Roush Fenway Racing Ford Drivers Looking Forward to Bristol
FORD BRISTOL FAST FACTS:
· Ford Racing comes into this weekend off back-to-back victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by Marcos Ambrose (Watkins Glen) and Greg Biffle (Michigan). The last time Ford won three straight NSCS races came at the end of 2010 and start of 2011. That’s when Carl Edwards won back-to-back races at Phoenix and Homestead to close out the 2010 season and Trevor Bayne won the 2011 season-opening Daytona 500. The last time Ford won three NSCS races in a row in the same season was June 2005 (Greg Biffle on 6/5 at Dover; Carl Edwards on 6/12 at Pocono; and Greg Biffle on 6/19 at Michigan).
· Ford Racing has won 610 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and of the active tracks currently on the schedule, Bristol Motor Speedway ranks as the manufacturer’s most successful track with 33 victories.
· The Ford driver with the most NSCS wins at Bristol is Rusty Wallace, who won five times with the Blue Oval from 1994-2000.
Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 60 “We Back Pat” Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, is honoring former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt this weekend with a special paint scheme. Bayne, a Knoxville native, spoke to members of the media this morning in the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center about racing in his home state.
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 60 “We Back Pat” Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL COMING BACK TO BRISTOL? “I’m really excited to be back at Bristol. It’s our home track and there’s no better color to run here than Tennessee orange, so it’s a perfect fit with Pat Summitt being on the car and really just raising awareness for her and Alzheimer’s with the situation she has going on, but I feel honored that I get to represent Pat Summitt. Hopefully, I can do as good as she’s done representing the Vols for, I don’t even know how many years, 30-40 years she’s been doing it, so it’s pretty special. But the last time we were here at Bristol we had a really fast race car. We qualified second and led the race for a long time. We had some pit strategy that didn’t work out for us at the end and we ended up finishing eighth, so I think we can definitely improve on that. I’m looking to go out there and try to get our first Nationwide win of the year. This potentially could be our last Nationwide race of the season. I’m not sure about that. I’ve been trying to talk Jack into a lot more at the end of this season since he’s wanting to run the full-time series next year for a championship with me in the car. I’d like to get my feet wet at the end of the season and get some momentum going. I think that would be a good thing to do, just to get a feel for the Nationwide cars again because they are a little different than the Cup cars, but I’m excited to get that roll started back here at Bristol. It’s kind of weird being parked on this end of pit road. I haven’t done that since my first Nationwide race in the Taco Bell car. Normally we’re down there with the other guys, but it’ll still be good and we’ve hopefully got a fast race car.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN YOUR TEAM SHUT DOWN AFTER THE THIRD RACE HERE AT BRISTOL? YOU WERE AROUND THIRD IN POINTS AT THAT TIME AND IS NEXT YEAR ALL LOCKED UP? “Yeah, from what I hear Jack is gonna run the car full-time, just like he planned on doing with Ricky this season. They didn’t necessarily have sponsorship at first, but they planned on running it and anything that came in went to that car and, I think, that’s probably what’s gonna happen next year with Jack. They’ve told me that and it sounds like it’s in concrete, but I’m sure things can still change before the season starts, but, as of now, we’re gonna run full-time Nationwide next year.
