Edwards Captures Pole for Ford 400
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “Thank you to the fans for coming out to support this Ford weekend. It is a big weekend obviously and it is really neat to be part of a battle like this. It is great to be on the pole. It is just one lap and tomorrow we have 267 laps and we have some serious competition out there. We are just going to go put this Ford Fusion up there and get a good pit stall and race hard all day Sunday.”
YOU WERE SECOND FASTEST IN FIRST PRACTICE AND FASTEST IN FIRST PRACTICE. “That was all qualifying. We focused on our race runs the first practice and had a tire issue the second practice and only made two runs. It worked out great though. I just really appreciate Matt Kenseth’s help and all of my teammates helping me the best they could today to give us the best shot at this pole. I can’t believe we got the pole. We were just hoping to start in front of Tony somewhere and preferably the top-five. The pole is a gift.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “That was okay. We struggled a little bit today with the Best Buy Ford. We’ve kind of struggled with getting into the corner and I’ve really struggled to run the top. I think the top is the faster way to go, but I can’t get there right now. It was a solid lap. You can always pick it apart and say it was a little bit better, but we’re working hard. This hasn’t been the best day for us, but Greg Erwin and all the guys are working hard. Hopefully, that gets us a decent starting spot because it’s a long race on Sunday.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “I just didn’t know what line to take. I went a bit higher than what I probably should have, but we’ll take it. I’ve just got to thank Ford Racing for putting on this huge show here. It’s great to finish here at the big Ford event. We’ve got Carl with a chance to win, Ford as well, and I’m real excited about it. With Stanley and DeWalt, it’s just been a ripper year. It’s been fantastic to drive with the King and I just want to thank all of my boys and Todd Parrott on the box. It’s been a really strong effort for us.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion - “I think I have a great car for tomorrow. The lap was pretty good. We struggled earlier today in qualifying trim for some reason. Gosh, I let up the gas off of four and it started to slide and chatter a little bit. I lost a lot of momentum and I don’t know if I had to lift. It was one of those things where it was like; uh oh I am in big trouble. I backed off it for a minute and I don’t know. It is so tight up there. That is probably the top of the board but who knows if it would have stuck. DO YOU HAVE A TOP FIVE CAR IN RACE TRIM? “Oh yeah. We were probably close to being the fastest in race trim. We are pretty dang good as a team. I would say we are all in that area of top-10 somewhere.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion –“I think we just missed the set up a little bit. I thought I got a pretty decent lap. It wasn’t perfect. This is a tough place to get everything because the lines change the way the car handles so much. I think we missed it a little bit but I thought we got most of it.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “I was pretty happy with that pick-up there. I didn’t expect to run a teen. I don’t know how good that’s gonna hold up. We’re fifth right now, but I think it’ll be a decent start. I’m really happy with the adjustments we made. We ran like a .60 in practice and I was hoping for a .30, but we ran a teen there. I caught a little cloud, so that was good for us, but I think we’re gonna race a lot better than we qualify either way. If we end up fifth, then we’ll really be good in the race, but I think there are obviously a lot of good cars still to go.
If we can get a top 20, we can race from there. I’d prefer a top-15, so we’ll work on that, but I’m excited about this car so far and just excited to be a part of this all year long. Hopefully, I’ll be back in the 21 next year. We’ll see what happens, but I’ve just really, really enjoyed it so far. I remember a year ago when I was sitting on the pit box watching these guys and Bill Elliott was driving the car. It’s been a crazy year, but it’s been a really memorable one and I’m just excited to have been a part of it.”
TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “It feels nice to be locked into these races because we didn’t really put any emphasis on a qualifying effort today. We really just worked on our race trim stuff. That’s a pretty good lap for us and we gained a lot of speed there, but it’s not gonna shake out very good overall. Still, I’m excited about Sunday.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion – “We have struggled and have been nowhere close to where we needed to be. It’s a little disappointing when you unload that far off, but we made some good gains and we’ll just keep working on it. We’ve still got the race, but I’m a little disappointed. We’ve run really well here the last couple of years, but we’ve just struggled today. The track didn’t have a lot of grip and I know a lot of people are having issues, but hopefully we’ll get a handle on it.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS My Choice Ford Fusion - "That was a good lap for us; it wasn't perfect. We made some pretty big adjustments after that last practice because we knew the track was going to cool down just a little bit and maybe we went a little too far. I think we've got a great UPS Ford for Sunday. That's in the top 15 and we'll be able to go racing with that on Sunday."
