Harvick Leads Ford With 3rd-Place Run at Charlotte Roval

NKP #4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Jimmy John’s

Ford Finishing Results:

3rd – Kevin Harvick

4th – Clint Bowyer

5th – Brad Keselowski

8th – Ryan Blaney

10th – Joey Logano

12th – Michael McDowell

14th – Aric Almirola

16th – Paul Menard

17th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25th – Matt Tifft

27th – Corey LaJoie

32nd – Ryan Newman

34th – Daniel Suarez

35th – David Ragan

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang – “We did what we had to do.  We knew what we had to do all weekend long.  We knew we had to dig ourselves out of a hole we put ourselves in at Vegas.  We had a good weekend last weekend and had a great weekend this weekend.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda – maybe a little bit more aggressive on those restarts, but, again, you could have got yourself wrecked too.  When it got down there to the end and we got our stage points and got ourselves in contention and was where we needed to be, it was time to re-evaluate your situation and where you were running and just protect.  We were in protection mode.  That 9 and the 88 coming on those tires, man.  It seems like every cycle would hurt old tires.  I think if we could have got back green I honestly think Kevin would have won the race.  I don’t know what, just heat-soaked or whatever else, we were a good bit slower after those cycles than we were before them, so I was bummed out for Kevin.  He dominated that race and was up front all day long and looked to deliver Stewart-Haas our first Roval win, but I’m proud of everybody’s efforts.  It was a team effort for sure all across the board.  We worked together, practiced well, leaned on each other when we needed to and was courteous to one another on restarts and that’s the way a four-car team needs to work.”

ARE YOU READY TO RESET NOW?  “Hell, yes.  I’m excited to reset and not be playing catch-up.  I won’t put ourselves in a hole again.  Dover is a good track for me.  Dover is a good track for our organization.  I feel like we can get reset and go for that next Round of 8.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – HOW WAS THE HEAT?  “Yeah, it was tough.  That’s part of it.  They pay us to drive race cars and we don’t get to pick the weather, so some days it’s really hot and miserable and that’s what you train for.”  DID THE SIDE WINDOW MAKE A DIFFERENCE?  “It’s just hot in general.  We’re inside of a race car with engine temps 250-300 degrees.  The cars get really hot, so there’s nothing you can do.  It’s just part of it and that’s why we do what we do.” 

WHAT DID YOU NEED TO GET MORE?  “I don’t know.  I think they said we missed by five points, so the strategy we were on if the race would have continued to go green to the end we were gonna be in a good situation.  I think we were seven or eight points to the good.  That caution came out and kind of put us in a spot to where we had to choose, and I knew and Johnny knew that all the guys we were racing in points were gonna do the opposite of whatever we did.  We were the first car ahead of all those guys on the cutline, so we stayed out and made our bed and all those guys came and got tires.  That’s just part of it.”

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN NEWMAN JUMPED THE CHICANE?  “I knew he was gonna have to make a pass-through.  I was putting a lot of pressure on him there trying to get by him.  He was either gonna make a mistake or I was gonna move him out of the way and he made a mistake, but it wasn’t enough.  We still had to get more cars, so I think we came up four or five points short.”

HOW FRUSTRATED ARE YOU?  “I don’t know.  I’m disappointed.  It didn’t work out the way that I wanted it to, but I’m still really blessed and fortunate to have this opportunity.  So many people put a lot behind me.  Everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield, Ford Motor Company and so it stings, but the sun is gonna come up tomorrow, I’m still gonna be Aric Almirola, I’m still gonna be a husband and a father.  They’re not gonna take my birthday away, so as disappointing as it is, it’s not the end of the world.  We’ll move on to Dover next week and continue to fight and battle.  It’s still really achievable to go and finish fifth in the points.  We did that last year and we can go have some good runs, but most importantly we just need to continue to build for next year.  Off the top of my head I can’t help but think about 2017, the 22 missed the Playoffs and then comes back the very next year and wins the championship.  We can’t let this define us, missing the next round and the cut.  We’ll continue to build and sometimes you go through adversity and it makes you better and strong.  Last year, it seemed like everything kind of came relatively easy for a new race team and me being new to the organization to go on the run that we had last year and finish fifth in the points.  Unfortunately, this year we’re going through some adversity.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Performance Plus Ford Mustang – “I felt like I made a lot of mistakes trying too hard.  We did not have the race car and that’s what I had to do.  I felt like we were in a position at one point and then just kept trying too hard trying to keep the 10 car behind us and missed the curbs.  That was unfortunate.  We came in at a big deficiency and finished one point out or whatever it was, but, no matter what, we’re still gonna fight for fifth.  I’m proud of everybody at Roush Fenway for the fight and the opportunity that they’ve given me.  We’re not done, we’re just out at this point.”

