Saturday, Dec 03

Ford Performance NASCAR: Chris Buescher Pilots Mustang to First Career Pole

FORD QUALIFYING RESULTS

1st - Chris Buescher

5th - Ryan Blaney

11th - Kevin Harvick

12th - Austin Cindric

13th - Ryan Preece

20th - Brad Keselowski

22nd - Joey Logano

23rd - Chase Briscoe

27th - Aric Almirola

28th - Cody Ware

29th - Michael McDowell

30th - Cole Custer

32nd - BJ McLeod

34th - Todd Gilliland

35th - Harrison Burton



Chris Buescher, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang -- Pole Winner Press Conference

 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR QUALIFYING SESSION: “That was obviously an awesome start for our Fastenal group and pretty cool for RFK to get our first pole, my first Cup Series pole. It might be my first NASCAR pole, I don't think I ever got one in the Xfinity Series either. Man, even the media center is narrow here. This is just like being on the backstretch. It is a pretty cool start for us. Practice was very interesting and we had a lot of torn-up equipment. I was watching that with a lot of attention trying not to be one of those. I was fortunate enough that Brad (Keselowski) came over and he was seeing some things and helped me with some of the inputs from inside the car and what we were trying to achieve. He went out there and had a really good practice and good qualifying effort as well so we were able to apply some of what he was seeing and it turned out really good for us and our qualifying effort. Pretty cool to get it done on the first lap. I think the second lap had more potential. I guess it didn’t need it but I didn’t let them make the adjustments they really wanted to before we went into the second round. I thought it was going to be a little too conservative but it ended up being enough to hold onto it. A great start. We are slowly and steadily building up momentum through the season which is nice after a really tough Talladega finish for both teams, us especially. We have a lot of laps left to go, but a heck of a start and no better place to see the green flag fall.”

 

THIS IS YOUR FIRST NASCAR POLE. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO CROSS THAT OFF THE LIST? “I guess it is not something that I have ever had a whole lot of emphasis on. At the end of the day it is all about that checkered flag at the end of the race. It is really cool though. I have been really close here at Dover on the Xfinity side and this is a place I have loved coming to forever. I love watching it on TV. It is cool to get it here. I still have one of the smaller Miles The Monster trophies from the Xfinity side in the office at home. It is a special place for me and it is cool to get our first pole here. It has been a long time coming. Heck of a start for us. I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow with our Fastenal Mustang.”

 

WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE SPEED YOU WERE ABLE TO PUT DOWN TODAY? “A little bit. We went through practice and I thought the handle was really good, we were just missing some speed and I think it was just some comfort that came from me and trying to get over the bumps better. I was able to watch a lot of data from the two practices. Brad came over and gave me a lot of insight that helped me realize what I needed to try to do and pretty much went out in qualifying and committed to it. After the first round I knew we laid down a pretty good lap, we were just the third car on track so I didn’t know where it would lay. We went through everything and watched everyone else make laps and it ended up being an extremely strong lap. I knew we had a really good chance at it in the second round. There were a few cars that put down good numbers on only one lap and that was on my mind. We were able to get it in our first lap which probably helped even that out. I was able to get all we needed. It is pretty cool. It is a wild ride around this place. There is no breathing. It is like Bristol in so many ways. You are just wore out. I was out there shaking trying to get a drink afterward. It is a roller coaster of a race track and a lot of fun. For us sitting here looking at the race and wondering about track position and how important it will be on this one, it is always a little sensitive here and I think with the weather we were a little worried that it might not widen out as much as we need it to to have a good race. It has put down a lot of rubber pretty quick and that is exciting. I feel like that gives me some optimism for a good, wide race track. To start off we don't have to worry about track position. I am really proud of everybody. That is really cool and cool to cross that one off the list.”

 

HOW FAR DO YOU THINK THE GROOVE WILL EXPAND DURING THE RACE? “I don't know how quickly it will move around. I am optimistic it will just by the amount of rubber that did get laid down with it being cool outside in the grand scheme of things. You always get nervous that when that happens it becomes a really narrow one-groove race track. I don't think it will be that way. We are going to watch the Xfinity race and pay attention to that, even though it is a very different race car nowadays. We will pay attention to see if it moves around there. I am hopeful it will move around within the first stage and I think when you get all the cars on track at the same time if it is going to move it probably will pretty quickly.”

 

WE HAVE SEEN GOOD RACING AT SOME OF THE HIGHER-SPEED TRACKS. WHAT ARE YOU ANTICIPATING THE NEXT THREE WEEKS, INCLUDING THIS ONE, WITH THIS CAR? “I think we are looking at this one as maybe our last big unknown. As we came into the weekend we have hit a lot of different race tracks with a lot of different characteristics and we have some different ones coming up but we can relate most of them to other race tracks. Dover being the off-set, right? Bristol would have been one, but Bristol on dirt is obviously worthless when we come to Dover on concrete. This is one we have had circled and a lot of meetings and talk about this event coming up. I think we ended with a whole lot more questions than answers. I don't know what to expect for this one. I think we have seen it be track position-sensitive through the years and I know that is something that this car is trying to address. I don't know how it will work here. If the track widens out like I feel pretty optimistic about right now, I think it will be a really good race and you can see us moving all the way around from the bottom at the apron all the way up to the fence like we have in different races in the past. Then Darlington, they have had a few tests there now so there are probably more laps there than Dover. The test here was a whole long time ago at this point. I think Darlington is always a challenge. More of the unknown of that race track might be the durability of the cars. We have seen it be pretty high and you are not worried about a metal body cutting down tires if you do get into the fence. Something we have seen be very forgiving in the Xfinity Series. That is something to maybe think about for this car. We have had some weak links that were exposed early that have been addressed and beefed up and I think that is going to maybe change the way we look at how aggressive we are running the outside line that can create so much speed at Darlington. A little unknown there and a lot of questions yet, but I think this here is the biggest unknown with a lot to figure out in a fairly long race. We will have a whole lot more answers by the end of the day tomorrow.,”

 

DID YOU THINK YOU WERE EVER GOING TO WIN A POLE IN NASCAR? “To be fair, I never put that much thought or emphasis into poles. I guess it wasn’t something I didn’t think we would ever get. I figured we would be able to hit our game right and grab one. It is cool to get it at Dover. We have had some good speed at different times and we are learning a lot with this car. With a 15 or 230-minute practice session and all the accidents that practice goes really quick. It is all about how you unload and how close you are and how quick you can get there if you didn’t get close from the start. This is a week where everyone did a really nice job in our group across the organization. It is really special for me to grab that first pole, hopefully, the first of many.

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