Biffle, Keselowski Pace Ford Qualifiers at California

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March 22, 2013

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion (Qualified 3rd) – “The Miller Lite Ford is pretty fast. I am not a really good qualifier so you know if we qualify well we are going to be a threat. It is a good sign.”  WHAT DID YOU FEEL OUT THERE AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT SUNDAY? “My car was really good and it has a lot of grip in qualifying mode. In the race they tend to have a lot less grip and I would expect that to be the case this weekend. The Gen 6 cars go through the corner really well when they are in clean air and all those things. I would expect that with this track getting so wide and with multiple grooves that you will see that. Quite honestly I think this will be one of the best races of the year.”

Brad Keselowski suits up for practice

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fontana
March 22, 2013 Fontana, California USA.Brad Keselowski suits up for practice.© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Window Film Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) – “We went through a lot of work after getting only a few laps on the race track. That was a heck of a lap and the guys had to have this car just right to do that. That hopefully won’t hurt us for the race. We have all day tomorrow but lost a tremendous amount of track time today and the guys worked really hard to change this engine out and obviously the new one is running really good.”

 

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 AA Southern California Ford Fusion (Qualified 6th) – “I felt like I left some on both ends. I overdrove one end and under drove the other end. You are out there trying to estimate what the grip level is going to be and we were just a little off. The car did everthing it was supposed to do. It is always tough. I think we have a really good Auto Club Ford that can go out there and win this thing this weekend. We will tune her in tomorrow during practice and we are going to start toward the front so we will only have to pass a few cars.”  YOU ARE REALLY BUSY OUT THERE WITH THE SEAMS AND BUMPS AND WIND AREN’T YOU? “Yeah, there are a lot of seams, especially off of two. You are going across them so quick and it makes the car jump around and you are chasing it. It is a lot of fun and makes it a little hairy when you go into race trim and are racing guys. It is fun. I consider this one of my favorite race tracks to come to and race. It is fun to move around and go anywhere you want. I think with this new car too with the bigger hole in the air and more drag that the racing is going to be awesome. I can’t wait.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 practice

2013 NASCAR Fontana 500
March 22, 2013, Fontana, California USA.Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 practice..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock..

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 NOS Ford Fusion (Qualified 31st) – “We were really loose in practice so we made a lot of changes throughout practice and seemed to get a little better. We thought the race track was going to free up a little bit and thought we would go faster. We thought we needed it a little tighter yet but we got it too tight in one and two. Three and four felt pretty good. Yeah, we won’t do that again. I wanted it tighter. I thought that we needed it tighter and I asked for a little too much I think. Driving it a little harder made it even that much tighter. It wasn’t perfect but we will work on it tomorrow.”

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 MAC Tools Ford Fusion (Qualified 21st) – “I don’t feel too good about that. We will have to just keep fighting. We have a great team, we have just had a sluggish start to our year so we have to pick it up.”

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 SUBWAY Ford Fusion (Qualified 24th) – “I ended up taking the top and I wanted to run down to the bottom but we were just a little tight. Three and four was awesome. Our SUBWAY Fusion, we will get it tuned in tomorrow and be all right on Sunday. I am real frustrated right now. I thought we would run better than that. I thought we would run three-tenths faster than that in qualifying. I think Greg has a really good shot and we have had great luck with Fords here and especially Jack Roush’s Fords so hopefully we can get one in victory lane.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Farmland Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd) – “We needed a little more. I am a little disappointed in that. We will get it though. All these guys on this Farmland team will work on her and get this Ford Fusion running better for tomorrow. We did mostly race trim today so I feel like we have a pretty good direction on what things we need to do for tomorrow for race trim. We will go from there.”

David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford (Qualified 34th) – “We had a good pick-up.  I’m proud of the guys.  We changed 15 things before qualifying.  Tires are so hard.  We practiced on one set of tires, and they really fall off a lot here.  This track is pretty abrasive on them.  But I’m proud of Frank and all the guys.  We picked up, I think, 1.3 seconds from practice, so we’ve definitely got something to build on for tomorrow.”

David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford (Qualified 42nd) – “The guys have been making a lot of changes all day but we still didn’t have the qualifying run we were hoping for.  And at a track like this, you really only have one shot with the one lap because the tires fall off so much.  But we’ll huddle up, talk with our teammates, and we’ll work on it some more tomorrow.”

 

GREG BIFFLE POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE

TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE TODAY. “That was a spectacular lap considering everything we did today. We were fortunate enough to get an extra hour of practice here and unfortunately we had about eight minutes of practice today before qualifying. The guys worked really hard to get the engine changed. I got out with three minutes to go to make a lap and we made adjustments from that lap and we were able to put down a pretty fast lap. Obviously the car is pretty close. I am anxious to get some track time. I can’t wait to see how my car runs and hopefully we will get that right tomorrow. We are going to get a good pit stall for the race and we will have to start at the back so that is unfortunate but I am proud of the team for how hard they worked and the car that we are going to have for the race.”

