Logano Wins Pole And Leads Ford Sweep of Top Four Spots at Martinsville

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·         Joey Logano captured the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

·         This is his 21st pole in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

·         It also marks his 5th series pole in the last 7 MENCS qualifying sessions at the track (Sessions that weren’t rained out).

Ford Qualifying Results

1st – Joey Logano

2nd – Aric Almirola

3rd – Brad Keselowski

4th – Kevin Harvick

10th – Daniel Suarez

11th – Clint Bowyer

15th – Paul Menard

18th – Ryan Blaney

21st – Ryan Newman

24th – Michael McDowell

25th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

26th – David Ragan

32nd – Matt Tifft

35th – Corey LaJoie

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a great lap.  I think we were able to get through the first couple rounds without putting many laps on our tires and that really paid a reward as we got to the third round.  The car was pretty good.  The car wasn’t too far off.  We didn’t make a mock qualifying run in practice, so it was a little bit of an unknown when you roll into qualifying here, but the guys did a good job of making the right adjustments to have something pretty close, to be able to carry a lot of speed and ultimately to be able to get the pole here.  It’s important to win a pole here, to start up front is obviously safer, but you can also run your pace and a safer place on pit road as well, so I think when you think of that stuff it gives you an advantage going into tomorrow’s race, so hopefully we can turn that into a win.”

HAVE YOU FOUND SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU SO GOOD HERE IN QUALIFYING?  “I don’t think it’s by chance.  We definitely work at it a lot and talk about it a lot and it’s just been a track for most of my career I’ve qualified pretty well at, but once I’ve been able to team up with Todd and Team Penske here I’ve really been able to turn those pretty close qualifying efforts to poles.  That’s nice.  That’s great.  It’s something that it’s a challenging place to do it because there’s just so much that goes into each round and each lap.  You know you want to try to set yourself up for the third round, but is it gonna be your second lap, your third lap or your first lap that’s your fastest?  And how that strategy is and what you’re doing each round really makes a difference when you get to that third round.  There’s a lot that goes into it.  It’s a fast car obviously, but I think there’s even more than that that allows us to make a run at it at least here at Martinsville.  Like I said, it’s not just one lap like most tracks we go to – you lay down one and you’re done.  Here, you’ve got to run quite a few laps to be able to lay down a fast one, which makes me run out of breath, by the way. It’s like the most intense qualifying session for me. I don’t know why that is.  We go slower here than anywhere else we go and I’m breathing harder than anywhere else we go, so there must be something to it.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP CHANGED YOUR LIFE OR HOW YOU DRIVE NOW?  “For me, it didn’t really change much.  I joked around over the offseason that when I got to Daytona everybody said, ‘Hey Champ,’ instead of, ‘Hey Man.’  That’s kind of cool.  Joey would have been just fine too, but I think really not much changed.  It was great.  We enjoyed it.  We had a lot of fun and so many memories that will last a lifetime for all of us – for our whole team it was our first championship – so you could imagine what that’s like for everybody on the race team.  We sent the trophy going to each team member for a week and that trophy is still on tour.  I haven’t even seen it yet, so it’s been going all over the place, but that’s all really last year.  We’ve focused back in to try to win another championship this year, so we’re fighting hard to do that again.  It doesn’t change who I am.  It doesn’t change the way I race.  We have to do the same things that got us there the first time and just trying to improve on that.”

TWO YEARS AGO YOU HAVE A ROUGH PATCH WHERE YOU COULDN’T FIND SPEED AND THEN GOT THAT BACK LAST YEAR.  DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING BACK THEN THAT MAKES YOU APPRECIATE THIS EVEN MORE?  “It’s funny sometimes in sports I think if you win a lot you almost kind of take it for granted and it’s a horrible place to be.  You kind of want to be in that spot, but you don’t ever want to take a win for granted because you never know when it’s going to be your last one.  For us, I started thinking a couple years back when we missed the Playoffs after coming off of almost winning the championship and finishing second you kind of expect to make the Playoffs, you expect to win races and we didn’t.  All of a sudden it’s kind of like that setback that you take a minute to think about what those wins were like and how bad you want them back again.  I think God does that for a reason sometimes.  I think sometimes you need a little reset.  I know it was much needed for me and probably our race team to change our mindsets a little bit and come off our high a little bit on how big and bad we thought we were and I think once we kind of took a slice of humble pie we started to improve again and get back to where we want to be.  We don’t want to go down that road again.  Probably the biggest lesson we’ve learned is to stay humble throughout all this because it changes so quick.”

