Ragan Gives Front Row Motorsports First NASCAR Win As Ford Sweeps Top Three Spots At Talladega

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Lincoln, AL May 5, 2013
RAGAN WINS FIRST RACE FOR FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS
·         David Ragan registered the second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of his career and first at Talladega.
·         Tonight’s win is the first for Front Row Motorsports.
·         Ford now has 897 all-time NASCAR wins (NCWTS, NNS and NSCS combined).
·         Today’s win by Ragan is the first NSCS triumph for any active Ford driver at Talladega. It marks the 20th Ford victory at the 2.66-mile speedway and the second straight following Matt Kenseth’s victory last fall.
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.David Ragan does a Victory Burnout in his Ford Fusion..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega
May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.David Ragan does a Victory Burnout in his Ford Fusion..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

Ford Racing Results:
1st – David Ragan
2nd – David Gilliland
3rd – Carl Edwards
9th – Scott Speed
10th – Aric Almirola
13th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14th – Marcos Ambrose
15th – Brad Keselowski
19th – Josh Wise
21st – Michael McDowell
24th – Casey Mears
35th – Joey Logano
36th – Greg Biffle
43rd – Trevor Bayne
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Talladega May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.David Ragan celebrates his win in Victory Lane.©2013, Nigel Kinrade.Autostock

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Talladega
May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.David Ragan celebrates his win in Victory Lane.©2013, Nigel Kinrade.Autostock

 

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “I’m kind of a low-key guy, but, man, I don’t know. First off, I’ve got to thank the Lord. Without him nothing is possible. I’ve got to thank my teammates David Gilliland and Josh Wise. If it wasn’t for that final push from David Gilliland, I don’t know what to say. This is a true David vs. Goliath moment here. Front Row Motorsports, Ford. I’ve got Farm Rich on our Ford this weekend, their first chance at a NASCAR race. They’re not all this easy, but this is special to get Front Row Motorsports their first win. It feels like I’ve never been here before.” WELCOME BACK TO VICTORY LANE. “You win these Sprint Cup races and you never want to be a guy that never wins one. You win one and you don’t want to be that guy that just wins one, you want to win two and win three. We love this place. Front Row Motorsports puts a little emphasis coming to Daytona and Talladega. The draft is a big equalizer and anything can happen. Our Farm Rich Ford was fast. We made the right pit calls all day. Our pit crew was flawless and we were just in the right place at the right time. I had a great teammate. David Gilliland gave us a great push. I owe him a lot. I’ll definitely buy him lunch this week or something. Josh Wise, everybody that works so hard. We’re a small team. We build our own chassis, our own bodies. I can’t thank Ford Racing, Doug Yates, Robert Yates and Jack Roush enough.   Man, it’s a special moment for all of our partners here. This is big.” HOW DID YOU WIN? “We were gonna be happy with 18th or 20th on the first big rain storm. We had three cars that didn’t have any scratches on them. We think about winning the race, certainly, but we also think about our race cars and getting ready for Daytona in July. Our car drove good. We put four tires on there the second-to-last stop because we were gonna do fuel only there at the end, and then on my restart I got a great start. I was pushing the 43 and I wanted to stay with that 43, but the 20 had been the class of the field all day. Matt Kenseth kind of pushed me to a win at Daytona a year or two ago, so I decided to stay with Matt and then coming off of turn two he was blocking everybody and I had a great run. The 38 pushed me like there was no tomorrow and, again, I can’t say enough about our Front Row Motorsports team. David Gilliland and Josh Wise, two great friends, and, again, thank the Lord for everything that he’s given us today.” WHAT IS THIS LIKE NOW TO WIN FOR THIS TEAM? “I can only imagine what it felt like back in 1988 when Mark Martin got that first win for Jack Roush or when Geoff Bodine won that first race for Hendrick Motorsports. I’m sure it was just as special. A lot of these guys have been to victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series and late model racing, short tracks, ARCA – all kinds of series – but to do it here at Talladega in 2013, like I said, it’s a true David vs. Goliath story. I couldn’t be more proud to play my own role.”
 