ANY SATISFACTION WITH HOW YOU CARRIED THE TEAM ON YOUR BACK?  “I didn’t carry the team on my back.  We worked together.  They carried me.  I carried them at times and it’s a team effort.  It was a team effort today that failed, but it’s still a team effort and I’m just really proud of everybody’s hard work.  We’re not done.  We’re gonna keep digging.  We’ve got some stuff up our sleeve for later in this Playoff and we’ll do what we can to try to get to fifth.”

WHAT HAPPENED WITH SUAREZ OUT THERE?  “We had a little miscommunication.  I missed the curbs down there in the chicane and I was under the impression that I had to do a stop-and-go over there, but then they told me I had to do a pass-through, I guess because I didn’t get it that lap, so I zigged and zagged and I guess got him turned around or whatever.  It wasn’t anything intentional by any means, but whether he thought it was or didn’t I didn’t really care.”

WHAT ABOUT THE CHICANE RULE?  “I really don’t like this race track at all, so asking me about the chicane is not gonna narrow it down.”

DOES HAVING A DAUGHTER HERE KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE?  “It’s awesome to have her here.  That’s special for me to have her come out and be a part of this.  It doesn’t make it all better, but it surely makes it better.”

YOU GAVE ALL YOU COULD.  “Yeah, we just didn’t have it.  I screwed up several times.  We didn’t have a great race car, struggled all weekend, didn’t qualify good, just nothing went our way, but that’s racing and those other guys did a better job.  Obviously, the Hendrick guys had a great road course package and we didn’t and we just didn’t do a good enough job, period.”

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU PEAKED A LITTLE LATE COMING INTO A NEW PROGRAM?  “Yeah, but we worked hard and we did what we did, and we’re just gonna keep building on it.  We learned from today.  We’ve learned from the last two races and we learned from every race before that.  There’s a lot of racing left to go and we’ll keep digging.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang – “Honestly, it was a great day for us.  Without all of those cautions at the end, or one or two less, I think our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang probably still wins the race, but I could see that 9 creeping in my mirror and I knew how good his car was from practice yesterday.  Once he got to us, he just rolled right around the outside of us.  I thought if I could just get through turn one and beat the 19, I’d be in decent shape, but the 9 was just so good even after he crashed.”  YOU THINKING DOVER?  “It’s not Monday yet.  We’re gonna enjoy this one.  We worked hard to try to have a better showing here this year than last year and all that work paid off.  We’re closer.  We’re not where we need to be with the Hendrick cars, but we’re getting close.” 

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang – AN EVENTFUL DAY FOR YOU.  “We definitely had a lot of ups and downs.  I thought we did a pretty decent job most of the day finding ourselves towards the front.  There were a lot of mixed strategies with the way the cautions fell.  I messed up really bad and hit the fence and really set us back, but I’m really proud of the whole group for fighting and getting it fixed to where we could make some ground.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – ARE YOU ANY MORE CONFIDENT HERE AFTER TWO RACES ON THE ROVAL?  “Confident about what?  That we’re all gonna crash?  Yes.  It’s a mess.”

HOW TAXING WAS THIS RACE WITH THE HEAT?  “It was so hot.  It was brutal inside the car.  The temperature was up for sure.  It was a tough day.  It was really tough in there.  During that red flag I think everyone was probably ready to pass out in there, so it’s nice to have a little shade come over right now.”

YOU’VE BEEN OFF THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS.  “Today is on me.  We had a pretty good car, something that could compete.  We were in the top five there the first stage and looked like we were gonna have a car that could contend and then I just made a mistake on pit road and hit the wall.  It’s not speed.  I keep saying that.  It’s not that we’re far off on speed, we just have to clean up the races and today is on me.”

WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD?  “I didn’t hear anything about the air hose yet.  I just came off pit road there and the 1 was underneath me and I wanted to clear him into the corner and I drove off in there probably a little bit too hard and just went sliding.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL?  “That was a hot race, pretty miserable, but we got through with a decent finish and made the most with what we had.” 

DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THE LEADERS WITH TRACK POSITION?  “No, I think Chase could have ran around on seven cylinders.  He was handling so good that nobody was gonna touch him.” 

WERE YOU MORE CONSERVATIVE ON THE RESTARTS WITH WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR HERE?  “Maybe a touch, nothing too much.  I didn’t really have the lead on any of the restarts, so it’s hard to say.” 

WHAT WERE PASSING CONDITIONS LIKE?  “You could pass, you just had to be super, super fast and the 9 car was that.” 

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT ROUND?  “I’m ready to go have a beer.  It was a hot one and we got through with a decent finish and that was all we had.” 

WITHOUT ALL THE YELLOWS DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THEM?  “We had new tires than everybody, but it didn’t really matter.  The 9 car was so much faster than everyone.  He passed everybody on old tires.  I don’t know what they had, but we need to come back with that.” 

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU LEFT IT ALL ON THE TRACK.  “Yeah, that’s what you’ve got to do.  That’s what the Playoffs are about.”

Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance

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