Almirola On Pole after Rain Washes Out Talladega Qualifying

Photo Credit: Mike Holtsclaw/On Pit Road
Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Camping World RV Sales 500 (Talladega Superspeedway)
NSCS Qualifying Quotes
Saturday, October 19, 2013Rain forced the cancellation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday afternoon. Per the NASCAR rule book, the field is set based on Friday’s opening practice speeds, meaning the 43 of Aric Almirola will start on pole and is one of six Fords that will start in the top-10 Sunday.FORD STARTING LINEUP (SET VIA PRACTICE SPEEDS)
1st       Aric Almirola
3rd       Marcos Ambrose
5th       Carl Edwards
6th       Greg Biffle
7th       David Ragan
10th     Casey Mears
13th     Brad Keselowski
14th     Josh Wise
18th     Sam Hornish Jr.
19th     Joey Logano
22nd    Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
25th     David Gilliland
27th     Trevor BayneARIC ALMIROLA & MARCOS AMBROSE PRESS CONFERENCEARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Charter Ford Fusion – YOU GOTTA FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE SPEED THIS CAR IS GENERATING. “Yeah, and I think more importantly for us to have both of our cars up there shows how well we work together in the draft. We went into practice with a plan, me and Marcos and we got a big run on the pack and put up a good lap. We knew that there was a small chance for rain today, however obviously under the circumstances we thought it would be good to put up a good lap just in case it did rain we would be in a good position. We had a plan and we stuck to it and it worked out, so that was good. Anytime you do that and start up front under any circumstances is good. Great run for us and we are looking forward to the race with both me and Marcos starting up front. That shows how hard the guys work on the speedway stuff. We haven’t been as good in the past as we wanted to at the speedway stuff and have continued to work at it and our cars have speed. Now we have to go race for 500 miles and avoid all the chaos and hopefully be there at the end.”MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT THE SPEED THE FORDS ARE GENERATING OUT THERE.  “It was a great day for Richard Petty Motorsports because we had a plan going in and we knew what we wanted to try to do and we had an expectation that there was a chance of rain today. We played our strategy really well as a group and we are going to get the benefit of that for the starting position tomorrow. Our cars have improved a lot through the course of the year on the superspeedway tracks and I thought my car at Daytona was as good as it has been on a superspeedway for a long time. I think that has carried over to this weekend. We have shown some speed but it isn’t going to be a guarantee of success on Sunday. It just allows us to stay out of the riff-raff for the first five or six laps and I am going to start directly behind Aric and that will be good for us to be able to give him a good push and get him going and hopefully work together to a good run to the first pit stop.”

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU, STARTING UP FRONT OR PIT CHOICE? “I would say here probably pit selection, especially when you have those yellow flag pit stops and being in stall number one when they drop the jack you just have to go a couple feet to cross that scoring line to be on the exit of pit road. That is going to be really important. The race jumbles up here so much and it isn’t like a typical race where if you qualify on the pole you have a shot of staying up front all day, this race you can be leading one lap and be 16th the very next lap. I think more than anything it is going to be pit selection that will give our guys an opportunity to beat a lot of people off pit road and gain the track position late in the race when that opportunity presents itself under pit stops. I think the pit selection is going to be the biggest deal.”

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED — WAS YOUR PLAN TO GO OUT AND RUN AS FAST AS YOU COULD IN CASE OF RAIN OR WAS THERE A SPECIF PLAN YOU PUT TOGETHER TOGETHER YESTERDAY? “We really thought looking at the weather that there was a chance for rain. It is always good for the guys back at the shop to put up that PR lap to showcase your race team and me and Marcos are 18th and 19th in points so we are right next to each other when we go out for practice and they put us out in order of points so it worked out to where we were right next to each other and we went out and were committed to drafting up to the pack to try to put up the best lap that we could for both the recognition lap of how hard our guys work on our speedway stuff but also in case it did rain. That worked out.”

MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED — “We had a little luck too. We went out 18th, 19th and 20th and normally in the pack the leaders slow down on the backstretch some and let everyone pile up together and our plan was to really try to give ourselves a bit of room so that we could draft into the pack but as it worked out the leaders of the pack really didn’t hang around too long so we were strung right out. For the first lap and a half or so I thought we might have lost the draft completely. You put it down to a lot of talent but it was actually a lot of luck as well that got us to the front here.”

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – DOES TODD’S ABSENCE, HOW DO YOU HANDLE HIS ABSENCE AND HAS IT HAD ANY IMPACT?  “It certainly has had some impact for sure but for all weekends for something like that to happen Talladega is a pretty easy one. You just try to get your car on the ground and try not to let it rub the race track too much to kill the speed and you go drive it. There is not a whole lot for us to do really. The setup stuff like Jeff (Burton) said is what it is. You just go out there and drive it. I think it talks a lot about how well our race team is well rounded. We have a lot of guys at the shop that do a really good job with our cars and these cars were prepared several weeks ago so I think everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has done a really good job to give us the best cars they can and it isn’t just our car. You look at the 9 as well, we are both up here, so I think a lot of it goes back to the guys at the shop. We stay so focused on our intermediate and short track stuff that the speedway thing kind of gets put over in a corner and you work on it a couple weeks before you go race it again. I think a lot of that goes back to the shop.”

WHAT WAS THIS WEEK LIKE? WAS IT A SCRAMBLE OR A BLOW TO THE TEAM TO STEP BACK AND PROCESS THAT AND THEN COME HERE? “Yeah, absolutely. I understand what you are asking but the answer is simple and it is just yes. It was certainly unexpected and something that we weren’t excited about by any means. That was definitely something that caught us all off guard and something that we have had to just work with on a day to day basis. Every day has been just a little bit different and we are trying to work through it and do the best we can.”

HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK WITH SAMMY ABOUT THE WAY FORWARD TO CLOSE THE SEASON? “Yeah, we have. We have had a lot of down time believe it or not and we have. We are working on a plan and I am sure they will announce the plan next week as to our plans for the rest of the year moving forward. We just have to work through that and we will keep that internal until we are ready to announce it. We have set down and talked about it and tried to come up with the best solution for what is best for us. I will reiterate and I said it on Twitter yesterday or Thursday but Todd Parrott is a good person and a good crew chief and a good friend of mine. I think he has a lot of support and a lot of people rallying behind him to get through this difficult time. That being said, we have a job to do and have to go out and race and do what is best for us. We have to figure out a plan.”