DID THEY DIAGNOSE WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE ENGINE? IS THERE CONCERN WITH KESELOWSKI’S ISSUE AS WELL? “I don’t have all the details. They are actually taking the engine apart now. They were going to do it after qualifying. I wish they would have done it right away but maybe I will sleep better tonight finding out what it is. We feel like the issues could be common between the 2 car and my car. I think they are thinking it is the same issue and something mechanical, something parts wise inside the engine at the bottom of the engine I think. I will know and we will know here after we take it apart but right now we are sort of guessing.”

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PASS 40 CARS ON SUNDAY? “Same way I did at Bristol. This ought to be a lot easier. I started at the back at Bristol – we started 29th and in 60 laps I was 9th under green. It was a heck of a run for us. Hopefully we can do the same thing here. This race track has a lot more room and I wouldn’t say is easier to pass but there is a lot more opportunity to pass than last week. Certainly we aren’t going to do it in a short amount of time. Definitely it will take probably 100 laps at a minimum or maybe 50-75 laps to get our way up through the field. Hopefully we can. Maybe some pit strategy too. We will see what we can come up with.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH THE SPLITTER? “We haven’t. We did more so at Las Vegas than here. Here we have been pretty good on that, although we have only had seven laps or so total of practice. Qualifying the car was really good. There were no issues qualifying.”

HOW ABOUT HANDLING THE SEAMS? “They are difficult to go across. What will happen is you get down in the corner and if the car starts to drift or get a little tight and gets to that seam then the car kind of wants to skate across it. It is the same for everyone though and they aren’t as bad in three and four kind of as they are in one and two. One and two are a little tricky and that is what gives a race track character and makes it challenging.”

WHEN YOU ARE IN THE RACE DO YOU WANT YOUR SPOTTER TALKING TO YOU A LOT, A LITTLE OR JUST GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED? “I am middle of the road on that. What I need and keep me up to speed on what is going on around us.”

 

BRAD KESELOWSKI POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE

YOU GUYS HAD AN ENGINE CHANGE AND WILL START FROM THE REAR BUT TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP TODAY AND YOUR CAR FOR SUNDAY. “The car is extremely fast and I am ready to get going. I am a little nervous about the engine issues the 16 and 2 cars both had in practice and hopefully those will subside for the race and we are both going to start in the back. Is that the first time that has ever happened? There should be a stat man in here for that. Ford isn’t here? He is at home on Twitter looking this up right now isn’t he? It is unfortunate but we will have a good time hopefully racing to the front.”

HOW TOUGH IN THIS DAY IN AGE IS IT TO TAKE A CAR THAT MAYBE ISN’T A TOP-FIVE CAR AND FINISH IN THE TOP-FIVE? “You know, right now it is pretty early with this Gen 6 car and so I don’t think anyone really knows who the favorite is to beat. I know we might have the points lead but I think it is too early to label any one team ahead or behind. You see a couple trends so far and Kasey Kahne has been really fast. Matt Kenseth has been fast. Denny and Kyle (Busch) have been really fast. It is so early that it is hard to tell and have a real scope of who the guys to beat are out there. In any professional series to get to the top is a hell of a challenge and there is always somebody trying to pull you down. Right now I wouldn’t say it is the hardest it has ever been because it is a new car and new opportunity and you see the strong teams capitalizing on it.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN THE ZONE A LITTLE WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING? “Things are falling our way and we are doing a great job of executing and it takes both. You can have all the luck in the world and screw up your end and it means nothing or you can do everything right and not have any luck and it doesn’t mean anything. All those things are coming together now and I hope we aren’t using it up too early in the season because the Chase is when it really counts. It is a pleasant surprise to start the year with runs this solid and the chance to lead the points this early in the year, especially with the change from Dodge to Ford. That gives us something to hang our hat on.”

BIFFLE THOUGHT THE ENGINE ISSUES MAY BE SIMILAR. IS IT MORE CONCERNING IF THAT IS THE CASE? “If it is one particular item then I guess it is easier to fix it, assuming that can be done in the time frame available but I think it is too early to tell on that as well because those engines aren’t scheduled to be tore down until tonight and tomorrow morning.”

BIFFLE SAID HE THOUGHT IT WOULD TAKE 100 LAPS TO GET TO THE FRONT. ANY COMMENTS ON THAT? “I feel like I can do it in 99.”

CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR OPINION ON THE LATINO PARTICIPATION IN NASCAR AND ANY ADVICE FOR THE KIDS? “It seems like every time we come here there is a larger base. You notice it. I noticed when I was driving in turns three and four that there were different writing that were in Spanish so that shows the commitment the sport has to be as diverse as we can. Certainly there has been some progress for sure in the western side of the country and hopefully that will spread more broad.”


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Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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