DID IT MAKE YOU A BETTER TEAM?  “Yeah.  If you can stick together through those situations you become stronger.  The thing is a lot of times in those situations teams don’t stick together, so I think if you can fight through it and get through it in one piece I think you become stronger for sure.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 SHAZAM/Smithfield Ford Mustang – ARE THE KIDS ENJOYING THIS SPONSORSHIP?  “Yeah, they’re having fun with it.  They’re enjoying dad being a superhero for the day.”

DID YOU FEEL LIKE A SUPERHERO UNTIL THE LAST 35 SECONDS OF QUALIFYING?  “I felt good about it.  I knew that I made a mistake, so I was hoping that we’d get away with it just with the speed that we had in our car, but the 22 is always really good here and typically when you show up here you’re gonna have to beat the 22 to get the pole, at least it’s been that way the last several years, so I felt like we had a good shot at it and I made a small mistake right there that cost us a little bit too much time.”

IS THIS THE BEST START FOR A SUNDAY RACE HERE?  “Yeah, I think so.  I think this is the best start and the best position that we’ve been in.  I feel like our car is pretty good, so hopefully we can make sure it’s got the speed and stays with me for all 500 laps tomorrow.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Reese/Draw Tite Ford Mustang – WHY IS THIS SUCH A CHALLENING SHORT TRACK?  “It’s just really tight confines.  I think there are 40-some cars on the track that is probably made for 20 and there’s not a lot of real estate.  There’s nowhere to hide, that’s for darn sure, and when you get to a place like California there’s a lot of room to hide.  If you’re having a bad day there are spots where people never see you.  ‘I didn’t even know you were on the race track.’  Here, you know.  You’re like, ‘I’ve got to pass this guy again?’  So that causes some hurt feelings, but even when you are racing people that are pretty decent there’s really only one way around the race track, at least besides restarts and that’s on the bottom lane, and you have to be quite a bit faster in order to really pull up beside someone and pass them, so it’s difficult but I like that.  It’s a good challenge.”

DO YOU THINK IT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT SHORT TRACK?  “No, I think Bristol will be the most difficult short track.  I don’t know how we’re gonna run Bristol.  That’s gonna be absurd.  I don’t think the drivers are gonna be able to take it.  I don’t think the cars are gonna be able to take it.  I know the tire is not gonna be able to take it, but we’ll see.”

WHAT ABOUT TEXAS NEXT WEEK?  “It’s been a good start to the year, but you don’t want to rest on your laurels.  We’ve got a lot of room for improvement across the board.  It’s still very early in the season and very early in the car development cycles.  I think I said this at the start of the season, we won’t really know what people have and we won’t really see the season kind of settle in I think until Kansas.  That’s when everybody gets back from the west coast.  They start to understand how the rules are going to be enforced and the engineering teams start to develop.  We’re off to a good start.  I’m not complaining.  I’m not gonna trade it for anything, but I’m also very realistic that the dust hasn’t settled.”

JOEY HAD THE GREAT FINISH WITH TRUEX.  IS THAT WHAT A DRIVER DREAMS ABOUT?  “No, that’s not what I dream about.  I want to lead every lap and I want to make it the most boring race you’ve ever seen in your life.  That’s what I dream of.”

PUT EVERYBODY DOWN A COUPLE OF LAPS.  “Yeah, I have no interest in making a good show (laughing).

HOW IS MARTINSVILLE DIFFERENT WITH MORE DOWNFORCE?  “The cars are just a little faster and a little easier to drive, at least at the moment by themselves.  A lot more stability on corner entry and ability to use the brakes harder, so that’s the difference so far.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang – “That’s way better than we have been here for qualifying day for sure.  I feel good about our car.  In the past this has definitely been a struggle for us, so we qualified well and had two good practices and were able to feel good about it.  It might be totally different tomorrow, but it’s been a great day.”

DID YOU MOCK UP IN QUALIYFING?  “We mocked up, but I think for me it was really just trying to find that rhythm.  The car was good right off the truck and to be able to find the rhythm was a best-case scenario for me with the way that the car was driving.”


HOW WILL MORE DOWNFORCE IMPACT THIS RACE TOMORROW?  “I bailed on having an opinion on rules and downforce the middle of last year, so I just am working on the best that I can to make my car and whatever the rules are we’re gonna try to make it drive the best that we can, so that isn’t really something I’ve even thought about honestly.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – “I think it’s OK.  I feel like the whole day we’ve had top 10 speed.  People asked me before qualifying where I thought we were going to end up and I said that if we had an OK day we would be top 10 and a good day a top five.  We had an OK day.  I feel that we have a little bit more speed than that we just have to be able to figure out how to turn a little bit better in the center of the corner.  We have to work a little bit on that.  We have time tonight to sleep on it and think about it and hopefully we can have some good ideas for tomorrow and chip away at it.”