TREVOR BAYNE CONTNUED – “It is a little disheartening when you’re third in points and you think you’ve got a run for a championship going even though it was a thrown-together deal. We still had a limited amount of people and hardly any cars in the shop. The car that we got ready for this race we got ready in a week. We took a Carl Edwards car from last year, stripped it down and got it back together in one week literally, so we’ve had a little bit more of a head start this time and I think that will help us here. We would have loved to run a full season this year. I still have never done that. Even though it seems like I’ve been around for so long in the Nationwide Series – three years now – I still never ran that one full season all the way through with one team and one group of guys and that’s what I’m looking forward to next year. At first when they said that I was a little bit bummed out because I wanted them to come to me and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna run you full-time in a Cup car with the fourth team,’ and that didn’t happen. But when I did find out I was running Nationwide and I thought about it, I thought that’s probably a good decision to go out there and get that first full season under our belt in that series and work on running for points because I’ve done that a limited amount. I haven’t got to go points racing and I think it would be good to get that under our belt before we go to that Cup level when it’s gonna be even tougher to do that and get that experience.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR ROLE DAY-TO-DAY WITH THE TEAM TO TRY AND FIND FUNDING AND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR REACTION TO RICKY GETTING THE 17 RIDE FOR NEXT YEAR? “That’s the hard balance to find because I am excited for him. I think it’s great and I think he deserves it because he’s run really well in Nationwide. The hard part is I feel like we both deserve it a little bit, and there is a fourth team there so that’s a good option that we have. It’s not like they chose him over me or anything like that. It’s a case where he’s ready to move to Cup. I haven’t run a full Nationwide deal yet, but with that being said, I’m happy for Ricky. I think it’s gonna be a great opportunity for him to step into that 17 team that is already running, a team that’s really strong, but, at the same time, I can’t wait to get my opportunity in Cup. I think we could run competitively there every weekend. We do that even with the Wood Brothers car part-time. We go to Michigan and qualified sixth and ran in the top 10 and we’ve had a couple top-10s already this season, so doing that on a part-time schedule, I think those runs would turn into top fives if we were running full-time. If you can run like that, then you’re a contender to get yourself into the Chase and run well in the Cup Series and make a name for yourself. But I’ve just got to be patient in the meantime for that. Next season is gonna be a great deal for Jack. He’s gonna put everything he’s got behind me, including sponsorship. This season, we knew that pretty much anything that came in would have to go to Ricky’s car until it was funded because they were locked in to running him and I was locked in to the Wood Brothers car. So next year it will be exciting to see what partners we can come up with and I’ve still been beating on every door that I know of – everybody from Knoxville to Charlotte all the way across the coast to California, and those guys are doing the same thing. They’re really working on our sales team at Roush. They’ve just added one new person to come in and head things up a little bit. This season, we have added more sponsors than we have in the past on the Nationwide side with NOS and those guys and also on the Cup side with Fifth Third Bank and Best Buy. I think they’re really starting to grow a little bit more productively than they have before.”
TREVOR BAYNE CONTINUED -- WHEN YOU LOBBIED JACK FOR MORE RACES HOW EFFECTIVE WAS THAT? “I think it does. Jack is the most influential one in the company and if you get him convinced that that’s what you need to do, then it could happen, but I haven’t really tried it yet so I don’t know how it’s gonna go. At the beginning of the season we talked to him about running full-time and hopefully we’d get sponsorship and he ended up doing that for the first five races in hopes that we would get sponsorship, so that wasn’t me trying to convince him, that just made more sense and I think Jack understands that. I think he understands that running more races at the end of this season is gonna better prepare us for a championship next year. The same thing with Ricky running a couple more Cup races just to prepare him for that 17 car. Jack, as a racer, understands that seat time is necessary, so if he can possibly do it, I think if he can make ends meet at all and do that, I think he will just because he gets that.”
YOU’RE STILL PLANNING ON DOING THE WOOD BROTHERS NEXT YEAR? “Yeah. I talked to Eddie and Len last weekend and they said that they told Jack, ‘Hey, if everything is good, we would love to have Trevor back in our car.’ We’ve built such a brand there and had such a good time running together and if I’m not gonna be in a full-time Roush car, then the next-best thing is running for the Wood Brothers.”
YOU WOULD NEVER GIVE BACK YOUR DAYTONA VICTORY BUT DID WINNING THAT RACE SET UP AN UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR OR THE FANS? “Maybe for the fans more than anybody in the sport. I think everybody in this sport understands how hard it is, especially for a part-time time. I think when we did that nobody expected us to go back and win the next race at Phoenix. If they did, I don’t know what to tell them. I didn’t even expect that. I knew that we could go out there and run top 10 and be competitive, but I do understand that if you’re not running every weekend to go out for wins – even in the Nationwide Series it’s tough to run part-time and run well. But the fans, your borderline fan that just turned on the TV and saw me win the Daytona 500 and figured they’d watch me the next week probably thinks it’s like golf and once you’re on the scene you’re in and you can go win every tournament, but with racing it’s definitely different. That might have hurt us a little bit, but I wouldn’t trade the win for anything. I know it’s in God’s timing anyway, so He was setting me up for something there and putting all the pieces together, so I’m just waiting on the puzzle to make a little bit of sense for me.”
WITH PENSKE MOVING TO FORD NEXT YEAR IS THAT AN OPTION FOR YOU? “If Jack says it is. If Roger went to Jack and talked to him, then it could be a possibility or something but for me it’s not. It would strictly have to come from Jack and he would have to say something. Being under contract there is no way I would go talk to another team or do anything like that at this point. Ford has done a great job of building up their company and they’re doing that in racing too with Ford Racing adding teams and making it more competitive. The more teams the better, but I don’t know if that changes opportunities for me or not. If Jack talked to him, I haven’t ever heard of it, so I just kind of have to wait and see.”