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.Carl Edwards finished 3rd..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Talladega
May 5, 2013, Talladega, Alabama USA.Carl Edwards finished 3rd..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “That was crazy. I blocked everybody I could. I was doing everything I could. I blocked Matt and I thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got it.’ And then I saw Jimmie coming and I blocked him and I thought, ‘Who is that back there?’ It was this Ford freight train coming and I just couldn’t stay in front of them. David did everything but wreck me. He did everything right and I still thought he was gonna wreck when he was looking in his mirror and he almost hit the apron and he wiggled coming to the line, so I thought we still might get this thing, but it’s awesome for David Ragan. We were gonna win the race if it rained, and then I thought we were still gonna win this thing and it just wasn’t meant to be. But it’s the most fun I’ve had at Talladega.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “I’m just really proud of my team for keeping me going. We were involved in two big wrecks and managed to finish 14th with the car. It’s not the day we wanted, but it’s a day we’re proud of.”
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED? “We’re not sure. In looking at the ECU data it doesn’t make sense. You look at the water gauge and it was really high, but the oil temperature was fairly low, so it looked like a gauge was broke from my view. We communicated about it during the race and decided that it was a gauge that was broke, but eventually it blew up. I don’t know. We’re thinking maybe an air pocket somehow got in the water system, but it doesn’t make sense. We’ll look into it and we’ll come up with the answers, but it’s a bummer when you’re sitting third when it was raining and now you don’t finish the race. I wish it would have kept raining.”


 
DAVID GILLILAND-CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE
 
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END? “My crew chief, Frank Kerr, said, ‘You’ve got to have the restart of your life,’ and we had a good one. It was dark out there, sprinking a little bit, dry sweep was on the windshield a bunch, but we got a good restart. Our Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion was really fast all day. I got hooked up with my teammate there. Michael Waltrip got behind me and was giving me a great shove and I had some good momentum and got hooked up with Ragan there and just stayed glued to his bumper and kind of worked our way up through there and came home 1-2 for Front Row Motorsports. It’s a huge day obviously for any team to get first and second, but for Front Row Motorsports and our little team, and what we do it with, we’re really proud of that. And Bob Jenkins, for sticking with us and doing this deal probably 80-90 percent out of his own pocket, it’s a special day.”
WAS DAVID THE REASON YOU WERE COMMITTED TO PUSHING HIM AND NOT BEATING HIM? “I was trying to beat him for sure, but we had to get there first. Once I pushed him out to the lead, the 99 was on my side and David had kind of got enough of a lead that I wasn’t gonna pass him, and at that point I was obviously trying to finish second. We got hooked up. He’s a great restrictor plate racer. I’ve had some great finishes in restrictor plate races in the past and I still obviously want to get that first win, but today wasn’t the day. We’ll take second for sure and a first with our teammate. It’s a big day. A lot of it had to do with this little note here wishing me good luck. This is from my 10-year-old daughter. She wrote that and put it in. It’s got a little horseshoe in it.   She wrote that and put it on my dash before the race, so she had some horseshoe good luck earrings in too, so we’ll take it. (Daughter’s name is Taylor). She’s been coming to the race track her whole life, but she watches it from the motorhome.”
WHERE DOES THIS RANK? “It’s big. Kentucky is probably still my favorite and then Sonoma was obviously good. I had Jeff Gordon behind me on a green-white-checker I think, so that was a great accomplishment, but this is right up there with them. I still want that first win, but the Sprint Cup Series is very tough. Everybody out there racing at this level is awesome and a great race car driver and it’s tough. We’re up against it every week. There are weeks we don’t have enough tires to put on our car, so we’ve got to put scuffs on and everything else, and then we’re racing against guys that have stickers, so we’re just continuing to build and for Front Row Motorsports, a one-two finish, and to be there to help make that possible is very special to me.”
DO TEAMS LIKE FRONT ROW CIRCLE RACES LIKE THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR? “Yeah, for sure. These and the road courses, we feel like, are our best shots to come and have a legitimate shot at winning. The rest of our program we’re still working on and trying to get there. Obviously, some day we want to be an organization that can go and compete for wins on a weekly basis, but we’re not there yet. So to be able to come to these type of tracks, we definitely put a lot of preparation and a lot of emphasis on our speedway program and today we had two very fast race cars and were able to come home one-two.”
 
