Harvick and Keselowski Post Top-5 Darlington Runs

NKP #4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Beer / Big Buck Hunter and #19: Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

EVENT: Bojangles’ Southern 500, Darlington, SC.

Ford Finishing Results

4th – Kevin Harvick

5th – Brad Keselowski

6th – Clint Bowyer

9th – Paul Menard

11th – Daniel Suarez

13th – Ryan Blaney

14th – Joey Logano

17th – Aric Almirola

23rd – Ryan Newman

26th – David Ragan

27th – Matt Tifft

33rd – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

36th – Corey LaJoie

38th – Michael McDowell

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Ford Mustang – “It was kind of a blue-collar top five.  We just hung around fifth to tenth all day and was able to clear off a few cars there at the end and ended up fifth.  We had really good short run speed with the Miller Ford, but we didn’t really have the long run speed and the long runs, you’ve got to have that.”

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE LATE START?  “I actually thought it was great.  I had as much fun as I’ve ever had here at Darlington.  I thought it was good.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Oscar Mayer/Velveeta Ford Mustang – “We got spun and we came back, and we did not have a top 10 finish, so it’s unfortunate.  We lost some points today, but we’ve got a lot of fight in us and we’ll go into the last one here in the regular season and fight.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU OWE THE 41?  “I have to watch the replay.  They said he hit me, but I don’t know.  He had me jacked up sideways going into the corner, so do I owe him?  Probably a little something.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “That’s what happens.  It’s really, really hard to unload a backup car and not get any laps on it.  I put our race team behind on Friday and wrecked our primary car and then we just battled all night.  At the beginning of the race we had a 30th-place car and we worked on it all night and fought really hard and got out of here with a 17th-place finish, so I’m actually real proud of that.  I know it’s crazy to be proud of a 17th-place finish, but that’s the kind of fight and perseverance and determination that I feel like will pay off in the Playoffs.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO RACE THIS LATE?  “It’s really hard.  I’ve got two little kids so a normal bedtime for me is 9:30-10:00, and we were rolling off to start the race at bedtime, but that’s why we do what we do.  I love it.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it was a long night.  Five hundred miles at Darlington is rough.”

BUT YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED A BETTER RUN WITH ONLY ONE RACE TO GO BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS START.  “Absolutely.  You want to build that momentum, but the worst thing we could do is have another 35th-place finish in a wreck and a DNF.  We did that at Michigan and Bristol, so we kind of need to right the ship and finish a race and get back on track and get the wheels turning the right direction.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Mustang – “It was an up-and-down night.  We had big swings with balance.  The whole race was in darkness, it wasn’t like we went through a transition, but we fired off really tight and did a fairly normal adjustment and got really loose.  We got back to tight with no adjustments, so I don’t know if we had some inconsistencies in tires or what, but basically just freed it up all night long and got something to show for it.  Greg made a great call and got us some track position and held on.”

YOUR FIRST CAREER TOP 10 FINISH AT DARLINGTON.  “Yeah, it feels good.  I’ve always loved this place even though she hasn’t always liked me, but it was a fun night.  Anytime you drive any car at Darlington it’s a lot of fun.  These 550-horsepower tracks sometimes get a little timid, but Darlington is one of those tracks you just have to be on all the time and it’s a lot of fun.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer/Big Buck Hunter Ford Mustang – “I don’t think it was really anything that was one spot, it was just all weekend we just struggled with the front of the car.  Really, they did a great job to do the things that we did tonight to finish fourth and made the car better all night and just had a solid night and finished fourth.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITH THE TIMING OF THIS RACE?  “For us, I ran it without air-conditioning or fans or anything.  The battery went dead, so we had to turn it all off, and luckily it was cool.  They did a good job.  It was nice and cool inside the car tonight.”

WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF THE RACE STARTING SO LATE?  “Once you get in the car it’s pretty easy to get going.  I did have an extra cup of coffee about 8 o’clock to make sure I was ready to go, so it was just a different race as far as when it started in the dark.  I think that was actually good for us to start in the dark and we made a lot of changes to the car before the race and made a lot of changes to the car during the race, and that’s just what we had to do to have a decent night because this is a strange race track with this particular rules package as far as what you want in the car, how you want the car, so I think we would do it different if we had to come back tomorrow or next week to race again, but you’ve got to find out.  You’ve got to come run the race and we were just not where we wanted to be all weekend.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – “It’s gonna be a lot of fun going to Indianapolis and have everybody all in pretty much with Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson.  I feel like we’re gonna race extremely hard all the way to the end.”

WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE BEING IN THAT GROUP.  IT HASN’T LET UP.  “I think we’re putting on a good show for you guys and all the fans, and now being tied heading to Indianapolis that makes things even more interesting, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

ARE YOU CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU BRING TO INDY?  “Yeah, for sure.  My team has been strong.  I feel like today we missed it a little bit.  We had a faster car than 11th, but we just missed it for whatever reason heading into the race.  We have to study what happened and come back stronger.”

WHAT HAPPENED WITH NEWMAN?  “That’s a racing thing.  I didn’t touch him.  As a driver it’s very, very easy to know that the guy behind you is very, very close and to feel that air, but he’s experienced to know.  Once he sees the race he’s going to realize that we didn’t touch.  It was everything aero and just hard racing, that’s it.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang – THERE WAS A MOMENT WHERE THE 48 WAS UNDER YOU COMING OUT OF THE TURN AND JUST ABOUT CLEANED YOU BOTH OUT.  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?  “You’re just holding on.  I pushed it too hard in the front side of that run.  You get out there in that clean air and the girl wants to run and I pushed it too hard on the front side of that run.  That was our deficit all weekend long was front turn.  That’s kind of been the M.O. for us in our organization.  We’ve been fighting that, but that was a lesson learned there.  I pushed it too hard on the front side of that trying to get those stage points and it cost me three or four spots at least, and then obviously the situation there at the end with Jimmie just trying to hold on and fend for spots.  He’s doing everything he can do to make the Playoffs and we are too.  You don’t want to race those guys like that.  He’s one of my ol’ heroes, a good friend, but that’s all out the window when you’re on the race track.”

YOU’RE 15TH RIGHT NOW GOING TO INDY.  IS THAT A RELIEF TO GAIN POINTS?  “Yes, it is.  That was the task at hand.  We put ourselves back in position, but, kid you not, yes, I want to make the Playoffs, but I want to make the Playoffs to get past the first round and to hit that thing in stride and race to our capabilities.  Tonight was our capability.  Single-digit finishes we’re capable of rattling off and this was a good shot in the arm, a momentum boost for our race team going into that last race in Indy, and if we can do that again is what I’m looking for because, again, you always have to be looking down the road.  Yes, the task at hand is right here in front of us, at the forefront of making the Playoffs, but, man, to be honest with you, my eye is on making those Playoffs and getting through that first round.  It’s kind of like racing on this race track, you’re racing that guy in front of you, but you’ve always got your eye on the guy in front of him as well.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Mustang – “I saw the 8 start to get loose like he blew a tire and chased it up the track.  I was already on the bottom and I saw the 11 and a few other cars on the top and they were just trying to get down and we all kind of jumped on the brakes.  You’re so fast at that point when you jump on the brakes the cars get pretty loose and out of control.  I think I got clipped by the 11 in the right-rear and just kind of turned me hard right into the wall and in front of the field, but it’s really unfortunate.  We had a decent Dockside Logistics throwback car.  We were logging laps trying to get to the end and were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance

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