TREVOR BAYNE CONTINUED -- WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE TRACK CHANGES HERE? “I’ll let you know here in a little bit when I get on it, but from the looks of it I don’t think it’s gonna be that much different. I think as you get into the Cup cars the track starts taking on rubber and I think it’s gonna eliminate a little bit of that groove at the top, which they use to keep the cars wound up so when they lost forward drive they could get up there and really get some bite, but I don’t know if that’s gonna be there or not because it’s so tight coming off of four anyways, and then if you take a little bit of that groove away, we’re gonna be coming up on that wall pretty quick. So I don’t know if it’s gonna change it that much. I think it was just enough that the fans were gonna think there’s gonna be a big difference in the race and they’d come show up, but for us as drivers – in Nationwide especially – I don’t think it’s gonna change the track that much for us.”
WHAT OTHER CUP RACES DO YOU HAVE THIS YEAR? “I have six Cup races left. We go to Atlanta after this and then Chicago, Charlotte, Talladega, Texas and Homestead – not that I’m counting or looking forward to them.”
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Valvoline NextGen Ford Fusion, is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings to Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle. Kenseth, who is 20 points out of the top spot, met with reporters before Friday’s first practice session.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Valvoline NextGen Ford Fusion – YOU’D LIKE TO GET ANOTHER WIN OR TWO BEFORE THE CHASE STARTS, RIGHT? “Yeah, I’d kind of just like to get things rolling more like we were during the early and middle part of the season. The last three out of four weeks have been pretty much disasters in my book, so I’m pretty surprised and excited that we’re still second in points after everything that has gone on these last four weeks. I’m glad to be here at Bristol. We had a great run in the spring and hopefully we can have a good one here tomorrow.”
WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF HOW THE RACING IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT WITH THE TRACK CHANGE? “I haven’t been on the track yet and I didn’t really get to watch all the Truck race, so, at this point, I really don’t have any idea. Whatever I told you would be totally fabricated because I just don’t know yet.”
THE REAR SUSPENSIONS AND WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING HAS BEEN A BIG TOPIC THIS WEEK. GREG AND JACK BOTH TALKED ABOUT IT AFTER THE WIN LAST WEEK AND SAID YOU GUYS WERE WORKING ON THAT AREA AND HAVING SOME SUCCESS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT IT? HAS IT CHANGED THE WAY THE CARS DRIVE? “I guess that explains why our engineering department was so mad Monday when I talked to them. I didn’t realize we were talking about all that, but I don’t really talk about any of the technical stuff with the car just because if there was any kind of advantage we were working on or trying to gain or get better than somebody that would certainly give it all away as soon as it’s in the media, so I don’t really get into that. We’re always working on our car within the rules as hard as we can – everything we can do from front to back to try to make it faster.”
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE THAT WHERE THEY’RE WORKING IS STAYING WITHIN THE RULES? “I think these days you can’t afford to have something illegal. You can see how huge the penalties are when you do, so I think we’re always trying to work within those rules and work within the framework of NASCAR’s rules to get your car to go as fast as possible without crossing the line.”
DO YOU LOOK AT THIS AS A CRITICAL WEEKEND FOR THIS TRACK WITH THE CHANGES THEY MADE? “I don’t know. I think things snowball and a lot of it is maybe what a few peoples’ opinions are. Obviously, these days with social media and everybody on the internet and reading the stories, I think that has more to do with it than anything. I think if you didn’t listen to the guy sitting next to you in the seat, I mean, I think everybody has got different opinions. I thought the race in the spring was pretty entertaining. Everybody talks about the old Bristol and people knocking each other out of the way and fighting and all that stuff. Well, we raced these cars at Bristol before they reconfigured it and there was hardly any passing. There wasn’t any of that stuff. It was different. Things change over time and I thought the race in the spring was pretty good. Brad won the race. We came out with the lead, I think. After that last stop we ran side-by-side for 10 or 15 laps and rubbed on each other for a little bit and he ended up getting the lead and getting the win. I thought that was great, but everybody is gonna want something different. We tried to narrow the track up and take grooves away to take passing away, so I’m a little confused on the whole concept to start with. We’ll see how the racing is, but I think the racing is always exciting here.