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “The race in general went really well for us. Practice was great. We got that pole position. I’ve got that trophy and I thought we were gonna get another trophy, a really big one, and the rain went away and got the track dried, which I was pretty frustrated about that. I was kind of really hoping for rain, but then the last 60 laps ended up being 60 of the most educational laps I’ve had at a plate race. I learned a ton. I had a blast and on the white flag lap I thought we were gonna win it until I saw these guys coming. I thought, ‘Who is that?’ And they were coming. I blocked as much as I could. David did everything but spin me out down the back straightaway. He was all over the back bumper and I could feel from the way he was pushing and moving that if I turned to stay across his hood, he went one way and then he went the other, I knew I was gonna be on the highlight reel for the wrong reasons, so these guys got by and we had a 1-2-3 finish for Ford which is huge. I know it’s huge for these guys and for Front Row Motorsports, so as frustrated as I am about the loss, I’m really happy for these guys. It couldn’t happen to two better guys and a harder working team.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS FOR A TEAM LIKE FRONT ROW? “I’d like an invitation to the party wherever it’s gonna be because I have a feeling it’s gonna be a pretty big one. I worked for Mike Mittler for a long time and I saw how hard teams have to compete to be competitive at this level. I obviously wanted to win that race very, very badly for a number of reasons, but it truly couldn’t happen to two better guys, and from Ford’s perspective. Ford got us all together at that event you guys were a part of at the Hall of Fame and they told us, ‘This is One Ford. We want to work together. We want the rest of the field to know that Fords are gonna be strong because of their ability to work together and share information and help one another on the race track,’ and I think you saw a lot of that today. The reason we were in a position with our 99 team to win when the rain came out was because all the Fords lined up and I think we were 1-2-3-4 right then and at the finish of the race we’re 1-2-3 and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think there’s a lot of really neat things happening here.”
WHY WERE THE LAST 60 LAPS SO EDUCATIONAL? “I’ve had a lot of races where I don’t get to run the last bit of the race up there in the lead and it’s been for a number of reasons. Sometimes bad luck, sometimes bad strategy and mistakes, so for me to race up there with Matt and Jimmie and these guys and have all that pressure, and the restarts, the green-white-checkered and everything that was going on, I think it was pretty good. I not only learned stuff, but I’m gonna remember it. It’s burned in there because there was so much pressure right there, so I enjoyed that and I’m pretty grateful for it.  Even though it’s not a win, I guarantee you we’ll be pretty good at Daytona and pretty good when we come back here. There were some things that I picked up.”
IT’S LIKE YOU LOST TWICE TODAY. “What a great feeling (laughing). I noticed Atlanta got a lot of rain today. I was watching the radar. I guess I’ve been trying to have a little bit different perspective and I’m fortunate right now because we have the win at Phoenix, we’re running well, we’re up there in the points, so I’ve been trying approach racing lately as everything is a net positive. I’m getting to do what I love to do, working with people I’m very fortunate to work with and at the end of the day I had a pretty good time and we had a shot to win this thing a couple of times, which a lot of you have seen my terrible days at these places, so that’s saying a lot how we ran today, so that’s why I’m happy. I’m sure I’ll even be better tomorrow, but right now I’m still a little frustrated about not winning, but it’s nice to be frustrated about third at Talladega for me.”
