Ford Martinsville 2 Cup Qualifying

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Qualifying (Martinsville Speedway)
Friday, October 25, 2013Ford Qualifying Results:
6th – Joey Logano
8th – David Ragan
11th – Brad Keselowski
14th – Carl Edwards
16th – Marcos Ambrose
18th – Aric Almirola
20th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27th – David Gilliland
28th – Casey Mears
33rd – Greg Biffle

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “That was a decent lap for the Miller Lite Ford Fusion.  It obviously wasn’t everything I wanted, but qualifying here had been kind of a struggle for me over the years and I think this will give us a decent spot to start from.”

NASCAR ANNOUNCED THERE WILL BE MANDATORY BASELINE TESTING NEXT YEAR.  YOUR THOUGHTS?  “I think it’s one of those things where we’ll have to see.  I don’t want to call it a negative, but at this point I haven’t seen where that’s gonna be a positive for this sport.  We’re gonna learn together, I guess.”

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BASELINE TEST?  “No, I’ve never had a baseline test.  I’ve been dinged.  I’ve hit some walls, but I’ve never had the baseline test.  I’m trying really hard to keep an open mind to it, so I guess we’ll see together how it works out.”

WHY WOULD YOU NOT HAVE AN OPEN MIND BECAUSE IT DOESN’T COME NATURAL FOR DRIVERS TO WANT TO GIVE THAT INFORMATION UP?  “Because doctors don’t understand our sport.  They never have and they never will.  Doctors aren’t risk takers.  We are.  That’s what makes our sport what it is and when you get doctors involved, you water down our sport.  I’m trying to be open-minded to the possibility that they can help us, but past experience says no.”

WHAT MAKES A DRIVER DIFFERENT THAN AN NFL OR NHL PLAYER?  “An NFL player doesn’t walk on the field and say today might be the day where I die.  He doesn’t make a decision when he gets out on the field that could affect the health of others.  That’s a pretty distinct different.  He makes a decision whether or not if he takes another hit that he’ll be able to enjoy his livelihood with his kids.  We’re on a whole other level as race car drivers.”

BUT A FOOTBALL PLAYER WOULD DETERMINE SOMEONE ELSE’S HEALTH DEPENDING ON HOW HE HITS THE GUY.  “Yeah, but this conversation is relevant to someone who is actually suffering from an injury, but, yeah there is that part, absolutely.  But as it pertains this particular item, which is having a test done and trying to make the sport safer, it’s yet to be seen how it will affect us.”

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE THAT COULD EASE YOUR MIND IN REGARDS TO THIS TEST?  “I have about 100 of them, which is why I’m kind of going to wait-and-see because my understanding is that NASCAR is still under a wait-and-see and that they’ll play it out.   But at the end of the day my biggest question, not that there’s only one, but my biggest question is, ‘What’s the number?’  It’s no different than the race cars.  If you have a test and you come back later and you score five percent worse is that OK?  Is it 10?  Is it 11?  Is it one?  There’s a tolerance to everything we do in this world.  There’s not a part on our race car that isn’t built to a tolerance.  There’s not a part on the space shuttle that isn’t built to a tolerance.  The same thing could be said for this particular field.  What’s good?  What’s bad?  What’s the number?  That’s really what’s relevant to the conversation, but if there isn’t a number that’s good or bad with this style of testing, then it’s a waste of time.  It’s just another subjective field for doctors that don’t understand our sport.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR INDY CAR TEAMMATES ABOUT THIS AND WHAT THEY’VE GONE THROUGH?  “No, I have not.  But I don’t like doctors in our sport.”  IT’S KIND OF LIKE WHEN YOU WERE BEING HELD OUT OF THE TALLADEGA NATIONWIDE RACE FOR CARBON MONOXIDE.  “It was one of those interesting situations where, like you said, I was held out of a race.  I did get in the car at the last minute, but it’s subjective at best.  I had a carbon monoxide rating of five parts per whatever – I don’t know the exact numbers – and I was allowed to get back in the car at the very last minute and the interesting thing was we tested some of our crew guys throughout the remainder of that season in 2010 and we saw eights and 10s with guys that just walked through the garage, so where does it stop?  Does that mean we have to test all the crew guys?  This is not the field for doctors.  Let them play in their arena and I’ll play in mine.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 41 Maurice Petty Hall of Fame Inductee Ford Fusion – “We had a little bit of smoke coming out of the right-front, I think maybe it was a piece of tire rubber or something got up in the brake rotor.  I was just checking it out to make sure nothing was on fire, but that was a decent lap for us.  Greg Ebert and all the guys on this 41 Maurice Petty Hall of Fame Ford Fusion did a good job.  We weren’t as good as we wanted to be in practice.  In race trim we were really happy with the car, but when we switched over to qualifying we just didn’t have any speed.  But that was a good lap and Marcos was a really good car in practice to judge off of and we’re a lot closer to him than where we were in practice, so I was happy with that lap.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Driven for a Cause Ford Fusion – HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP CONSIDERING HOW PRACTICE WENT?  “Considering practice, yes.  The mistakes I just made and we still ran a .24, I’m pretty happy about that as well.  I got into one a little hard and locked up the left-front  and it really wasn’t a smooth qualifying effort like you need here at Martinsville.  We’ll definitely take that, but I think we definitely had more speed in our No. 17 Driven for a Cause Ford Fusion.  We’ll work on it tomorrow and see if we can’t get it good on the long run tomorrow and Sunday.  All in all, we went faster than we did in practice, so that’s good.”