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED – “It’s a really cool facility and venue no matter what the track is like in the middle of it, honestly – with the night race here and putting all those people in there. The racing is always close and there’s always a lot of action, so I didn’t really answer your question, but I think all of the races are pretty good here. I haven’t really seen a real bad one here. I think the racing is always entertaining.”
HOW DOES THIS TRACK COMPARE TO RICHMOND? “It’s totally different. I’ve always really liked Richmond a lot. I’ve always really liked Bristol a lot, but they’re totally different race tracks. Lately, we’ve run really bad at Richmond. It’s always been one of my favorite tracks, but we’ve run really bad there and we haven’t run as bad here. Usually how you run is how you rate the race tracks in terms of how much you like or dislike going to them, but I think they’re both really great tracks and facilities and great events coming up right before the Chase being Saturday night races, so I really like them both.”
WHAT MAKES A DRIVER GET AROUND THIS TRACK REALLY WELL AND DID THAT CHANGE AT ALL WITH THE RECONFIGURATION? “It’s definitely changed a lot. The car has changed a lot and the reconfiguring of the track has made it a totally different track than what it was before they did it. It was real old and had a lot of patches. The apron was a little less banking than the track, so you could use the apron to turn, which you can’t do any of that now, so the track is totally different since they reconfigured it, honestly. That made it drive like a bigger track almost, so things change for a driving style from changing the race track, from changing the cars – all of that stuff has changed a little bit. First and foremost, having a fast car helps your driving style a lot when you come here, so getting your car to turn better than everybody else’s and still being able to get off the corner where you can pass is really the key because people are gonna be running as high as they can possibly run and it’s hard to finish that pass on the bottom.”
HOW DOES RACING AGAINST A TEAMMATE DIFFER AS OPPOSED TO EVERYONE ELSE IN TERMS OF GIVING ROOM AND BEING KIND? “For me, I race them the same. I still race Mark Martin and Jeff Burton the same as I did when they were on our team, so I don’t think that really changes. I mean, you never want to put your teammate in a bad spot, but I don’t know that you ever want to put anybody in a bad spot that you want to race against all the time. You’re gonna go race hard against them and you want to beat them, but I don’t think you really plan your strategy much different – Talladega and Daytona aside because that’s a little bit different when you’re trying to work together and draft – but I think at the rest of the tracks, once they drop the green on the race, it’s still one against 42, except for the two drafting tracks.”
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, held back-to-back press conferences in the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center after today’s second practice session. Edwards is 12th in the point standings and looking for a much-needed win to join the wild card race while Biffle leads the point standings after winning last week at Michigan.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – WE KNOW YOU WANT TO GET AT LEAST ONE WIN TO GET IN THE WILD CARD CHASE. WHAT ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK THIS WEEKEND? “It’s not a ‘wants to,’ we’re gonna get it. We struggled a little bit through practice here. We feel like we’ve been on both sides of the fence with the car – tight and loose – and we’re hoping we get it right for qualifying. I feel pretty good about the race car in race trim, and I like racing here, so hopefully this will be a good race for us. We are just going for the win, trying to put ourselves in a position. Last week, we had an opportunity with that last restart and Jimmy having his trouble, so we’ve been running well enough to be up there. If we can be up in the top three or four each week, I think we’ll be able to get that win. We just have to keep running well.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TRACK? “I didn’t run the top groove and, from what I could tell, where they changed the race track, I didn’t run there yet today so it feels like the same race track to me. I talked to my spotter, Jason (Hedlesky), a little bit about the truck race and he said people were working up towards it, but I guess it did narrow up the track a little bit because not a lot of guys were running up there. I don’t want to be the first guy to go up there if there’s no grip, so I didn’t pay any attention to that part of the race track. I just focused on the bottom and the middle groove. I don’t really run that high in practice anyway, but during the race if you’re kind of all by yourself and the pace has slowed down, that’s when I start working up there.”
HOW HAVE THINGS GONE WITH CHAD NORRIS SO FAR? “Chad and I have been doing really well together. He has really put himself in a huge leadership position on the team. He does a great job of working really hard, speaking with everyone, using every part of the team that we have. It seems like he uses all of the resources very well. I talked to Bob a little bit this week. We talked about how he’s helping Chad and I think the whole thing is working very well. We’ve run very well. We’ve had great qualifying efforts, great races. Chad seems to be making really good calls up on the box. Jack has been helping us a lot, sitting up there on the box and putting a lot of effort into our team. I feel like we’ve got as good a situation as we could have for the position we’re in.”
