Saturday, Dec 02

Ford Performance NASCAR: Cindric Leads Ford with 3rd Place Daytona Finish as 5 Ford Drivers Make Cup Playoffs


3rd – Austin Cindric

6th – Cody Ware

7th – BJ McLeod

9th – David Ragan

12th – Joey Logano

15th – Ryan Blaney

16th – Cole Custer

19th – Harrison Burton

20th – Kevin Harvick

21st – Aric Almirola

23rd – Todd Gilliland

27th – Chris Buescher

31st – Chase Briscoe

32nd – Michael McDowell

35th – Brad Keselowski


RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – YOD DID WHAT YOU HAD TO DO.  “It definitely didn’t start our very good.  We had to battle through adversity all day, but props to the whole 12 group for continuing to work on it and fix it and just trying to keep it in the game.  After that wreck everything was kind of out of our hands and we were just trying to do the best we could to try and complete all the laps.  You never know what can happen, so props to them.  Fortunately, we were able to gain some points there at the end and locked us in.  It was definitely nerve racking, but a lot of props to the 12 team.”


WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU GOT THE DAMAGE AND FELL LAPS DOWN?  “It was hurt pretty badly.  We couldn’t keep up with the draft for a while because we just had so much damage.  By the time we got five or six laps down you try to stay optimistic about these things.  It’s easy to kind of get down on it and you just try to stay positive.  Luckily, that positivity worked out for us, but definitely not an ideal start to the day.  Luckily, all of our hard work by staying in it paid off at the end.”


WHAT ABOUT THE END OF THE RACE AND YOUR THOUGHTS?  “We weren’t a part of the lead pack.  Even if I was I couldn’t do anything.  I wasn’t racing for position.  You just hope that everything gets wild and it looks like the 19 kind of got shucked out there and lost some spots and wasn’t able to get them back.  There really wasn’t anything I could do.  You’re just riding around trying to complete the laps and whatever happens happens.  It’s out of your control.”


WERE YOU WORRIED TRUEX WAS COMING FOR A WHILE THERE?  “Oh, yeah.  You know you’re behind him and things like that.  It is what it is.  You’re always aware of where he’s at, but it definitely goes through your head.”


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN THE PLAYOFFS?  “It means a lot.  Honestly, it’s been a good year for us, but the wins haven’t come.  I feel like we can be a big threat in the playoffs, it’s just a matter of putting races together.  It’s been a good year, but a great year would be wins and I feel like this team can do it if we just continue to do what we know and we improve on the things that we can get better at.”


CAN YOU IMPROVE DURING THE PLAYOFFS?  “For sure.  You can definitely improve during the playoffs.  You go in understanding what you need to do and what you want to get better at and hopefully you can apply them.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang – “I got hit by another race car going 190, 200 miles an hour.  I’m glad I saved it and glad I had a shot to come back through the field.  He is racing for a playoff spot and totally expected to get drove through.  It was just a matter of time.  I’m pretty bummed.  We had a shot to win today.  The Maytag/Menard Ford Mustang was obviously quick.  We put ourselves in position.  Not a scratch on it.  Dang it.”


HOW TOUGH WAS THAT WITH ALL THOSE CHEVYS BEHIND YOU?  “I knew I was a sitting duck.  I felt like it was an Xfinity race again as the only Ford out there.  Honestly, Ragan saved me a little bit there and we were able to work with both the RWR cars there to get back up through.  One lap longer and I might have had a shot, I don’t know.  It’s frustrating to be that close.  You know it’s gonna come down to when they’re gonna take the run.  I was lifting all the way into the tri-oval trying not to leave the gap that big, and they were just backing up to each other together as they should.  I’m kind of pissed about it, but can’t be too upset.  In the playoffs and have a lot to fight for.  Great opportunity.”


AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU HELPED YOUR TEAMMATE MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.  “I’m over the moon that the 12 car is in the playoffs.  They deserve it.  Ryan deserves it.  I was sick to my stomach the entire rain delay, honestly.  I care that much about this team, forget who is driving the car, but that group deserves to be in the playoffs and deserves to fight for a championship.”


