Ambrose Leads Ford Drivers With Third-Place Shootout Finish


Ambrose Leads Ford Drivers With Third-Place Shootout Finish

Ford Finishing Order: 3rd – Marcos Ambrose 6th – Greg Biffle 9th – Carl Edwards 21st – Matt Kenseth 24th – David Ragan DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford Fusion – “Everybody was real racy and I just got into the back of Menard.  You get a good run and you’re pushing […]

Ford Finishing Order:

  • 3rd – Marcos Ambrose
  • 6th – Greg Biffle
  • 9th – Carl Edwards
  • 21st – Matt Kenseth
  • 24th – David Ragan

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford Fusion – “Everybody was real racy and I just got into the back of Menard.  You get a good run and you’re pushing a little bit and I guess he was pushing whoever was in front of him and when you’ve got the meat in between the sandwich you usually get wrecked.

If I would have known that he was pushing the car in front of him, I probably could have backed off a little bit, but just probably pushing a little too hard.”  WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS MEANS FOR THE 500?  “I think everyone knows that if we can push for a little bit the cars will go faster, but you can’t push three and four cars all together.

I think running in a big pack you have to be more aware of that second and third car in front of you and then the chain reaction.  If I would have known Menard was hooked to the bumper of whoever was in front of him, I believe it was Harvick, I probably could have let off a little bit, but I didn’t know they were that close and caused a big mess.”  HAS NASCAR ACCOMPLISHED ITS GOAL OF ELIMINATING TWO-CAR DRAFTING?  “Oh yeah, NASCAR definitely accomplished their goal.  We can’t run together very long at all, unless we’re overheating, so, yeah, I think a lap or two is really about all.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “I think the 20 spun out or somebody spun the 20 out.  I really don’t know because I thought I had the wreck cleared and then I got hit from behind and just kind of turned into the fence.”  DOES THIS TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT WE’LL SEE IN THE 500?  “Yeah, I think this is pretty much exactly like it was before the two-car tandem.  This is kind of like what pack racing is, except we’re going quite a bit faster.

The car has quite a bit of grip and we’re going really fast, the closing rate is really fast, so it’s about what I expected.”  DID NASCAR ACHIEVE IT’S GOAL BY SWITCHING THE PACKAGE?  “That’s hard for me to say because I don’t know what their goal was exactly.  Certainly, if the goal was to get rid of the two-car tandem, it seemed to do that pretty good.  This is pretty much how the racing used to be, except we’re going a lot faster.  There’s a lot of grip here with that big plate, but that’s pretty much how the racing was before the evolution of the two-car tandem.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “It’s too bad because we had a really, really fast car.  Right there at the end the 11 turned the 15 sideways and just stopped our whole line, but I learned a little bit for the 500.  I think this is what you’ll see – the same thing.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “It was okay, and with this style of racing you just never know what’s gonna happen.  I did the best I could and I thought we were gonna have a shot at it at the end, but it’s just tough.  We’ll be all right.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a crazy race, that’s for sure.  I saw pretty much every spin, crash.  I was either in it or around it or just dodged it.  I’m just really proud to run fast tonight.  We’ve got a lot of steam under the hood this week, which is great.

The Ford department has done a wonderful job with the engines, and I agree with Tony, what an incredible job NASCAR has done to get back to this style of racing.  I think all the drivers appreciate it and it’s definitely a lot more fun.  It’s more entertaining for the fans and more in control for the drivers.  Even though we crashed more tonight, you just feel like you’re in control of your own destiny a little more out there.  It’s just a good night for us.  I’ve got to thank the King for giving me the chance.  Getting me back up to the front is a lot of fun.”

HOW DICEY IS IT AND HOW CAREFUL DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE DRAFT WORKING WITH EACH OTHER?  “It’s a blur, to be honest with you.  I’m out there driving the Stanley car with one lap to go thinking I’m gonna win the race and I get freight trained.  There’s a lot to learn out there.

There are people you like to run with and you try to find them before the end, but it was thinned out a lot by the end of the race.  I looked around and there was probably about 10 cars left that could run, so we missed a lot out there – a lot of incidents and accidents and just pleased we made it to the end, really.  Like Tony said, it’s way better this way.  I mean, it’s much better racing.

We’re more in control, even though it doesn’t look like it.  We’re controlling our own destiny out there, like I said earlier, and you’re gonna push a car to the end, we all know that, but we just have to manage the temperatures now and I think NASCAR has done a great job of allowing the drivers to get back to racing.”

DO YOU FEEL THE NEW RULES WILL REWARD THE MORE SKILLED DRIVERS?  “From my seat it looks like everyone has got a lot of talent out there.  You’ve got to have great cars and you’ve got to have a bit of luck and you’ve got to manage your race.  It’s a combination of all three.”

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Sunday February 19, 2012

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