CONSIDERING YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS, IS THERE ANY QUESTION THAT YOU WOULD USE THE BUMP-AND-RUN IF YOU HAD TO ON THE FINAL LAP TO WIN? “You never know what’s gonna happen until the race has played out. Definitely, I think Greg’s got enough wins. If he were in front of me on the last lap, I would go ahead and move him out of the way (Biffle sitting next to Carl at this point). You never really know. You could say that stuff and you can have a plan, but, really, it comes down to how the race is going. We’re in a position right now where our 99 Fastenal team, we have to get that win. I’d say I would probably hang out there a little more than normal to get that win.”
DO YOU HAVE TO BUMP-AND-RUN SOMEBODY? KYLE BUSCH SAID TODAY THE TRACK WAS TERRIBLE, SO IS THIS A BIG WEEK FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY? “I can’t really tell until we get out there and race. I haven’t raced on the track yet, so I just don’t know. ”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I was gonna comment on Kyle. He did also win the first COT race here and said the car was terrible or the car sucks.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “You just never know. I don’t have an opinion on the track yet. I know they’re working their hardest. I mean, heck, they changed the track because everybody wanted it to be two or three grooves and then they changed it back. I see Marcus (Smith) sitting back there and I know he’s paying attention to what I’m saying right now. I give them a lot of credit for doing the very best they can. This is one of the coolest race tracks in the world and I think they’ve done everything they can to make sure we have the best show that we can have and it will be an exciting race one way or another.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “Last week couldn’t have went any better than it did obviously, but this week we could ask for a little bit more. Our car is not really where we want it to be. When I go out and do race trim it seems like I end up about 16th on a fast lap. I’m a little better than that on the lap tracker, but just lacking a little bit of grip overall, so I think like Carl says, we don’t know until we get into this race. I’m pretty good up the race track and on the bottom, which I feel I’m better on the bottom than I have been in the past here, so that may pay dividends during the race. But I’m a little nervous about qualifying here. I’ve got to get a really good lap. Times are so tight and, of course, that’s gonna make a big difference so we’ll have to just wait and see.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO SEEMINGLY RUN WELL IN PRACTICE BUT NOT AS WELL IN THE RACE? “I could sit here and we could go through every race and how they went. I don’t know if you want to do that or not, but a lot of the races have been bad luck where we got caught up in wrecks or we had trouble at Indy, where I thought we had a pretty decent car. A lot of times it’s been bad luck. We haven’t run as well as we need to run, but that’s the only way I know how to be is an optimist. That’s the only reason I’m sitting here in this suit driving for Jack Roush is because you always have to go out and give it your best. You’ve got to do everything you can and at the end of the day if you don’t get the result you want, that’s very frustrating but I don’t look back I try to look forward and say, ‘How are we gonna get this pole? How are we gonna win this race?’ And next week we’ll do the same thing regardless of how this week went. But I feel like last year, as well as things went, as great as we did, a lot of things went our way and went really well. This year, if I went back and picked two or three races that we had terrible luck at if it would have gone the other way, we’d be solidly in the Chase right now and wouldn’t be worried about this. I still think we’ve got to run better. I think whether I make the Chase or not, our whole team, we’ve got to be better so one of us can win this championship, but it’s not much. We just have to be a couple percent better and we’ll be great.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – WILL YOU BE AS COMMITTED TO HELPING MATT WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP KNOWING HE IS NOT COMING BACK NEXT YEAR? “I think you have to be a person of integrity for Roush Fenway and how much we hate that Matt’s leaving and we hate to share all the information we share with him every week, the right thing to do and the contractual thing to do is share the information with him and help him the best we can, although both of us probably are gonna be racing him for that championship as well. At the same time, we’re gonna do all we can to win it ourselves. I think that’s how you have to handle it.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I think it’s interesting you asked that while Greg and I are sitting up here together because last year at Talladega Greg helped me a ton. He sacrificed his race for me and our team and I learned a lot about Greg and our team and how well we could work together. I think all of us are committed to get a championship for Ford and Roush Fenway. Even if we’re all three in the Chase if one of us has a better shot at the end, we will all share as much as we can with that person – whether it’s Matt or not – I think we’re all a team. I personally don’t think of Matt leaving yet. It doesn’t seem real. I know he is, but I still think of him as a teammate and I’ve talked to him about it one-on-one about how he feels and he said that he’s not paying attention to that new team he’s going to. He’s really focused here and when the season is over then he’ll go and work on that, and I believe him.