J.J. YELEY – No. 55 Ingersoll Rand Ford Fusion – “I think it’ll probably be pretty decent. The most important thing, obviously, is we’re in. We were really pretty decent the first practice and lost the balance in the second practice, so I was a little worried about what I had on the lap there.
I think I probably gave it an 85 percent lap. I know I probably could have gained another tenth-and-a-half, at the same time I probably could have wrecked the thing, too. The good thing is we had a good run. I know these guys have worked their tails off all year long for me on this 55 car. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m glad that we’ve had a good run here for the final race at Homestead.”
CARL EDWARDS POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE – ARE THINGS LINING UP LIKE YOU WANTED THEM TO THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, things are good. Today went really well. I felt like our car was very fast in practice in race trim. I wasn’t really sure what to expect in qualifying trim, but that was a very pleasant surprise to run that well. That truly is just one lap, though, and, I mean, the biggest thing is that pit stall selection.
That’s gonna be a big help the whole race. That’s something that’s hard to put a value on, so it looked like there were a lot of fast cars in practice. It didn’t look like we were head and shoulders better than anyone else, so this doesn’t dampen the amount of effort we’re gonna go out and put forth. We still have to go out and race this race. I do think that of all the tracks it would be nice to have a big advantage in qualifying at some of them, but this one you can pass at, so if there are faster race cars out there, they’ll be able to make it through the field.”
YOU MADE TWO QUALIFYING RUNS IN PRACTICE. DID YOU JUST FEEL YOU COULDN’T GET IT ANY BETTER? “Yeah, we ran the first practice completely in race trim and we felt that was the best strategy for us was to focus on race trim there, and then focus on qualifying trim the second practice.
We actually had a cut in the right-rear tire after the first run in the second practice, so we had two sets of sticker tires, which we would normally run three or four runs total – a couple on the first set and then one final sticker run – but once we looked at that tire we realized we can’t use that again, we just couldn’t do it, so we made one more sticker run, so it was only two laps in the second practice. In a way, it probably helped us from tuning the thing out of contention. It was nice to just focus on two runs.”
DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATE? IT LOOKS LIKE THINGS ARE LINING UP FOR YOU? “I don’t know that I believe in fate, but I do believe that things happen for a reason. I do believe that whatever you encounter you have to treat as if that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
You can’t change things, I’ve learned that, so success and failure can both be good in the end, so you’ve got to be careful for what you wish for sometimes, but, yeah, this is going really well so far and, hopefully, this helps us all race. We didn’t need to qualify poorly, get a poor pit stall, have some little thorn in our side the whole race, so this will hopefully help us for the whole event.”
DOES TODAY REPRESENT A MOMENTUM SHIFT? “I don’t know. I didn’t pay any attention to them in practice and I didn’t see where he qualified, so I still don’t know where they qualified. I guess the deal is we’ve still got to go run this race and I know how tough those guys can be, so I’m not counting anything yet.
We’re just gonna keep our heads down and work hard and go get the best we can. If anything, this is just good for our morale and for everybody to go sleep easy tonight and know we’re gonna have a good day on pit road, know we’ll hopefully be able to run out front and not get caught up in anything. But, truly, I understand that we still have to go run this race and anything can happen.”
IS TODAY A PRIME EXAMPLE OF YOU SAYING ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHAT HAPPENS ON THE TRACK? “I hope so, but, truly, it is just one lap and I know it could have gone any way. If we were out there and qualified 43rd right now, it wouldn’t change the way I’m gonna approach this race. I’m not just giving you all lip service. I’m here to do a job and to do it well and it truly doesn’t matter what’s said or what happens until that checkered flag falls.”