HOW DOES IT FEEL TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS AS A ROOKIE?  “It’s an amazing opportunity, but at the same time it’s what I expect out of myself and it’s certainly what the team expects – to have all of these cars in the playoffs – so I’m pretty motivated to make the most of the opportunity.  I don’t think anybody expects much out of us, but I expect a lot, so I’m looking forward to it.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – ALL THREE TEAM PENSKE CARS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS.  THAT MUST FEEL GOOD FOR EVERYONE.  “It seems like everything worked out the way it needed to.  We got a stage win, which is great, some more points there.  We got the 12 in.  Everything worked out as good as we could hope and now we move forward and try to win a championship.”


HOW DO YOU FEEL WITH THINGS RESETTING FOR THE PLAYOFFS?  “I think we’re in great shape.  I look at the last month-and-a-half and I can’t say this with confidence, but I’m pretty sure we’ve scored more points than anybody.  We scored a lot of points the last few weeks, so we’re doing a lot of really good things here recently.  We just have to keep pushing and trying to figure out where a little bit more speed is, but we just have to keep executing with what we’ve got.  We’ve got great execution, a great pit crew, great calls on the box.  We’ve got to keep that going.”


CODY WARE, No. 51 Nurtec Ford Mustang – “I’m just super proud of everyone with the No. 51 team.  I just want to thank Nurtec ODT and Ford Performance and everybody who has made this possible.  There’s a lot more downs and ups in NASCAR, but to be here and to get my first top 10 and have both RWR cars in the top 10 this weekend is really phenomenal.  I can’t think Steve Barkdoll and my crew and everyone who was involved in making this happen today.”


HOW DID YOU SURVIVE ALL OF THE CARNAGE?  “I think the big thing was just perseverance.  There was a lot of attrition in this race and we made sure to be cautiously aggressive in the first part of this race, so to walk away from it and get the chance to race with the leaders and battle all the way up to third and try to fight for the win was really an awesome day.  I think this will give us a lot of positive energy and momentum heading into Darlington next weekend, another track where we’ve had some success this year already, so being sixth is a good day.  I wish we could have got more.  I think it just shows how good of a day we had and I”m definitely gonna go to sleep tonight happy.”


BJ MCLEOD, No. 78 NASCAR Rivals Ford Mustang – “First off, it was a crazy day but it was fun executing our plan and getting it to work in our favor because we’ve been doing this a lot, but it’s still hard to pull off.  We’ve had small wrecks in the back take us out.  There’s really no safe spot, other than the front row or really conservative and today we were able to put it all together and not lose a lap under that first green flag stop and just made things work.  There at the end we had a couple cars behind us to help.  Logano helped us for a second and when they were helping me I had a shot, but coming to three and four on the last lap I tried to get the right of the 62 and it stalled out a little bit and the 62 pulled up.  When he pulled up, I had to wait until he went back down to even try to get another run and it was just too late.  Still, an awesome day for a small team.”

DOES IT MAKE ALL THE STRUGGLES AND CHALLENGES A SMALL TEAM FACES WORTH IT ON DAYS LIKE THIS?  “Absolutely.  I’m always thankful and always driven, but this series is tough.  It can beat you up running every week and having an average of 34th place speed in a series that rightfully so we’re still good, it’s just we’re 34th.  There are 33 other better people out there.  It gets hard and these finishes, like today we did earn it.  It’s a superspeedway and, yes, we’ve got to work on our team a lot to be competitive at mile-and-a-half tracks and short tracks, but right now we raced today.  We put a plan together as a team.  We built a car together as a team and we come here and we got a top 10 finish.  That’s what is so big for my guys because we’re away from people a lot and on the road a lot and it just means a lot to get them a good finish.”


COLE CUSTER, No. 41 Autodesk/ Ford Mustang – “That was a long day but I appreciate the guys sticking it out and giving me a chance to make it to the end. Our Autodesk/ Ford Mustang doesn’t look as nice as it did to start this morning but we gained 10 or 11 spots just by putting in the work to make it drivable after the wreck. I’m ready to get to Darlington and see what we’ve got next weekend.”


KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang – PIT ROAD RADIO INTERVIEW IMMEDIATELY AFTER RED FLAG WAS DISPLAYED FOR RAIN.  WHAT WAS THE INTENSITY LIKE OUT THERE WITH RAIN ON THE WAY?  “It just raised the intensity to a pretty high level just because of the fact that you didn’t know when the rain was going to come.  It was definitely a high intensity, but that’s what we expected today.”


TV INTERVIEW DURING RED FLAG PERIOD:  YOU WERE IN GOOD POSITION.  WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW?  “It was raining.  We made it through the first part of the wreck there and obviously there was a lot of carnage.  I saw the bottom two cars starting to come back up the racetrack so I gassed it up and, so close, but the car maintained plenty of speed.  You can see it come out of there, so I guess that’s all subjective.  You have to be subjective to what is minimum speed because when the caution comes out we are the leader – when the light comes on.  I don’t know.”

IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DISCUSS WITH NASCAR ON HOW THEY MAKE THAT DECISION?  “Well, I think they’re making it up as they go.  It’s just one of those deals.”


HOW DID YOU GET INTO POSITION?  “We had a good Mobil 1 Ford Mustang and just were able to push really well.  I think when we missed part of the fender there and the splitter got separated from the nose it kind of took the ability to lead well away from the car, but our car would still push and they did a great job of fixing everything.  All you have to do is keep it rolling and give yourself a chance.”


ARE YOU PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE PLAYOFFS?  “Yeah.  The best thing with our team is we’ve had some good luck.  I think just having some things go your way is important because fast cars or slow cars, you have to have momentum and things on your side a little bit to be able to go through all 10 weeks.  Our guys are doing a good job.  The cars have been running well and we’ve been able to do the things that we need to do.  If we can keep that up, you never know.  It seems like such a wide-open championship picture because it’s just a wide variety of racetracks and it seems like you can hit or miss, and momentum swings come with different teams at different times, so hopefully it’s the right time to be running good and we can keep it up.”


WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TRACKS FOR THE PLAYOFFS?  “I have no idea.  Richmond and Michigan are obviously very different, but I learned early in the season that going to the racetrack you  have to have a very open mind as to how the weekend might go because you just really don’t have any idea.  We went back to Richmond thinking it was gonna kind of be a terrible race and the next thing you know there are cars running around the wall, in the middle of the racetrack, all over the place, so you really can’t read into anything how you think it’s gonna go and what you think is gonna happen because it just seems to be so different every time we go somewhere.”


WHAT DID THAT WIN DO FOR YOUR TEAM?  “I’m pretty confident in our ability to win.  I’ve been through longer dry spells than that one and I think as you look at the guys on the team, they all do a really good job and have all been in position and won races and championships.  Nobody ever pointed fingers.  Nobody ever said, ‘You’re the problem or you’re the problem.’  It’s like, ‘OK, what do we need to do to fix the problem.’  I think that’s really the most productive way to get through losing streaks is to figure out what’s wrong and try to address one problem at a time because it’s so hard to diagnose and try to give the right direction from the driver’s seat and you have to be part of that process.  You can make two or three bad decisions and push for those decisions and the next thing you know you’re way down a road that you can’t get back from and you have to start undoing things.  It just takes time and we made a lot of good decisions and the cars having been running better.”


SPEED MAKES YOUR JOB EASIER, RIGHT?  “It makes it so much easier because now you’re racing on offense and when you can race on offense it’s much easier to race that way than it is to be on defense and back pedaling and trying to trick them with pit strategy and things like that.  When your car has the right amount of speed you can go do the things that you need to do and be aggressive going forward.”


BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 Castrol Ford Mustang – “Somebody wrecked in front of me.  I’m not really sure exactly what happened, but there were just a bunch of cars wrecking in front of me.  I didn’t have anywhere to go and couldn’t slow down in time, so I hate it for our team.  We had a really fast race car.  We were working our way to the front, but we’ll cheer on Chris Buescher now, I guess.”


DID THE ACCIDENT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE TIME OF THE RACE?  WAS THE TRACK SLICKER THAN USUAL?  “Maybe, maybe not.  I didn’t actually see what happened.  I just know that they wrecked in front of me and I could slow down and ran into it.  We beat the front end up and weren’t able to get it fixed.  It’s a bummer for everybody on the RFK No. 6 with Castrol on board.  We had a good car and a shot to win today if we could just not get wrecked and to get wrecked so early on in the race, we never had a chance to show it.  It’s a big bummer.”