DAVID GILLILAND CONTINUED – WHAT DOES THIS WIN MEAN FOR FRONT ROW? “It’s huge. It’s for Front Row Motorsports. We’re working with Ford and a lot of other great partners right now and we’re close on a lot of stuff. We have Love’s Travel Stops on the car this weekend, which has the potential to grow into a bigger partnership and we had a great day today obviously, and David Ragan had some new partners on board also, so it’s big. Anything like this for an organization like Front Row Motorsports or any organization is very big, so, like I said, we’re just building on it. We’re a little team building. I feel like we’re getting better each and every week. I feel like this new car has really helped us a lot this year to be more competitive at every style of race track that we go to, so it’s definitely big for us. I know Frank Kerr, my new crew chief, has a big wish list of parts and pieces he wants for our race car, trying to make them lighter and faster, and I’m sure he’ll get a couple of those. Hopefully, that will help.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DID YOU THINK TALLADEGA OWED YOU ONE? “No race track every owes you anything. I feel like I owe all of these places in the whole sport a lot. I think I can speak for both of us, no one ever really expects to be at this level. Not that I thought it owed me one, but I wasn’t too sure about that last green-white-checkered. I knew that could go any way and I’ve seen it go real bad, so I felt pretty good about the finish. I’d really like this place a lot more if I could get a victory here ,but for right now I like it OK.”
DAVID GILLILAND CONTINUED – HOW DO YOU FIND DAVID RAGAN ON THE TRACK AFTER THE LAST RESTART AND HOW DARK WAS IT OUT THERE? “It felt good. We got restarted there and it was sprinkling and it was dark, there was dry sweep on the track that kind of got on the windshield where it was wet and it was hard to see, but I could see David up there and he came down. Michael Waltrip was behind me giving me a good run and we just carried a lot of momentum up through there and got hooked up with David and figured we’ve got the best chance of anybody sticking together with him out there, so we just worked our way up there. It got real tight getting into three and four with Carl, like he said. I know David was sideways and out of the gas and Carl was right up on his door there, and it could have gone a number of ways, but thankfully I just stayed on his bumper. I pushed him all the way through the corners. That’s the first time I’ve ever done that with this car because with these type of cars in practice I’ve pushed people down the back straight and it actually kind of gets underneath that little lip underneath the back bumper cover and I’ve always been kind of scared getting into the corner as the front car compresses the back car, the nose doesn’t have anywhere to go because he splitter is already on the race track, but I just pushed him all the way around there and Carl got stalled out a little bit and we were just able to carry some good momentum and come home 1-2.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL DAVID RACED YOU CLEAN? YOU WERE FRUSTRATED ON THE RADIO. “If I sounded frustrated at David, I was definitely not. What I was trying to express was that David just got us. He just did it. Of course he raced me clean. It’s Talladega. As long as I’m not upside-down in the fence I think it was pretty clean. I don’t know how you define clean here, but he did his job. He raced me as hard as he could have raced me without wrecking me. I don’t think either one of us could have tried any harder without being wrecked and he got me, so he earned the win.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI SAID HE THOUGHT DAVID RAGEN CHANGED LANES ILLEGALLY ON THE FINAL RESTART. DID YOU SEE THAT? “I think David and David both did some illegal stuff (joking). I think the win should go to the third-place car (laughing). I’m gonna put that down right now. The third-place guy looked like he did everything right (laughing). No, the race is over. The trophy is being given away. It’s done.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LAST 5-10 MINUTES RACING WITH THE DARKNESS? “I wish the pace car could have shut off those yellow lights because they were kind of blinding. I was trying to look other places so I wouldn’t get blinded by the lights, and then there was a little rain. Fortunately, NASCAR had a test run yesterday with the Nationwide cars, which didn’t turn out as clean as our finish, but I think we were right up about the same time and I was really grateful personally that NASCAR let us run that green-white-checkered. I think it had to be a tough call for NASCAR, but we could see well enough. One thing NASCAR did was give us time to change our visors. I put on a clear visor. I think a lot of people did, so we were all prepared for less light, but it was just insane. The whole thing, I wish we had heartrate monitors on all the drivers out there. As it gets closer to the end of the race it just gets crazy. It’s an insane event and I think everybody did a pretty good job.”
  
