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2017 Michigan II: Ford NASCAR Monster Energy Qualifying Quotes
Posted by: ASkyler on Aug 12, 2017 - 08:06 AM
2017 Michigan II: Ford NASCAR Monster Energy Qualifying Quotes

BRAD KESELOWSKI - No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion - YOU WERE BAD-FAST THAT LAST ROUND: "Yeah. Paul Wolfe and my team, they kept dialing in on the car and kept working on it. I've got goosebumps. It feels really good to run well here at Michigan. This is my home track. A lot of fans here. I have to put my glasses on so nobody can see me. Really cool. Really special."

WHAT WILL YOU BE LOOKING WORKING ON TOMORROW TO GET YOUR CAR RACE READY? "I haven't really thought about it. I'm really caught up in the moment. I'm going to enjoy this and let him (Paul Wolfe) worry about that."

RYAN BLANEY - No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion - WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE FINAL ROUND OF QUALIFYING? "About backing it into the fence into Turn 1. I just got loose over there. You lose time in one corner and you can't make it up. I'm proud of the first two rounds. We didn't tighten up for the last round. We have good speed in our car. Hopefully we should be able to drive up through everybody in the race."

KEVIN HARVICK - No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion - "We ran our fastest lap in the last round. I held it just a little bit too wide getting into one and it chattered two or three times coming down the hill and I knew when I put the throttle down that I didnít have quite enough speed to carry in there, but I had the car to do it. It was a good lap for our Busch Light Ford."

HOW ABOUT THIS BEING A GOOD START TO THE WEEKEND? "Weíve got track position. Weíll get a good pit stall. Weíll have all the things we need to start the race, so everything has gone good so far."

JOEY LOGANO - No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion - "It seems like Team Penske has brought some speed, even the 21, and really most of the Fords look pretty good here. Thatís a good sign. I think we were really good in race trim, too. I feel good about it. Obviously a good starting spot and a good pit stall is gonna be key, and hopefully we can just maintain that track position and we need to win, so this is a good start."

HOW DO YOU NOT LET THAT PRESSURE OF NEEDING A WIN GET TO YOU? "I love the pressure. Iím all right with pressure. Itís good. Iíd rather be in, but the pressure part is OK. Youíve got to get used to that, but thatís what this sport is, especially during the Playoffs. We just have to turn into Playoff mode a little bit earlier than everybody else to get in, but so far so good and weíll just get this Shell/Pennzoil Ford and do our thing. Like I said, execute our race. If we have speed it makes life a lot easier, kind of like earlier this year, and make something happen here."

DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT THE WEEKEND? "Of course. You donít know what youíre gonna have before you unload. It seems like weíve picked up a little bit and hopefully it continues through practice tomorrow. We can hopefully find a couple more things. The field usually gets closer. As thereís more practice time the field makes more adjustments and it gets a little bit tighter, so hopefully we can make some good adjustments, maintain the speed weíve got in our car, and race my teammates for the win."

JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE - ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT? "It was a good improvement from practice. It looked like we were 10th-quick or so in practice and after a couple runs thatís kind of where we were. We were able to make some good improvements on our race car and get to where we almost got the pole. We missed it by 7-thousandths, so close, but weíve got to be proud of the effort that weíve put in as a team and making speed at a track like this that in all honesty weíve been a little off speed-wise. It seemed like in race trim we were pretty good - not many race cars were in race trim, but it seemed like we had speed in the race car, so starting towards the front is a big deal here, but anything can happen the way the strategy is here with the stages and the tires not falling off much. They still do a little bit, but it becomes an interesting strategy on how this race plays out, so having speed in your car is always a big help and it seems like we have that in our Shell/Pennzoil Ford this week."

CAN YOU GIVE MORE DETAILS ON THE IMPROVEMENTS YOU MADE? "No. I canít tell you what we did. Are you kidding me? (laughing) We made it better."

HOW MUCH DID THE CLOUD COVER HELP YOU? "I know. Itís hard to put a number on what itís worth, but we all know a cooler race track is better. We know directionally itís in the right direction, but we donít really know how much. We canít quantify it to say itís worth a tenth or two-tenths or half-a-tenth. Weíre not really sure on what thatís worth, but we all know itís better, so we all aim for it and try to get as much shade as we can. You say that and then Brad made that second run in the second round and I think there was some sun in that run and he was able to pick up a lot of speed and was almost faster than Blaney that round, so I donít know what itís worth. You would think the longer the shade is on the race track the more the temperature would keep coming down and where does it level out?"

ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED TO BLANEY? "I havenít seen his lap or talked to him, so I donít know if he got loose or bobbled. He bobbled? He must have gone up the track a little bit."

