Saturday, Jun 03

Ford Performance NASCAR: Blaney Puts Ford on Pole at Phoenix


1st - Ryan Blaney

5th - Aric Almirola

6th - Chase Briscoe

8th - Austin Cindric

10th - Joey Logano

16th - Kevin Harvick

18th - Brad Keselowski

22nd - Michael McDowell

24th - Harrison Burton

25th - Cole Custer

26th - Chris Buescher

32nd - Cody Ware

33rd - Todd Gilliland

34th - BJ McLeod

35th - Garrett Smithley


RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang -- Qualified 1st

“I thought it was a pretty decent lap. You just hope you make the right changes to try to get a little bit better and everyone else is trying to do the same thing. I got a little bit tight in 3 and 4 and that worried me a little bit but overall the car had great speed in it and has had really good speed all day. I appreciate everyone's help. It is a nice place to start for tomorrow.”


AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang -- Qualified 8th

“Every weekend I have been peaking in qualifying so hopefully I didn't peak in practice this week. it has been a good start to the weekend for our Mustang. I thought our 1 and 2 was really awesome and I missed the bottom a bit in 3 and 4. I had to downshift and that wasn’t pretty. Overall, I am pretty happy. The Fords seem to be fast so we will keep digging tomorrow.”


CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang -- Qualified 6th

“I still didn’t do a very good job. I got down there in 1 and 2 and was too tight across the center and then into 3 I was pretty sideways and felt like I gave up quite a bit of time. I probably gave up a tenth on both end. I should have a decent starting spot for our Mahindra Tractors Ford and I have a really good race car for tomorrow so that is all that matters.”


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang -- Qualified 10th

“I thought I was good and just fed it a little more throttle to get a little more speed off the corner and it just snapped. We caught the fence a little bit but I think it is good. I don't think we will have to do much to fix it, We should be good to go.”




HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS BEING THE SAME VENUE AS THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE, OR IS IT TOO SOON BECAUSE IT WILL ALL CHANGE? “I honestly don't think of it too much. It is really early. My bigger concern is just trying to figure out this new car. It is really the first short track we have been to. The Coliseum was kind of its own thing. This is a place you will be using the brakes pretty hard and things like that. It didn’t even cross my mind until you just said something about it. I try not to think too far ahead. It is good to take notes. You do that with every single track. I just try to focus on the current weekend.”


DO YOU LIKE THAT THE CHAMPIONSHIP VENUE IS ONE THAT YOU VISIT PREVIOUSLY IN THE SEASON? “Yeah, I do. For a while, at Homestead, we didn’t do that. But now we do and I feel like that is nice, especially a great place like this. They are spaced out enough in the season to where you almost forget you have already been there. I do think it is really nice to be at the venue earlier in the year that the championship race is at.”


HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT TRYING THE DOGLEG OR WILL YOU WAIT ON SOMEBODY ELSE TO TRY IT FIRST? “That is a great question. That is something we used to abuse in the old cars because you just hit truck arm mounts and splitters and side skirts. You honestly wanted to go down there with the side skirts to flare the right side out. Now, I am not going to be the first one. We talked about that all week, me and the team. You have to think about the diffuser and low air pressure with these tires going down there kind of worries me. I went down and kind of ran that dogleg when we were here testing. It was my last lap of the day and of the weekend but tires were way pumped up and it didn’t feel bad but on low air pressure, I would be nervous to do it. I will not be the first one. I will have some people watching to see if guys go down there and if it is successful or if you are just destroying your race car. I don't know. I definitely won’t be the first one, that is what I know.”


DOES THAT IMPACT ANY SHIFTING YOU WOULD BE DOING ON THE LAP? IT SEEMED LIKE GUYS WERE SHIFTING OUT THERE TODAY. “Yeah, there were a lot of guys shifting today. I think you are going to see more and more of that as we get more laps on our stuff in the race. Where you would shift, if you cut that apron, it kind of just depends. You will probably be shifting when you are on the apron if you decide to shortcut it. There were a lot of guys shifting today through practice and even some guys were doing it in qualifying. It is just one of those options we have with an extra gear. I think it is pretty neat that you can shift because it gives you a spot as a trail car to maybe get a run on somebody. It is just an option to have. I think you will see a good bit of that. As far as shifting on the apron if you cut it, it will be a handful down there. It always was, so it will be normal.”


IS THERE A REASON NOT TO SHIFT? “You don't have to shift. I didn’t shift in qualifying. I don't think a lot of guys did. It seems like with about 20 laps on your stuff you start downshifting just to get runs off the corner. You don't have to but I feel like it is going to be faster about 20 laps into a run.”


HOW DID IT FEEL RUNNING ON THE RESIN? “It felt like it had a lot of grip. I am trying to think if - I can’t believe that the resin had more grip than it had before because they haven’t touched it since last year. I just think the cars have a ton of grip. You feel like you are hauling the mail in the corner with this car. Whether it is the wider tire or more drag, it feels like you can get off in the corner really fast, and the resin kind of holds you. I think a lot of that is the tire having more grip probably but it does feel like it is sticky. In qualifying, we sailed it off into turn 1 and went right to the resin and didn’t think it would grip up and stick but it got in there and you just go about your way. It is a pretty weird feeling as a driver, driving into the corner knowing you are not going to make it unless the resin is there. That is something everyone is getting used to with the new car, you are kind of testing the limits.”


WITH THE DOGLEG AND THE DIFFUSER, WHAT IS THE CONCERN? “It is all situational but the worry is breaking one of those fins off. I don't know the exact number of rear downforce it gives you but you want to keep all of them that you can. I think that is one of the concerns. You may be in a situation where you are going to go dive down there to try to win the race. I am not going to do it on lap one, but maybe if you think you are in a spot to go down there and take that risk of hurting your car. It is all kind of in the moment.”


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