DAVID RAGAN PRESS CONFERENCE
 
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT THE END. “I sure wouldn’t want to have to line up and have to do it again. When we took the green we were running 10th and the outside lane today had been a little bit better all day long, so I got a good restart. I don’t know what happened on that first lap, but coming around, when we took the white, I was pushing the 43. He jumped to the outside of the 20 getting into turn one and I didn’t want to be on the top lane going down the back straightaway. The top lane hadn’t surged well enough down the back straightaway today, so the 20 car had been the class of the field all day long.   I saw him right in front of me, so I decided to stick with him. I thought that maybe we could get a good run and race for the win coming out of turn four, but I didn’t know it at the time, but the 38 of David Gilliland was hooked to my rear bumper, so that gave me a little extra confidence coming out of turn two. We were probably running fourth or fifth at the time that I could make the right moves and I knew that he was gonna stick with me, so the 99 was leading. I think he tried to block the 17, which allowed me a clean hole on the bottom, so I went low. Carl I guess didn’t see me coming quick enough or we had such a fast run I was able to get position on him and I don’t know still today how the 38 had such a good run, and he was just pushing me unbelievably through three and four. I knew once I came out of turn four we had enough steam that I could have made my car wide enough that we were gonna make it back around to the start-finish line, so it’s a huge, huge deal for us to be sitting here right now and it makes it even more special to get a 1-2 finish. Can you believe that? That was a great finish.”
JAY GUY, Crew Chief – “It’s a huge win for Front Row Motorsports and our owner, Bob Jenkins, and David and all of our guys on the team and everybody back at the shop. Today is a long day. It’s a long weekend. You’re here at the race track early in the morning and you’re out late at night and with the rain delay and everything like that everybody had to keep focused and keep to our game plan. We approached today with a game plan and we executed it and it worked out well for us today, obviously.   We didn’t end up wrecked or anything like that, so it’s just a proud day for everybody and it’s a great finish for Front Row with David Gilliland in second and us with the win.”
BOB JENKINS, Car Owner – “I tell you what makes it special is just the time and the effort that these guys put into these cars. There are a lot of owners out there that they get the best available driver they can get and they’re like a hired gun, but the thing that I think makes our team different than some of the rest is that we’re so close. More than anything we’re friends and I know I’ve got drivers that are capable of winning races. I’ve got guys at the shop that have the heart to win races. We just haven’t always had the resources, so the challenge for me is as we build cars is to make them better every week and to put ourselves in a position to win a race and that’s really what happened today. If it hadn’t been for David Ragan and David Gilliland working together there at the end, we wouldn’t have it, but, most of all, it’s just so satisfying to see that over the last nine years every year we’ve gotten a little bit better and I felt the progress and I knew it was just a matter of time before we’d win one of these things.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – BRAD KESELOWSKI CLAIMS YOU LINED UP WRONG OR CHANGED LANES ILLEGALLY ON THE FINAL RESTART. ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THIS? “Yes. We were running eighth when I guess the one-to-go, around the caution time, and NASCAR, I guess it’s standard procedure they always go back through the running order and adjust any cars that need to be adjusted, I guess with film maybe when the caution came out on that back straightaway wreck. I knew that we were probably a little higher than what we should be because we were running 20th or so when that wreck happened and we made it through, so they adjusted the lineup. Who was the other car? The 95, the 2 and then the 34. So NASCAR says that on the radio. They tell the spotters, tell the crew chiefs, so the 95 pulls up. Well, obviously, Brad wanted to start on the outside because he knew the same thing that I knew, that the outside lane had an advantage on the restart. Well, he just didn’t want to listen to NASCAR. So NASCAR makes the call on where we line up at and I listened to what NASCAR has to say. My spotter told me that’s what they radioed over on the NASCAR channel, the crew chief said the same thing, and Brad was just trying to snooker us and trying to get the preferred lane. Eventually, he decided that he should do the right thing and he restarted ninth and I restarted 10th, so there’s no controversy. I’m glad you got that out because I had that already prepared. I was ready to talk about it because I was mad going down the back straightaway and I was screaming at my spotter and at Jay, I said, ‘Somebody please get NASCAR.’ Maybe the 2’s radios weren’t working well and Brad didn’t know. I’m serious. Sometimes you don’t get that message relayed. It’s been wet. Sometimes the radios have issues when it rains, so I thought the 2 really didn’t know, but I’m sure he knew and he was just trying to play it smooth.”
HE’S STILL SAYING IT’S AN ISSUE. “Well, NASCAR will set him straight eventually. They’ll let him know. He might not admit it, but he knows that he lined up in the right spot and I lined up in the right spot.”