HOW IS YOUR CAR IN RACE PACE? "I hope we have more speed than we had here in June. We didnít have a very fast car here in June and were able to squeak out a top-three finish. We overachieved that day in execution, but I think this car is better than that. I think the balance itself in race trim was more driveable. Iím not in there swatting flies the whole time. I seemed to be in a lot more control, which is a big deal, especially when you get in traffic that you can be a lot more racy and be more aggressive, which is something weíve been lacking a lot this year. It seems like weíre going in the right way at this point."

WHAT WOULD THE RELIEF BE LIKE IF YOU WIN? "You have no idea. Believe me, as you get closer to this thing it becomes more and more real, but it is what it is. Thatís sports. As an athlete you have to learn how to handle pressure and thatís not just the drivers in this situation, itís the whole team. Itís not just the crew chief. Itís not just the engineers. Itís not just the guys over the wall. Itís not just the mechanics that are working on the car. Everybody has to be better in these occasions because the pressure is on. Letís be honest. The pressure is on, but a lot of times itís gonna bring the best out of you, or sometimes the worst. Youíve got make sure itís the best."

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. - No. 17 Go Bowling Ford Fusion - "I felt like we started this qualifying session and our Go Bowling Ford was a little bit looser than it was in practice, so I made kind of a half-run there in the first session, came back in and tightened it up and did some things we needed to do and went back out and put our best time of the day down and felt really good about that. Then the first run of that second round I felt like I hit one and two OK, and missed three and four a little bit. That last run I felt like I nailed one and two and felt really good and then overcompensated and was a little too tight down in three and four. After our last qualifying session here at Michigan, Iím definitely happy with starting 14th. I feel like we can race pretty good from there, so weíve got better track position than we did last time and tomorrow is National Bowling Day, so go out and go bowling."

BRAD KESELOWSKI POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE - HOW SATISFYING IS THIS POLE FOR YOU? "It feels pretty good. Iím not really known as a great qualifier, so maybe over time Iíve probably put a little less stock in qualifying, but I can tell you that when I saw that we were gonna win the pole those last few seconds of qualifying it put chills down my body. Itís a great feeling. Itís a special track for me to have any kind of success at. Those that have been in the media center long enough have probably heard me say this and Iíll say it again for those that havenít, but any success you have at your home track is right there with having success in the biggest races of the year like Daytona for the 500 and the championship. Itís a big deal for any driver, not just myself. Of course, this is my home track and to be able to have any kind of success here just really feels so darn good and I just hope we can keep it up this weekend."

THE SECOND ROUND SEEMED HUGE FOR YOU. "Yeah. We were decent in practice. I wasnít as good as my teammate, Ryan Blaney, in practice or the first round. I went out and I just felt like we took a step backwards from where we were in practice, but to my crew chiefís credit, Paul Wolfe, he didnít give up on it. He came up with some stuff to make us better on the adjustments and youíre always a little skeptical. Iíll be honest, I was a little skeptical before I went out for that last round because the track had lost its cloud cover, and my tires were pretty warmly. With the adjustments he made we made out and we were handling really well. I was very happy with the performance of the car and I thought maybe I had a shot at it in the last round, but my tires were pretty hot because I did two runs right in a row, so who knows? I thought, ĎWell, Iíll go out right at the end once the tires cool off,í but with the way the clouds were rolling you had to go right away, so I went right away there and I thought as Iím going out, ĎThere no way. I donít have enough time for the tires to cool off. The track is optimal right now, but Iíve got to go.í And it worked, so Iím just thrilled with the results, thrilled with the effort and the competitive spirit of our team to handle a big pitch of adversity right off the start, and then come away with a tremendous result."

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF INSPECTION. WHAT HAS CHANGED THAT WEíRE PERHAPS UNAWARE OF? "About this time every year NASCAR takes all the cars to kind of check to make sure that the competitive balance is where they want it to be, and I think weíve seen the last two or three weeks that the Toyota cars are pretty dominant. We had a strong suspicion that those guys would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition, and potentially thatís right because our team hasnít done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as theyíve been the last few weeks. So weíll know for certain at the end of the week based on whether NASCAR takes the cars after the race today. This is their last opportunity on a track that has the potential to showcase the important things for speed in the chase, which is aerodynamics and horsepower, because the chase is predominantly on tracks of mile-and-a-half or similar high-speed nature to this. So this is kind of the last opportunity for NASCAR to do that, so we came into the weekend thinking that some of those really strong cars would tune it down and knowing that we probably were pretty close to what we had the last few weeks. Iím not sure if thatís what happened, but it kind of looks that way at the moment, but weíll still take what we can get."