HAS IT BEEN ENCOURAGING TO SEE HOW SHR QUALIFIED TODAY?  “I think that’s definitely good.  I think we have to remember that this race track is different than anyplace else that we go.  I think we have some work to do.  Here at Martinsville we know we have good speed, almost everyone on the top 10 and Clint is in 11th, so that’s a good day, but we definitely have some work to do for some of the other race tracks.  We have a great group behind us and we just have to work a little bit on it.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Acorns Ford Mustang – “We were just too loose in qualifying and couldn’t get the speed out of the car because I couldn’t push it.  We’ll get the Acorns Ford tuned up for tomorrow.  I felt like we had a decent car in race trim.  We were running right there with the 2 and the 22, so I think that says a little something, but it’s an entirely different deal tomorrow being 500 laps and survival of the fittest and keeping ourselves on the lead lap and being there at the end.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang – “That was not very good.  We need to be better.  I’m not very good at qualifying here.”

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN THIS RACE TOMORROW?  “The same thing as last year.  We just have to be faster than the rest of them.”

WHERE DOES WINNING LAST YEAR RANK FOR YOU HERE?  “Obviously, it was my best memory here, but that was my memory.  It’s neat to have a historic trophy in your house.  It doesn’t matter when it happened or how it happened, it’s a pretty historic place and old-school mentality and old-school racing and it’s cool to have that trophy.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford Mustang – “We’ll start midpack, right where the action is, so hopefully we don’t get tore up in the first 20 and see if we can march our way forward.  That’s definitely not the qualifying we wanted and hopefully the race car is good enough to drive through there.” 

HOW IS YOUR CAR AND WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR TOMORROW?  “We were 19th, so we were as fast as 19th and hopefully our race car is pretty good tomorrow.  We made a couple long runs and I thought we were OK.  You just hope you hang on and hope you don’t get destroyed in the first 20 laps of this thing.  Starting back there it kind of bottle necks pretty bad.  It’s obviously not what we wanted and not where we want to start, but you just hope you stay clean for 500 laps and your car is good enough on long runs and we can kind of drive up there and try to keep the fenders on it and keep tires on it and see if you can march forward.”

WHAT HAPPENED COMING OFF TURN FOUR?  “About everything.  I was really loose the first run and we tightened it up and I was still loose getting in the corner tight-middle and just like the snappy-loose off, so we just didn’t really help it.  I needed the help on three parts of the corner and we didn’t help it on any part, we just made it tight in the middle, so we just didn’t have the right adjustment there, so we just have to go look and see what we need to do better to help it next time.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Mustang – “It’s about where we expected, I guess.  We weren’t really strong in qualifying trim in practice, and our first run I thought that we could have picked up for the second round.  We didn’t do any adjustments and just got pretty tight, so it kept getting faster as I ran, so stayed out a little bit too long probably for brakes, but it was pretty much where we were at.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 A&W All-American Foods Ford Mustang – “Unfortunately, it took everything we had to get in that second round.  That was about what we had and I used the tires up pretty good to get that, so it was just a bit too free, which I think will be fine for the race tomorrow.  We’ll just keep plugging away at it.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT BEING THE FIRST ONE CITED FOR SPEEING ON PIT ROAD DURING QUALIFYING?  “We actually ran the same exact lap time both times out, so I guess it didn’t really bite us too bad.  I always thought about the speed limit being leaving pit road.  I didn’t really think about it coming in to pit road.  I didn’t really know what the rule was, so, anyway, we were just too tight.  We haven’t really had very good speed all weekend, which we never do when we come here, so it’s always a struggle at Martinsville for us.  I felt OK on the long run with our Fastenal Ford, but no fast speed right out of the box.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 MDS Transport Ford Mustang – “We just got too loose in qualifying.  We made some adjustments for the race and I think the track was probably a little greener than I thought.  They did a good job of cleaning it up.  It didn’t have a lot of rubber left over from the truck race that we were anticipating, so that’s the way Cup racing is on short tracks.  A tenth is 10 spots front or back, so we just missed it a little, but I’ve been real happy with our Ford Mustang this weekend.  I think we’ve got good long run speed and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

MATT TIFFT, No. 36 Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford Mustang – “Obviously, it’s always tough to start in the back here just because once the train starts going up front it’s hard to get yourself out of the mess that goes on back there.  We haven’t done the best job so far this year on qualifying days, so we still need to get stronger there.  Our race days have been better these last few weeks where we’ve picked up a bunch of spots in there.  It’s gonna be tough because these cars the center speeds are so quick.  The thing we’re struggling with right now is we’re not able to get off the brakes and let it roll because we’re kind of fighting the right-rear shooting out from under us right now.  Until we get that figured out, it’s kind of hard to be able to roll the center and that’s where our speed just is right now.”

Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance

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