Kahne Paces Strong Qualifying Effort from Ford at Dover
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 21st) – ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN “I thought it was awful honestly. It didn’t drive real well. We’ve been working on race trim most of today really, so hopefully going out that early we will wind up in the top-20, but I may be being pretty optimistic about that.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 22nd) – “It was an okay run. Our UPS Ford is really good in race trim. That is about all it has in qualifying mode. Hopefully it will be there in the top-15 or 18 or so. I think our race car is really good for Sunday. That is just all it had.
YOU RAN WELL IN PRACTICE TODAY AND FORD RAN WELL, DOES THAT BODE WELL COME SUNDAY? “I think so, this has typically been a good Ford track the last four or five years. There might be some other guys that sneak up there and throw down a good qualifying lap. Once the rubber gets down on the lap, give us Saturday to fine-tune our cars, but Sunday we should be fine.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 AFLAC Ford Fusion (Qualified 9th) – “That’s a good run for us. Hopefully that will be top-10. We had good balance. If we can start in the top-10 it will be a huge step forward. We were best in class which shows Bob has been working really hard at the shop.
YOU RAN REALLY FAST IN PRACTICE, DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO SUNDAY? “Yeah, this is one of our best race tracks. Last week we struggled so much. Everybody worked really hard all week and now it is showing up here today.”
TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 34 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion (Qualified 38th) – “It didn’t feel very good. The car was really loose. I am pretty disappointed because in race trim I thought the car was pretty decent. At the end of practice we went out and made one mock qualifying run and didn’t really run much faster in the real deal. We didn’t pick up the speed we needed.
WHAT WILL BE THE KEY TO CHANGE THINGS UP FOR SUNDAY? “Just getting a good balance out there. We need to turn better without being to loose. I thought race trim was okay, so we will concentrate on that, go to work tomorrow and concentrate on 400 laps Sunday.”
PAUL MENARD – No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd) – “I wasn’t too happy with my lap. A lot of people have slowed down and I was hoping we could run the same, if not better, than we did in practice. If we had then we would be in a lot better position. From where we unloaded to where we ended practice I am really happy with changes that were made. I don’t that that run will give us a good spot, but it will be okay. We just have to adjust for Sunday. DOES THE WAY YOU RAN IN PRACTICE GIVE YOU OPTIMISM FOR SUNDAY? “Yeah, we hit on a couple of things right at the end of practice. We didn’t get to expand on them, but we will work on that tomorrow and hope to improve things for Sunday.”
A.J. ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Valvoline/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 8th) – “It is not bad. You can be in the top-10 here and be happy. We just got a little tight in three and four. I got through one and two really well and I was thinking that we had a chance. I tried to pick up the throttle in three and it got tight in the center. That was the difference right there.”
GUYS HAVE BEEN SLIPPING A LOT; DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THAT? “Well, I saw a lot of guys sliding around out there, but I actually had good grip out there so I went after it. If it had stuck through three and four we would have been really good. I don’t know if I would have gotten a pole, but it would have been darn close.”
KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) – “We felt pretty good in practice and the lap there in qualifying felt really balanced. The splitter got on the track a little more than I wanted in one and three. I had to wait a little bit in each corner. It was a good run for us. I think that we started in the same spot here last year. I am looking forward to Sunday. We were decent in practice today, but we will work hard tomorrow at it. Our team did a great job last week qualifying. The first half of the Darlington race I felt like we were the best car. We didn’t finish where we should have, but I feel like we have made gains in the last two weeks. I am really looking forward to Sunday.
YOU WENT FROM A DODGE TO A FORD, WHICH ONE DO YOU LIKE BETTER? “I think the engines run differently between the two. I have really enjoyed working with the engine guys from Roush Yates. They are always asking how they can help and are always open to help. I like working with those guys a lot. I think the power is a lot better than what we were working with last year. We just have to keep working because everyone is out there improving engines, so we need to keep working at that too.”
WITH THE CHANGES TO THE CARS, DOES IT AFFECT WHERE YOU GUYS CAN PASS PEOPLE AT TRACKS LIKE HERE AT DOVER? “I don’t know. I don’t think it will alter it a whole lot here. If you look at Texas, when you were on the side of a car it felt different compared to the wing. You might get a little bit of that here and it will definitely be that way at Charlotte I think. Where you put your car and how you force it into the corner in certain areas will make you be more cautious or more aggressive in order to clear somebody. I think the racing has been as good and it will keep getting better as teams have time to work with the cars.
YOUR TEAM STILL SEEMS TO BE WORKING WITH YOU AS IF YOU WOULD BE WITH THEM FOREVER, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? “That was something I was worried about when we made that announcement. I feel like it is easy to get down or to give up on somebody. As a team we all talk about it. They are excited for me and I am excited for the opportunities they will have, depending on what they want to do. Everybody wants to win; we all want to race well. The first couple races after the announcement were tough and we weren’t where we wanted to be. Maybe that had something to do with it, I am not sure. We got behind for about three weeks after the announcement, but I think we have rebounded nicely.”
ANY WORD ON WHERE YOU WILL BE RACING NEXT YEAR? “No, still no word on any of the specifics. Nothing has changed since the announcement. There is a lot going on. Talking to Mr. Hendrick this week and last week, I think we are about three or four weeks out from finding anything out. I know I am getting a little anxious about it. They are working hard and want it to be the right decision. Whatever is decided they want to do the right way and make sure that they come up with the perfect place for me for next year.”