THEY’RE MAKING PROGRESS ON FIXING THE RIGHT-REAR OF YOUR FUSION.  WHAT HAPPENED IN PRACTICE?  “It’s looking better, but I just wheel-hopped it getting into one and got up in the fence in practice.  That cost us a lot of time.”

BUT YOU WEREN’T AFRAID TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY.  YOU WERE HELPING THE GUYS FIX IT.  “Yeah, when you mess it up, you have to help fix it.  It’s not good when you don’t do that and just walk off and go right back to the trailer.  That doesn’t sit too well with them, so I got out and helped fix it.  I did all I knew how to do and then I let them finish it up.”

IT LOOKS PRETTY GOOD.  “Yeah, not bad.  We’ve got some decals that we’ll finish putting on it and make it look a lot better.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Geek Squad Ford Fusion – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MANDATORY BASELINE TESTING FOR NEXT YEAR?  “I don’t know how to think about it because at the end of the day as long as it’s really cut-and-dry it’s just information.  I guess if all the information said it would be really, really detrimental to do something, then you have to consider it, but I don’t know enough about it yet so I don’t know if I’m for it or against it.  I’m just learning.”

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE?  “The biggest thing I would like understand are the exact risks.  In an instance where the doctors or someone says, ‘Hey, there’s too much risk for you to go race.’  I can tell you different people have different thresholds for risks.  This whole thing is pretty risky, so it would be really tough to say running a race here at Martinsville, for instance, with some risk based on a doctor’s analysis might still be way, way safer than going and running any race at Talladega, so it’s really hard to kind of put that on a scale.  That’s the question I have and what I’d like to understand.  I know at the end of the day everybody is trying to help us because as race car drivers we don’t want to help ourselves very often with things like this.”

IS IT THE NATURE OF DRIVERS TO NOT WANT THE DOCTOR TO BE IN CHARGE OF WHETHER YOU GET TO RACE?  “I think it’s the nature of anybody to not want somebody to tell them when they can and can’t go to work, so I think that’s the big fear.  Nobody wants to sit out and ruin your season based on one guy’s decision, but I don’t know if that’s the case, so I don’t want to say I’m against it because I don’t understand it.  It might be the best thing that’s ever happened.  I don’t know.”

HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?  “It was OK.  If I had it to do over again I could go a little faster, but that’s probably what everyone will say.  I wish we were better.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “I missed it, so I’m a little disappointed with my lap there.  I bounced the curb on my second lap, but we’ll take it and see what happens from here.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “It’s never good to be one of the first cars out, but we’re not the only ones that have to go out early.  The track seemed to be a little tighter than it was earlier for us and we just couldn’t quite roll the center and carry enough speed that we needed to, so I’m disappointed with that.”

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “That’s not where we want to be but the Shell/Pennzoil Ford was good.  The guys did a good job with the car.  I just got a little free into one and missed the bottom a little bit, which kind of screwed up my whole timing and when I went back to the gas.  Once you get screwed up going into the corner it’s hard to figure out the rest of the corner once your timing is messed up, but I thought I had a pretty good three and four.  Hopefully, that hangs up there in the top five and we’ll see what happens.”

HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU ABOUT YOUR FIRST CHASE?  “I was really hoping to do a lot better than what we’re doing, but we’re not too far out of the top five right now in this Chase and I feel like if we can tie up these next four races together we can do it.  I thought the real surprising thing was last week in Talladega and not having some of the big crashes I think a lot of us expected.  This is another one of those wildcard races where there could be some big points swapped up.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “For whatever reason we got really loose in that time and all we did was make changes to tighten it up, so I don’t know why.  I just couldn’t get in and roll the center that well, so I’m not real happy with it.  There’s nothing we can do about it now.  We’ve just got to go racing.  I think we should be good in the race.  We felt like the car was pretty decent in race trim.  I wasn’t real happy with it in qualifying trim today because I was loose off.  For some reason, I was loose in and just couldn’t get it to the bottom real well, so we’ll see how it goes.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “It was a good pickup.  We actually spent a lot of time in race trim this morning.  We were able to come up here and test and the track was a little different than where we tested at a few weeks ago, so we were struggling.  Jay Guy and our team made some adjustments for qualifying.  We didn’t know really what to expect, so the adjustments were the right direction.  That was a good lap.  I think our Ford is pretty comfortable now in race trim being we worked on it, so it should be a fun race for Sunday.”