Ryan Blaney Puts Mustang on Phoenix Cup Pole

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RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – DOES IT FEEL DIFFERENT OUT THERE?  “Yeah, it’s a pretty decent amount different.  You can feel it.  You can feel the taller spoiler, bigger splitter, you can really feel that, especially turn one and two since it’s really flat.  I feel like you can get in there a little bit faster, roll a lot faster, get back to the throttle sooner.  Three and four are pretty similar.  Maybe your on-throttle point is a little bit faster, but one and two you really get the difference just because it’s so flat and you’re rolling off-throttle off-brake there for so long.  You can feel the speed difference.  I don’t know how much faster we were – three or four-tenths faster than last year qualifying – and you can definitely feel it.  It took a run or two to kind of get used to in practice how far you could push it, so, yeah, it’s interesting to overlay driver inputs from last year to this year just to see how much less brake you’re using, how much more throttle on time it is.”

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CEMENT THE DEAL AND WIN ON SUNDAY?  “We just have to clean some stuff up.  It’s been unfortunate.  While it’s nice to have Penske winning and obviously I’m selfish and I want to win, but it’s good to have our cars really fast and our finishes definitely don’t reflect how we’ve been running.  We’ve been really fast this year at all three places so far.  We didn’t even really get to race at Vegas.  We had that tire problem that first stop and tried to play catch-up all day.  Atlanta we led a bunch of laps and then had that deal on pit road, just trying to clean up some stuff and maybe get a little bit of luck on our side.  The best thing we can do is control the things we can control and if we keep bring fast cars to the race track hopefully it will work out for you one of these times.  I want to be part of the win club here in the Penske group.  It’s nice to have the whole team really fast right now.  We fired out of the box really good this year, so hopefully you just keep it going and keep working hard.  You can never really settle.  I feel like Penske is the best group right now for sure.  We’re still working every day to try and get better and better, so we just need to clean up some things and, like I said, the speed is there it’s just a matter of stop running into issues and I think we’ll be pretty good.”

SO YOUR TEAMMATES CAN’T COPY YOUR SETUP SO THEY GO THE SAME SPEED AS YOU?  “Our group, the Penske group, we share a lot of information between four teams really – between Penske group and the Wood Brothers team.  They’ve always been really open with each other.  The crew chiefs are very open and any team will tell you that a driver likes their certain feel.  Even though some times we’ll show up pretty similar to our teammates, there are little things that the driver likes that they’ve always kind of had that they’ll leave on the car, but we’ve done that multiple times as a team.  I’d say I’m struggling somewhere and the 22 car or 2 car is really good, maybe we’ll go on their direction and vice versa.  It’s just the benefit of having teammates and an open notebook when it comes to teammates, so I don’t know what changes we’ve made for tomorrow.  Tomorrow we wipe the whole slate clean.  Race trim is completely different.  You’ll just see how your speed is there, but we share a lot of info and the crew chiefs will kind of bounce ideas off each other and kind of go on a path one is going if it’s working a little bit better if the other team is struggling a little bit.”

RACE TRIM IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT SO HOW DO YOU FIND THAT OUT?  “I have no idea.  Wedge is different. Track bar heights are different.  Air pressure is different.  Grille tape is way different and that just changes all these things in your car for race trim to make it last.  Qualifying you’re obviously just trying to do one or two laps fast.  Race trim here you’re gonna have to do 50 or 60 laps and just get them to hang on.  Tomorrow is when you figure out how good you’re gonna be in the race.  Now, I’ve had really fast cars on Friday and terrible on Sunday and it’s been vice versa sometimes where sometimes your car is fast all weekend.  You don’t really know until you get on track tomorrow.”

WOULDN’T IT BE LOGICAL TO WORK ON RACE TRIM FRIDAY?  “You want to start up front.  I think maybe only one or two cars did race trim today in practice just because practices are so short.  We only had 50 minutes for practice, so it’s a long transition to kind of change over everything to qualifying trim.  Now when we had, I don’t know where we were – Atlanta I think – we had an hour 20 minutes, so a lot of teams started in race trim and kind of ran two or three times to get an idea of where they want to start on Saturday and then they change over to qualifying trim on Friday.  You’ll see that a lot, but when it’s 50 minute practices a lot of teams just do qualifying trim.”

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