McDowell Puts His Ford in Daytona 500
MIKE WALLACE – No. 37 Poynt.com Ford Fusion – “It’s something engine-related that happened and it won’t run. The first incident I got in the back of the 21. He checked up and I thought I did a good job of keeping from turning him around and wrecking anything. We came down pit road and taped the nose up and everything was going to be fine, but it wouldn’t go on the restart. I guess from the point of the wreck to when we went back to green something happened. It’s just disappointing because it’s the Daytona 500."
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford Fusion – “I feel good, I am fine. I cut up my hand on my helmet and I had to get it stitched. I am fine, just disappointed. It was a short day. Our Fusion had good speed and I feel confident about our backup car, so we will get it out and get it going again.” HOW MANY STITCHES? “Just one, but it is on my thumb where it bends. I told him I would superglue it but he said a stitch would work better.
I am fine. It is just really disappointing. It felt like someone got into the back of us in turn one and away it went. It was fun though. I had a lot of fun out there racing and I’m looking forward to Sunday.” IS IT JUST A PART OF THIS RACING? “Yeah, it is. The problem is people want to push because you can make up track position, but you have to think of the guy in front of you and what he is dealing with in front of him. Two cars catch these other cars so fast and then when you are getting pushed you just can’t stop when you come up on another guy. It is kind of a process to get the whole train slowed down. It is tricky, but everybody will hopefully get the hang of it by Sunday.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 KLOVE/Curb Records Ford Fusion – DESCRIBE THIS FEELING. “It’s unbelievable. You just never know until it’s over. I was hoping it would be over five laps earlier than it was, but I just can’t explain it. It’s unbelievable.” YOU HAD SOME HELP FROM THE 21. “Yeah. I owe him big. There’s a special bond there that you can’t break, so it’s just cool to see when you work together what you can accomplish.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “We got a lot of experience out there and got to learn a lot. Our EcoBoost Ford Fusion was pretty good. It can run up in the draft, but maybe we need to get it to suck up a little bit better. The good thing is this is our best piece and it’s in one piece, so we can massage on it and go to the 500.” DID YOU HAVE ANY HAIRY MOMENTS? “Not really. Everything was pretty smooth out there. I think that first wreck was a close car as far as to the back part of our car, but, all in all, it was a pretty easy day and just rode around and logged laps. We tried to get some respect from the veterans and hopefully we did that for Sunday.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – "I tell you what, I would like a cold tile but I would really like another two laps. We got ourselves in a box there. We didn't pit the first time around and that kind of hurt us a little bit. We learned a lot for Sunday, we got a good result. We are smiling right now but it was very close to being the other way around. I am proud of my Stanley Ford team. We have great power and a good handling car. Our team is rolling. We've had a great speedweeks and we are going to keep it that way for the 500 and have a good Sunday."
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – "That was fun. We went for it there at the end. We got behind Burton and we were coming down the back straight. If that caution didn't come out, I don't know what it looked like on TV but it felt like we were going to be leading off of four. I was having fun. I am excited for the race, it is going to be good." HOW CRAZY WAS IT BEHIND THE WHEEL? "It was crazy. We are going to have fun though. It is going to be a good race. I am glad we got through all this and we are starting on the pole. I got a ton of experience today and we are accomplishing our goals."
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 MHP/Scorpion Truck Bedliners Ford Fusion – "I learned that guys are still sliding all over the place and driving aggressive. We had a lot more to lose in that race than to gain. If we could have won it that would have been great but whether you finished third or 10th or 15th there is really no difference except maybe a couple hundred bucks. We have our eye on the 500 and we just rode around and played it safe. I am looking forward to getting our race engine in and getting ready for Sunday."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL PRESS CONFERENCE – THOUGHTS ON MAKING THE DAYTONA 500. “It’s amazing. I’ve been here once before and made the race. I had to qualify in and I’ve been on the outside looking in too, so just know that this is extremely special not just for me and my family, but for our whole team. Phil Parsons Racing is a small team. We’ve got six guys back at the shop that worked really hard in the off-season to give us a fast car and it’s just cool to be able to carry the Curb-Agajanian brand, the 98 car, and to have K-LOVE radio – a Christian radio network on the car – and to have Curb Records as well is a good start for us. This is the start of big things for us.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR COMEBACK ABILITY? “I don’t think it’s my ability, I just feel like I’m extremely blessed. I just want to thank God first and foremost because these opportunities aren’t something you take lightly. It’s hard to be one of 43 in this sport and it’s been a tough road for me, for sure, and opportunities like this give me an opportunity to show I belong here, hopefully, and hopefully we’ll have a great 500.”