SO YOU FELT CONFIDENT IN YOUR CAR?  “Yeah, we were pretty good.  We had a shot to run for it today and never got a chance to show it.”


CAN YOU GET MORE AGGRESSIVE THE NEXT 10 WEEKS AND TRY SOME THINGS?   “Not really.  We’re doing all the same things.  There’s no aggression left that we haven’t shown.”


HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO BE OUT SO EARLY?  “It’s frustrating, but whenever your season is down to one race you’ve got a lot more going on than just that one race.  Our team put a lot of effort into getting this car ready.  They brought a great car, so I hurt for them that we didn’t get a chance to show it.”


THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2013 YOU WON’T BE IN CHAMPIONSHIP MODE.  “I’m not thinking about it that way.  I’m just focused on getting better with our own team every day.”


MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Horizon Hobby Ford Mustang – “I’m not really sure what happened.  Obviously, we were all racing pretty hard there knowing that there’s weather coming and we’re past halfway.  I just have to go back and look at it. I don’t want to say anything silly, but felt like I had a good push from the 8 and had a run on the 22 and pulled out.  I’m not sure if the 8 got me a little bit or if the 22 just blocked a little bit too hard.  It’s superspeedway racing trying to get ourselves locked into the playoffs in our Horizon Hobby Ford Mustang.  We were going for it.  You can see the weather is right there, so it’s unfortunate.  We fought so hard to put ourselves in position to have a shot at making the playoffs.  I felt like that was our shot.  We had to go for it and it didn’t work out, but if I’d have lifted and the rain would have came and finished second, I would have been pretty upset with myself.”


CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – “Down on the back straightaway off of two, Joey decided to go to the bottom, so I felt like following him was probably my best decision there.  We got such a big run that I kind of shoved him out that I felt like if I could get up, I could maybe take the lead.  Looking back on it, I should have just stayed behind and shoved him.  He’s just really good around this place and is always there at the end.  When I got up in front of the 48 he started shoving me pretty hard through three and four and was getting me loose.  He got to my left-rear and that was a little bit on me just being lazy covering it and not knowing and whenever we lost the banking out of four it just spun me around.  It’s unfortunate for my Mahindra Tractor guys.  We kind of just rode around early in the race just trying to get to the end and then once we got our track position was just gonna try to maintain it.  I don’t have a lot of experience leading races here and that’s what happens whenever you aren’t aggressive enough making moves, so I just have to put it in the notebook and go onto Darlington next week to start the playoffs and hopefully start a good run.”


CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang – “We saw rain.  Our Fifth Third Bank Mustang was really fast.  Everybody did their jobs and I felt like I was doing mine fairly well up there and had a run.  We were definitely in a good spot and it was raining when we got to turn one and we all wiped out.  We wiped out all the lead cars, so whoever wins this race wasn’t even in contention.  It’s just ridiculous from my point of view.”


ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “A few things didn’t work out.  I was in position and there was maybe a move I could have made differently to try and get to the lead, but my help that was pushing me – the 17 – wasn’t clear, so I didn’t take the run.  Looking back on it, maybe I wish I would have, but I would have just been in the lead and I would have been the first one to the rain, so I feel like I would have wrecked either way.  I just hate it.  I obviously wanted to win so we could get our team into the playoffs, but we’ve still got a lot of racing left to do this year and proud of everybody on our race team.  I’m just thankful to Smithfield and Ford and everybody that supports this program.  We’ll go race hard for 10 more weeks and get ready for next year then.”


TODD GILLILAND, No. 38 First Phase Ford Mustang – “Track conditions seemed fine, I guess, up until they weren’t right there.  I was obviously at the back of that pack.  I’ve never seen everyone spin out that quick, so I guess the track was probably pretty wet.  That sucks, for sure.  I felt like we had a good First Phase Ford Mustang today.  We got sixth place in the second stage.  We were racing up there with the guys that were supposed to be.  Overall, I felt like our car was OK.  That kind of sucks to end it like that, but it was typical Daytona,.”

Ford Performance PR


No right click

Please link the article.