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DO YOU AGREE WITH CARL THAT YOU WON’T KNOW ABOUT THE TRACK UNTI LTHE RACE AND DID YOU PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE TRUCK RACE OR TONIGHT’S NATIONWIDE RACE? “I think the Nationwide race will probably teach us more than the truck race will because the truck race were the first vehicles to put rubber down. Now Nationwide will have that opportunity to push that envelope a little bit and, like Carl said, I agree with him and I was just thinking about it in the truck, I didn’t really get up there against the wall or in that third groove. I never drove up there in practice anyway. I used that during the race when you had to or when you went up there and kind of searched around for grip. I wasn’t always the first one up there, so when it looked like it was working for other people, that’s when I’d explore. So that lane being gone will probably affect the outcome of the race or passing, so we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what it does.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- WHAT MAKES A GREAT BRISTOL DRIVER? “We won a couple night races in a row here and to me it seems like the track doesn’t change much over time and the same setups kind of work and when you figure something out with a driving style that works and a setup that works, you can use it race after race and not a lot of tracks are like that. The speeds are relatively low enough here that little changes in the body and aero things don’t make a big difference, so if somebody finds something, they can hang on to it a little longer.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED -- ARE YOU GUYS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW FICKLE THIS SPORT IS BECAUSE YOU GUYS HAVE FLOPPED POSITIONS FROM A YEAR AGO? “I’ve seen that so much. I haven’t been around as long as Mark Martin or those guys, but I tell you what, it’s amazing. You sit there and wonder what are we missing? We’re off a little bit or we’re not quite as competitive and then last year it was worse than ever for me because Matt was winning races and Carl was winning races and competing and we just couldn’t quite get there. I’m convinced a lot of it is the chemistry within the team and just attention to detail. A lot of it has to ride on the crew chief’s shoulders too, making sure he’s staying up with the small items that change throughout. Like last week at Michigan, I’ll be perfectly honest with you. On Friday, I was wanting to get my backup car out. I’m asking him, ‘What is the second car we have in the truck because I can’t drive this thing.’ They went back and looked at the notebook and the springs and we looked at what Matt was doing because Matt was pretty good and we came back and said, ‘Yeah, we don’t think this is what we need.’ We went back to the direction of what we raced in the last race and on Saturday it was perfect. So I would have run 25th last week, but, instead, we got it right overnight. It’s not that much between being competitive and just being off a tiny, tiny bit. This sport is so competitive. The amount is almost immeasurable between being able to win and running 12th.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- DOES IT STRIKE YOU AS ODD THAT PEOPLE FEEL BRISTOL NEEDS A LIFT? “I don’t know. I don’t think either one of us have the same perspective that you guys do or the fans do. I sit in that race car and think a lot of these races are pretty darn good races. I’m driving my guts out, but I think you look at what you’re saying a couple different ways. It could be a reflection of Bristol and the type of racing we’ve had here lately, or it could be a reflection of how great the racing has been at other places. I think the fans, for the first part of the season we talked a lot about how there weren’t any cautions, there weren’t any wrecks, things were starting to get a little bland and then all of a sudden it seems like things have been really exciting. It feels to me like we’ve had enough pretty straightforward races here at Bristol that some crazy stuff could happen. It just has that feeling. It feels like there’s a lot of people reaching for wins and trying to fight for the wild card position. There’s a lot of guys with nothing to lose and it’s still Bristol, it’s still a half-mile and you’re hauling the mail.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “I agree with what Carl said. In the beginning of the season we had all of those no cautions, no cautions, no cautions and I remember everybody was like, ‘OK, wait until next week, wait until next week. Now we’re at Bristol and for sure we’re gonna see something,’ and we didn’t and then everybody panicked. I think the expectation was there that something was gonna happen and now, like you said, we’re coming in here, we’ve had four pretty exciting races, so the expectation level shouldn’t really be out of the park because we’ve been sitting back having boring races, I guess is kind of where I see you maybe going with that a little bit. But I’m with Carl, I think it’s gonna be an exciting race. Lots of people don’t have anything on the line, like me, that want to win races and like Carl who is trying to get, and Brad is really fast again, so I think it’s gonna be exciting.”
Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Irwin Tools Night Race Qualifying (Bristol Motor Speedway)
Friday, August 24, 2012
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion –
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Glory Foods Ford Fusion –
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Taco Bell Ford Fusion –
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Valvoline NextGen Ford Fusion –
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion –
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Goody’s Ford Fusion –
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion –
CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion –