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Ford Media Center
Ford Qualifying Results:
1st – Joey Logano
8th – Aric Almirola
11th – Brad Keselowski
20th – Sam Hornish Jr.
25th – Greg Biffle
29th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
31st – Cole Whitt
32nd – Trevor Bayne
33rd – David Gilliland
34th – Brett Moffitt
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “It’s an amazing run we’re on right now. This Shell/Pennzoil team is unbelievable. I’m just the lucky guy that gets to drive this thing right now. It’s so much fun. We’re doing everything right, but all of that can end in a blink of an eye, so we just have to keep our focus. Starting first here, and really anywhere towards the front here at Martinsville pays off bigger than probably most race tracks. Having that great pit stall up front as well as staying up towards the front and keeping your fenders on it the whole race is important, so, like I said, I couldn’t be more proud of these guys right now.” HOW MUCH DID THAT PIT STALL IN THE SPRING RACE HELP YOU THROUGHOUT THE DAY? “You’ve got to think that first pit stall is worth a few spots throughout the day. It’s a lot easier to pass them on pit road than it is on the race track and I’ve got an amazing pit crew here lately. They’ve been doing it, so everything is clicking right now just right. Our cars are fast. Our team is good. Our pit crew is great. Like I said, it can all end in a blink of an eye, so we better enjoy it, but we also have to keep working hard.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – “Somebody decides to spin out right in the middle of a run while we’re going for it and ruins my tires for the rest of the session. I felt like we had a pole-winning car, but it is what it is.” YOU AT LEAST GOT INTO THE FINAL ROUND BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE YOU MIGHT NOT MAKE IT THAT FAR. “Yeah, the guys worked hard enough to get me in position to do that.”
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “That was a good day for us. This is the best Friday at Martinsville that we’ve ever had at RPM. I’m really pleased with the car that Trent and the boys on this 43 team brought. It drove really nice right off the truck. We didn’t make many changes and we swapped over to qualifying trim and it drove really nice in qualifying trim. We made really, really big improvements and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will run on the long run tomorrow in practice.”
JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE – HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT BUYING A LOTTERY TICKET? “No, I don’t believe in luck, I believe in hard work and that’s what this team is doing right now. It’s amazing when everyone rises to the occasion together. It’s amazing what you can do when you have a team that knows what they have to do and knows what the effort they need to put into it in the right ways. It’s amazing when things come together what you can do. It’s been a blast to drive this car. It’s been so fast. I thought today in race trim we were OK. I didn’t think we were bad by no means, but didn’t have the balance where we wanted it yet, and then we switched to qualifying trim and went straight to the top of the board. I felt like, ‘OK, we’ve got some speed here.’ We made some good adjustments throughout qualifying to maintain the speed we needed and tomorrow we’ll have to go to work and make sure our car is good on the long run.”
WHEN YOU HAVE A FAST CAR DO YOU WORRY MORE ABOUT SCREWING IT UP? “You try not to think that way because I don’t think that’s the best way to think, but it is in the back of your mind. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a fast car. We’ve got a really good shot. Let’s not screw it up.’ You think that, but really that’s not what makes you go fast. That’s not what has gotten you here is that you just do your job. My job is to drive the car and I just do the best of my capabilities at that, and the same thing if you’re the underneath mechanic or the front end guy or the motor guy, crew chief, engineer, you just do your job the best you can and work together as a team you don’t really think much about how great your car is or not as long as you just do your part.
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED -- HAS THERE BEEN A LIGHT BULB MOMENT FOR YOU AT THIS TRACK THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? “I haven’t won yet, so I think that part is the part I really want to do. I want to take home that thing (clock). There has been a light bulb that’s gone off to figure out how to make a car go fast for a short amount of time. I think as a team we understand what we have to do to make that happen. In the race, we also have very good speed on the short run and it seems like on the long run that’s when you see the 11, in particular last spring, he was really, really fast on the long run. You see some other cars that are really good on the long run, so they have some kind of light bulb and know what to work on. It’s something Todd and I talk a lot about coming to this race. We had a lot of time to talk about this race. After we won Charlotte, we felt like we really had to focus on Martinsville. There are a lot of conversations about what we need to do to be good on the long run, but we also don’t have bad finishes here recently. We’ve had some top-fives, but we haven’t won that race. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel by no means, but we need to keep working forward and massaging the setup we’ve got and trying to fine-tune that last little bit to be not only good on the front side, but just as good on the back side.”
JEFF GORDON SAID YOU ARE THE TEAM TO BEAT. DO YOU FEEL IT’S YOURS TO LOSE AT THIS POINT? “First of all, it’s pretty cool when Jeff Gordon says that. That’s pretty neat. Do I feel like it’s ours to lose? No, I don’t think that way. I know there are a lot of really good race teams and when I talked to you guys on Tuesday – I don’t look at it that way. I don’t look at it as just one car we have to beat or who is the best car. We have to beat everyone to do this and, to me, it doesn’t matter who moves on as long as we move on because when we get to Homestead you’re still gonna have to win the race. That’s plain and simple, so it is what it is. Right now, yes, everything is clicking great. We’re doing everything right. It can all change in the blink of an eye. For one, we better enjoy it. For two, we better keep our heads down and keep working hard if we want this to continue.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU GUYS HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY OR BETTER RECENTLY THAT HAS RESULTED IN THIS STREAK? “We just got our cars faster. It’s as simple as that. We went through a lull like after the fifth or sixth race. We’d finish sixth, seventh, eighth or squeak top-fives and stuff like that, but we weren’t quite the car to beat. And then we started picking it up a little bit and we were racing in the top-five every week and looking at wins and now we’re racing up for the lead every race and that’s what we’ve got to continue. Really, it’s not an execution thing. It’s not a big difference that we really changed everything we were doing to get better finishes on the race track, we just have faster cars right now than we had earlier in the season. We’re peaking at the right time. Chase time is when you have to rise to the occasion and this is the time you have to do it and it’s amazing to see the whole team do that together.”
SO YOU FEEL THE SPEED HAS COMPLEMENTED WHAT YOU ALREADY HAD? “I do. Our pit stops have been great the last three-quarters of the year, and they’ve been silently great, which is good. They’re not showing it off. They’re just doing their job and that’s what this team is about. No one needs to be a superstar. None of us, I feel like, are superstars. We just go and do our jobs. We’re a bunch of racers and to see the pit crew also act like that, I don’t think you see a lot of pit crews act like that a lot of times. I feel like my pit crew is a great group of racers, great athletes that understand how to execute under pressure and I couldn’t be more proud of them right now.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED -- IS THIS ONE OF THOSE TRACKS WHERE THE HISTORY HITS YOU? “It hits me when I sit here and look at the pictures around here and I think how cool it is and the type of races that were here and how long it’s been here. It’s a really cool race track. It can be a very frustrating race track at the same time, but you talk about race tracks with character, we all want tracks with bumps in them and we want this and want that. This place has got more character than you can ever want. It’s just so unique and so different than anywhere else we go, which makes it fun. This place ate me up and spit me out pretty quick early in my career and I just need to start to figure it out. Like I said, I don’t feel like we have a full grasp on how to win a race here yet, but we know how to go fast for a period of time and that’s progress.”
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