BOB JENKINS CONTINUED – WHAT’S IT LIKE COMPETING WITH NICKLES AND DIMES AGAINST TEAMS THAT ARE DOING IT WITH BIGGER BUDGETS? “I wouldn’t say it’s nickels and dimes, but I will say this. I’ve always said in the racing graveyard my epitaph won’t be, ‘I won the most races or championships,’ but I want to be known as a team that did the most with the least. Every year we try to get better. We work within ourselves. The chassis we run, we build. We’re unable to go out and buy products from other teams and that’s a disadvantage, but on a day like today it really makes you feel good because you know the equipment that you won the race with was what you built in your own shop, so that’s what makes it so gratifying. These guys make less than what a top tier team would make, but they’re still at the shop doing the same thing every day and it paid off for them today, so, for me, I’d much rather do it this way than to go out and write a check for top tier equipment.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – DOES THIS MEAN MORE BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH? “Absolutely. It’s funny, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for and we owe what we’re doing here today to God and the Lord. Some of the drivers – myself, David, Trevor Bayne, Josh Wise, Michael McDowell, Sam Hornish Jr – we get together on a weekly basis and have a little Bible study and we try to incorporate the good work amongst the commotion that we often have on race weekends, but we’re just here going through the motions and trying to do the best we can with what we have to work with. Not only was someone watching over us on those last couple laps, but just the whole day today. The fans that stuck it out, the NASCAR officials, the corner workers, the Air Titan and jet dryer drivers – everybody that made this day possible. It probably wasn’t meant to be, but every one had their hearts set on completing 500 miles here at Talladega, so it was special to do that and we were in a position to give God the glory and I’m thankful for that. You can’t do this without friends and teammates and people on your team and I couldn’t have won today’s race without David. I know he wishes that he was sitting in my shoes right now, and I kind of wish that he would have had a chance to win the race, too, but it was a great finish. I’m glad that he’s thankful for finishing second and it makes it so much sweeter to get a 1-2 finish.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – HOW MUCH DO YOU CHERISH THIS WIN? “You cherish them a lot. I won my first Nationwide race here four or five years ago and I was glad to get a NASCAR win. You don’t want to be that guy that runs NASCAR and competes in NASCAR for a number of years and you don’t win a race. I said, ‘Man, I don’t want to be that guy that runs a long time and never wins a Cup race.’ Well, you finally get that one win in Cup and then you think to yourself, ‘Well man, I don’t want to be that guy that just wins one Cup race. I want to win two.’ So you’re always thinking about that. These wins are few and far between.   I hear some of the older guys talk about it, like a Bobby Labonte who made his 700th career start, Michael Waltrip, they say that kind of stuff and right now I’ve already thought about Darlington and what we’re gonna do next Friday when we get to Darlington and unload and the challenge we’re gonna have there and the All-Star Race and stuff like that. So we’re gonna enjoy this. We’re gonna celebrate it, but I guarantee we’re gonna be at Front Row in the morning early. I know Jay is gonna be there at 6:30 in the morning when we have our meeting, but we’re gonna be worried about Darlington. When I’m an old man and just kind of hanging out and watching these races I’ll sit back and it will mean a lot more then than it does today.”
YOU QUALIFY FOR THE SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE AT CHARLOTTE. “That’s a big deal for our team and our sponsors. We try to sell Front Row Motorsports and it’s tough to sell a team that we run 15th or 20th or 25th. We’re not battling for a championship, so it’s tough to do that and that means a lot to be in our All-Star event in our sport, which I think is the best All-Star event in any of the major league sports. So I feel truly blessed to be there.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GEN 6 CAR AND IF IT’S AN EQUALIZER AMONG THE TEAMS? “It has been a little equalizer, absolutely, because it forced teams like us that generally don’t go through our complete inventory over the off-season, it forces us to really go through and Bob and our team made an investment this off-season to go through our chassis, upgrade some of our suspension components – stuff that other teams do on a weekly basis, we got to do at the end of the year. And I look at some of our qualifying stats and some of our running positions at the non-restrictor plate tracks this season and we’re a few spots better and a little bit more competitive this year than we were last, so, absolutely, the Gen 6 car has not only provided for some outstanding racing, but it has helped the Front Row Motorsports, the Tommy Baldwin Racings, the smaller teams of Sprint Cup racing to be more competitive.”