HOW MUCH PRESSURE WAS THERE FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU WHO HAD TO RACE YOUR WAY IN? “It’s extremely anxious. One of the big concerns we had was we were running good in that lead pack, but we didn’t think we could make it on fuel, so that was a big concern – trying to stay in the lead pack, save fuel and not get hot was a pretty tough thing to do. So that was the big thing there with about 10 to go, just trying to save fuel, and then when that caution came out that gave us the opportunity to get some gas, but it’s anxious the whole time. For me, I knew starting 21st I had to get to the front pretty early on and get in that lead pack. I wasn’t sure how much excitement there was gonna be. Unfortunately, we were kind of involved in that first wreck that took out a few cars. Everybody just got bump-drafting there and it got pretty busy, so you just never know. You just have to go for it the whole 60 laps.”
YOU WERE THIRD IN THE ROLEX 24. ARE YOU ON A ROLL THIS MONTH? “I sure hope so. The one thing I’ve learned over time is you have to manage the highs and lows in this sport because there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows, so, for me, I’m gonna enjoy this high and enjoy the time that we get to be in the Daytona 500 and just try to keep everything moving forward. It’s a humbling sport. You come in here and just to be able to compete every week is difficult, so I’m just happy to have the opportunity.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TREVOR? DO YOU MAKE THE 500 WITHOUT HIM? “It’s absolutely the reason I’m in the 500, there’s no doubt about it. Trevor is obviously a close friend of mine and for him to take the unselfish route and help me out means a lot to me. There’s been a lot of ups-and-downs for him in his career as well, so it’s just cool we’ve been able to go through those together and for him to push me into the 500 is definitely pretty special. So, to answer your question, I probably wouldn’t have made it, no.”
HOW CLOSE WERE YOU TO GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THAT FIRST WRECK? “I was right in it. I have to watch the replay, but I feel like I was probably the cause of it, really. Trevor was on my bumper pushing me and I got to David’s bumper and as soon as I did it turned hard left. You just never know with this new style of the tandem and the spoiler. Trevor yesterday pushed me around for three solid laps, the car never moved and never wiggled, so when I got to David’s bumper I was figuring it was gonna be the same for him and obviously it wasn’t. It’s very unfortunate for him because I know that they were locked in and probably didn’t plan on racing a whole lot there and just wanted to feel out their car, so it’s just tough. When you’ve got somebody pushing you and he’s getting pushed and then somebody gets on the brakes. I rolled out of the gas and got on the brakes as well, but by then he was already turned sideways, so I hate it for them for sure.”
BUT YOU COULD HAVE EASILY BEEN IN IT. “Oh yeah, absolutely. And that’s what I’m talking about when I say that having faith and knowing that God is in control because you just saw that – I go left and I’m in the wreck and I’m going home. If I go right, I’m in the wreck and I’m going home, so you just don’t take it for granted.”
WHAT WILL THIS PAYDAY ON SUNDAY DO FOR YOUR TEAM AS FAR AS SCHEDULING THIS SEASON? “When you put together your plan and you look at the sponsorship that you have, this race is a big part of whether or not you can run races because the prize money is so substantial, so our plan was to run the first five races and try to get locked into the top 35 and this gives us the ability to do that and having K-LOVE come on board for about four races as well throughout the year, we’re just slowly starting to build this program and, for us, substantial funding is five races to go race, it’s not 36 races to go race. So, for us, this definitely helps build that momentum and continue to build partnerships and try to make the formula work.”
ROBBY GORDON TALKS ABOUT LENDING PARTS TO MCDOWELL’S TEAM. MCDOWELL SAYS: “You guys probably don’t know much, but a lot of these small teams all work together because we just don’t have the resources. We have six guys back at the shop, so if we need something we can go over to Robby’s and borrow it. JTG pitted my car today and it’s cool to see this community has really changed over the last few years in the sense that there’s not an abundance of people, an abundance of funds and an abundance of parts, so it’s just cool to see everybody working together.”