. If he will have me I will certainly be willing to push him all day tomorrow. We have a couple other guys we are talking to in case things get shuffled around but Terry is good people and a champion and it would be very cool to get to do that with him again.”

Travis Kvapil, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford (Qualified 17th) “It was a good run. It is hard to really do anything as a driver here. It is all on the team and Front Row Motorsports did a good job. This is a different car than we have had for speedway races. We wrecked our Daytona car earlier in the year and we brought this one here. I have to give a big thank you to Ford and Doug Yates for the great horsepower. The guys at the shop pay attention to all the details and so far, so good. Surely it won’t hold up for a pole but we are solidly in the show and that was objective number one for us.”

DO YOU HAVE A PARTNER FOR TOMORROW? “I think so. It all can go out the window but myself and David Gilliland are planning to work together and be there for each other all day long. We are looking for a good solid day tomorrow because that can go a long way for our fight to get back into the top-35. We want to keep chipping away at it. That is the plan.”

JJ Yeley, No. 55 Front Row Motorsports Ford (Qualified 28th) “It was good. The most important thing is that we are locked in now. The biggest disappointment was that we were in full qualifying trim and had really good speed yesterday. We thought we would pick up a couple tenths today. The first lap wasn’t bad but we didn’t pick up those extra tenths on the second lap. I’m not exactly sure why but again at the end of the day the goal has been achieved and we are in the race.”

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW? “I think you almost have to shoot from the hip. You can sit there and plan but as soon as the green flag drops there are 40 other guys out there to disturb your plan. It is tough because there are 43 cars starting this race so there will be one guy left out, as long as you aren’t that guy you will be okay.”

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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