JAY GUY CONTINUED – “I agree. The new Gen-6 car, everybody starting in the same playing field right now is a great equalizer. It’s a great car. It looks great and so far the results on the race track have been, to me, a little bit surprising, but NASCAR did a great job with the Gen-6 car and we’ve made our cars a little bit better. We’re certainly not contending for wins on a weekly basis or top-10s even, but it’s enabled us to be a little bit better than what we were in years past, and you look forward to going to Darlington.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT TO MAKE SURE FANS ARE CONGRATULATING THE RIGHT WINNER OF THE RACE? WILL THIS DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE YOUR PROFILE? “Regan and I joke about that a lot. We’re similar to the same age and we’re friends, but we couldn’t be farther apart. He’s from Upstate New York and I’m from South Georgia and there is nothing similar about those two parts of the United States, so we joke about that. I was happy for Regan yesterday winning the race. I haven’t had a chance to look at my Sprint phone yet. I’m not like these other guys that carry my phone around in my pocket and in the race car, so it’s back in the motorhome. The battery is probably dead and it’s probably got a lot of voice mails, so I’ll look at it here in a little bit, but, yeah, it might help a little bit. I’ll look forward to hopefully seeing it in a good way.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED — CHIPPER JONES WAS HERE. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN IN FRONT OF HIM? “The only year I loved baseball more than NASCAR was 1995 when Atlanta won the World Series. I talked to Chipper a little bit in the driver’s meeting and he obviously meets a lot of people and he probably kind of knows me, but probably doesn’t remember. I had to remind him I was a big fan and enjoyed his career. I watched him in AAA. He played for the Macon Braves, which aren’t even in existence anymore. We used to go up there when I was five, six, seven years old and watch a lot of those guys that were superstars for the Braves in the mid-nineties play in Macon, so that’s pretty cool. I haven’t seen him. I hope he watched the race. It was a long day, but I’ll definitely look him up soon. It was cool to see Chipper here. Sometimes I felt like this off-season I was gonna miss him playing third base for the Braves, but they’ve been doing pretty good without him. It’s good to see him here. He’s a big race fan. He’s a huge supporter of NASCAR, so it was good to see Chipper here today.”
DID YOU THINK THIS DAY WOULD EVER COME? “Absolutely we thought it would come one day and we actually talked about it on the grid before the race and even at the halfway point. We missed that first wreck and we all had decent speed, good handling cars, no damage, and we kind of talked about, ‘Hey, this is a perfect recipe for success. We’ve got to keep fighting and keep being smart.’ You always believe that it can happen, but I don’t know that I ever practice my victory lane speech in my head or anything. I didn’t think about it that much, but you absolutely believe in yourself and your team. We’re kind of leaders of our team and we need to set a good example for our teammates and for our shop employees, so we’ve had the right attitude that we thought we could win at one of these speedway races or a road course or something like that and I’m glad that we came through.”
JAY GUY CONTINUED – “We’ve worked really hard at Front Row on our speedway program because it’s a great equalizer racing at Daytona and Talladega. This is our chance to shine, so we always put a little extra effort into these races. Did I think when I woke up this morning that we were gonna be sitting here today? No. I thought we had a good shot at being in the top 10 solidly. Last year we finished seventh and fourth, but that’s last year. You can’t live off of what you did yesterday, but I thought our pit crew has taken a big step forward and our team has gotten stronger as a whole, so I thought we had a chance, but to be up here today, I’d be lying if I said, ‘Yeah, I expected to be here.’”
BOB JENKINS CONTINUED – HOW DOES THIS HELP YOU FINANCIALLY? “It always helps, but it’s not why we race.” DAVID INTERJECTS. “It’ll be gone in a week-and-a-half.” BOB CONTINUES – “Trust me, these guys know how to spend it, but it will help our program, there’s no doubt about that. The thing we’ve done, although it’s an expensive sport, we just reinvest what we make back into the sport. That’s the only way we’re gonna get better. My philosophy from the beginning is in this sport you have to make your own place at the table. Nobody is gonna give it to you, so I’ve always felt like if we can go out and perform and put out a good product, then sponsorship will come, respect will come and hopefully wins will come. So that’s kind of been our attitude all along.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED — WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION? DOES THIS MATTER?  “It absolutely matters for our partners, our sponsors. I spoke a little bit about it. It’s tough to sell sponsorship for a team that’s gonna be 15th to 25th on average. We have higher goals and we expect to improve, but it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen in one or two seasons. All of our sponsors – Peanut Patch, one of our bigger sponsors that’s gonna be on the car next week, CSX was on the car last week, Love’s Travel Stops was on David’s car this weekend. It goes so far and I’m sure Bob, our general manager Jerry Freeze can touch base on that a little more, but it gives them the confidence that we haven’t been telling them a story or lying to them – that we know we’re getting better and working hard. They’ve taken a chance on us and we’ve worked hard and we’ve done what we said we were gonna do, but it does help a lot and confidence. It goes a long way for our guys that work six days a week that don’t get to enjoy the race track perks of traveling every weekend. They have to stay at the shop and work 50-60 hours a week building these cars. It gives them some confidence and hope and it’s a big thing.”
 