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - WHATíS THE SENSE OF PRIDE LIKE TO DO THIS HERE? "Itís huge for me. I know itís a huge weekend. I know we have a fast car to try to capitalize on it, but I donít know how to summarize it any better than a driverís home track, where his family and friends are all present, just feels like a bigger event. Michigan for me, being my home track, feels like a bigger event than other weeks and you want to make those people proud when you have the opportunity, so when you have the smallest sliver of success it just feels magnified. It feels bigger and thatís what it feels like for me."

POLE WINNERS DO WELL HERE. HOW DO YOU FEEL FOR SUNDAY? "It feels really good because I think youíre spot on that stats donít lie. Michigan qualifying is a very important track because thereís not a lot of fall off in the tires, the handling characteristics that might change what would be a good car in qualifying versus what would be a good car in the race stays pretty consistent because of that and the track surface that it has. That makes us feel pretty good. We wonít really know until we get into race trim tomorrow as far as what we really have, but it certainly is inspiring and something that I think weíre looking forward to hopefully taking advantage of with having the number one pit stall and starting up front and keeping that track position all race long."

IF YOU WON WOULD YOU BREAK OUT THE BOOT AGAIN? "There were some legal issues with the boot, to my understanding, so it got retired. But itís better to ask for forgiveness than permission, so we might have some forgiveness to ask for it that were to happen. I donít even know if itís here. I kind of feel bad Iím not prepared, but I can promise you we would have a great time and a great party."

HOW IDENTICAL IS YOUR SETUP TO JOEYíS CAR AND CAN IT HELP WITH YOUR TRUCK TEAM SETUP? "Thereís not much I can really tell the truck guys. Thereís so much different with those vehicles than these vehicles with the draft and they almost run around here wide-open at a much slower speed, so thereís not a lot I can tell them thatís gonna apply. But Iíll certainly be watching and willing to give any input or help in any way that I can as the race plays out. As far as our cars, I think my car and Ryan Blaneyís car continue to be week to week almost identical in every way from the people working on it to the most smallest minute details of the setup and so forth. We try to stay in line as much as possible, but my other teammate, Joey Logano, there are some small differences that I couldnít really allude to. I would let Travis Geisler and the team explain those things."

DO YOU SENSE THE 22 TEAM IS FEELING THE PRESSURE? "I donít spend a lot of time around the team. I spend a lot of time around Joey Logano. Of course, theyíre not in the situation they want to be in, but they have a tremendous opportunity to break out of it the next few weeks. The last race before the playoffs is the track where they did win at last year, and heís got two wins there, so my sense for that is heís got a lot of racing left and heís got a great opportunity to get in the position he wants to be in."

WHATíS THE BOOT STORY? "Das Boot? Youíve never seen the beer movie, where theyíve got the big boot that the beer goes in? You have to watch the movie. The big beer jug. Thatís Das Boot."

WHO IS HERE FROM YOUR FAMILY AND WHO ARE YOU CALLING FIRST? "Iím gonna call my wife first. She texted me and I havenít had a chance. Sheís at the Greenfield Village with my daughter and mother-in-law and father-in-law for the first time and theyíre having a blast and playing up a storm. I canít wait to see them and probably Facetime them and say hello. None of my family is here. Theyíre all coming tomorrow, so Iím looking forward to seeing them and enjoying the moment."

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED - HOW DOES IT FEEL TO DO THIS IN FORDíS BACKYARD? "The manufacturers being here has always added something to Michigan thatís hard to quantify. Thereís a lot of presence, a lot of Ford executives, a lot of Ford presence in the blue collar workers as well, and they take a lot of pride in seeing the vehicles run well. Manufacturers remain our biggest sponsors and our biggest partners, so itís important to make those guys happy and I thought I saw a text in there from a few of them. Weíre thrilled to do so, and we want to make sure that we do that and keep those guys engaged and show them that weíre making the most out of their investments in the sport."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BOOK YOU BOUGHT FOR HIM - DUDE YOUíRE GONNA BE A DAD. HOW DID YOU GIVE IT TO HIM? "He had his gender reveal and all those things. He had the Mustang and did the burnout with the blue tires, which was pretty cool, so we gave him some gifts there. I think my wife is probably as excited as they are because sheís been thrilled to death shopping for clothes to give them, so thatís been fun for her. She had a whole bunch of ideas to help them with their nursery and I think sheís helping with the baby shower, but I canít keep up. I know thereís been a whole discussion about cupcakes. Our families get along very well and Iím happy for him and to see him going into the next chapter of his life."

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