Ford Performance NASCAR: Four Mustangs Post Top-10 Finishes in Phoenix

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RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – “We were on two tires and I just held on.  Actually, ours held on a lot better than what I thought it was going to, but then when it got to 30 to go or 25 to go I got kind of tight and I couldn’t hit three and four anymore, and then I ran up on lap traffic and it absolutely killed me.  Once we got passed, we were kind of close on gas, so it was full fuel save mode when you know you’re not gonna win the race.  It was a good call to take two tires.  I don’t think we would have got to third on four because it was hard to pass out there.  I’m proud of this team.  We needed that.  That’s where we’ve been running all year, it just hasn’t been where we’ve been finishing.”

DO YOU THINK CONTACT WITH THE LAPPED CAR MADE A DIFFERENCE?  “No, I don’t think so.  I don’t know what that was about.  He raced me for a lap-and-a-half and he’s a lap down.  I don’t know.  We just kind of got into each other, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it.”

HOW TOUGH IS IT WHEN YOU HAVE TO SAVE FUEL AND HOLD OFF GUYS THAT ARE CHARGING HARD?  “There were a couple of things.  We had two tires and that got us track position.  I think we restarted sixth or fourth or third and then got to the lead and just kept moving up every restart.  That put us in that spot and it actually held on better than what I thought it was going to on two.  It’s just we kind of caught up to lapped cars and got late in the run and then just started falling back.  Then once we get passed for the lead it’s fuel save mode, just trying to finish it when you know you’re not gonna win.  It’s the kind of day we needed.  We’ve been poised to have days like this, contend for wins and run top 5 it just hasn’t happened this year.  We haven’t gotten the finishes we deserved and this is more like it, so that was good.  This is a good place to start and hopefully we can keep on going.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “We had a good car, but we’re just not quite as good as we need to be.  We still have work to do, but I’m really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.  We keep chipping away.  That’s three top 10s in a row, our first top 5 of the year, so we’re getting there.  Our cars are getting a little better, but we just have to keep working and keep finding more speed.  We have a great race team and we’ll continue to improve on what we’ve got, so we’ll just keep working.  Our Smithfield Ford Mustang was decent, but just not quite good enough.”

WHY WAS IT SO HARD TO PASS TODAY?  “It’s always really tough to pass at Phoenix, but then when you put more downforce in the cars we’re going across the middle of the corner faster and cars are punching a bigger hole in the air with a bigger spoiler, it just inherently makes the cars a lot harder to drive when you’re behind and in traffic.  That’s nothing new.  I think we all kind of knew that going in and expected it and it’s really just a product of what we have going on right now.”

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

EVENT: TicketGuardian 500 (ISM Raceway)

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – “It was really, really, really, really, really hard to pass.  You start to catch a car and you just stop.  That big spoiler on the back just makes it really, really challenging to even get to the car in front of you to make something happen, so restarts became everything.  If you can get through the first couple laps and settle out, you were fine.  It’s just very challenging behind a car to even keep up to speed and then what happens is you get behind him and that makes the tires mad and you go slower.  You’re better off just getting there and riding and hopefully that car falls off enough to where you can maybe get close enough to make a move or wait until there’s a lapped car and try to make a pass or something like that.  That was tough.  That was hard.”

THAT’S WHY RESTARTS ARE SO CRAZY BECAUSE GUYS REALIZE THEY HAVE TO GO AT THAT POINT?  “Yeah, you had to.  Plus, the cars have more grip on restarts, so cars are really sending it off in there.  With the bigger blades it seems like they’re able to be more aggressive on restarts, but, like I said, after that it didn’t matter how aggressive you were you weren’t gonna get there.  It’s too hard to catch them.”

WHEN YOU WERE KYLE’S TEAMMATE DID YOU EVER THINK HE WOULD GET TO 200 WINS ACROSS THREE DIFFERENT SERIES?  “That’s incredible.  That’s a lot of races.  It’s pretty incredible, honestly, with what he’s done in the modern day to be able to do that.  I know he’s got a lot of Cup wins to go with the Xfinity and Truck wins, but the Cup wins, to me, are the most impressive part – that he’s able to do that.  I guess the fact that’s impressive to me is he owns his own truck and he’s running his own race team there.  That’s impressive.  It’s hard to do and it’s something I don’t ever really want to do.  Obviously, when he’s running the Gibbs Xfinity cars they’re so fast and he’s able to stack them up there as well, and he’s not too bad in the Cup Series.”

52 CUP WINS..”That’s a lot of wins.  That’s a whole bunch.  It’s gonna be tough to catch.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang – “It took us I don’t even know how long to get past cars that were six, seven, eight-tenths slower than us at the end of the race, so just extremely difficult to pass.  We got shuffled there on the restarts and just decided to come down and get tires and see if we could do something better than being in the middle on two tires, and it took us a long time to get back going.”

WAS IT THE PACKAGE THAT TOOK A WHILE TO GET GOING OR THE TIRES?  “It’s just all of it.”

KYLE BUSCH HAS 199 WINS ACROSS ALL THREE SERIES.  WHAT WOULD THAT ACCOMPLISH?  “One more than 199.”

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Page 3

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

EVENT: TicketGuardian 500 (ISM Raceway)

KEVIN HARVICK CONTINUED — HOW IMPORTANT ARE STAGE POINTS THIS EARLY IN THE YEAR?  “With how important track position is it’s gonna be extremely important.  We’ve seen the cars extremely difficult to handle in traffic through the first three races, so better score all the points you can because it’s gonna come down to track position.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE RACE FOR WHEN YOU COME BACK?  “Just restart first.”

DO YOU THINK THE TRACK POSITION SITUATION IS CATCHING PEOPLE OFF-GUARD WITH JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT IS?  “The worst race that we see at Phoenix is the IndyCar race and they’re the fastest cars and they don’t pass each other one bit.  I don’t know that faster is the answer to more passing, but obviously we can make our car better, but I think Kyle made it through.  It sounds like Blaney was leading and saving gas.  I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but he was able to manage traffic.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Mustang – “I just came off the corner and I noticed that the throttle pedal was gone.  I knew I was in trouble at that point because it was still wide-open, so I tried hitting the ignition and jumping on the brakes and did everything I could to keep it up against the wall and try not to make a big mess.  I was trying not to run into the car in front of me, which I think was Menard.  I was just jamming on the brakes as hard as I could to try to get it to slow down and not take a bunch of people with me.”

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