BOB JENKINS CONTINUED – “One thing I’d like to say too is so much credit goes to David. He was driving for a top tier team and had UPS as a sponsor and when he left he bought in to what we were trying to do at Front Row. The thing that I think makes him so different from a lot of other drivers is his expectations of himself and his team never changed. He brought that to Front Row. He didn’t look at it as if, ‘Hey, I’m taking a step down here. I realize I’m gonna be a backmarker or whatever.’ He continued to expect a lot out of himself and a lot out of his team and I think what happened is people bought into that and they followed behind him and we’ve seen results from it. I don’t know of too many drivers that would do that, but that’s what makes it so special is because he believes in what we’re doing. It’s more than just he works for me, we work together and it’s the same way with David Gilliland and Josh Wise. The chemistry in this group is so strong that I didn’t know when it would come, but I just knew something special was gonna come from this group of drivers.”
 
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING THAT SOMETHING WAS ABOUT TO GO? “There was no warning at all. I got to turn one and it let go. I’m surprised the whole field didn’t crash with as much oil that’s pouring out of this thing in the garage, but we were lucky to hold onto it and keep this car in one piece because it’s gonna be fast at Daytona in July. I hate this for our team, but that’s kind of been our luck this weekend. It’s OK though because we’ve got good race cars. It’s unfortunate because we were running in the top 10 the whole time. I dropped back to 30th and came right back to fifth, so I think it’s gonna be a fun race for everybody. It seems a little bit different than Daytona, where everybody was in one lane. At least a couple of lanes seem to be working where you can pass, but it looks like I’ll have to watch the rest of this thing in the motorhome. That kind of stinks because I’d rather be driving this No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford.”


GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I just saw them wrecking above me. I thought about going to the left, I had plenty of room and probably should have, but I didn’t.   I just stayed straight and moved down all I could and it wasn’t enough. They got me in the right-rear and turned me the wrong way up into the wall, a pretty hard hit, but that’s all you can do is hang on when stuff like that happens.” KIND OF EARLY FOR SUCH A BIG WRECK? “It can happen at any time. You just never know. We were trying to be cautious, but that didn’t work.”

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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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