ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang (Qualified 2nd) – DID IT FEEL LIKE YOU WERE PUTTING TOGETHER A GREAT QUALIFYING RUN AS YOU COMPLETED THE LAP? “When you run at these speedways, you have no idea how the car is speed-wise. The lap is going to be what it is. You just need to do all the little things right as a driver, but a lot of it is about the preparation at the shop – the guys on the team and car. I felt like I did my part. I felt like I got a good launch off pit road and did all the things I needed to do. Gosh, we were really close. But, I’m proud of everybody on the race team – Drew [Blickensderfer] and everyone on our Smithfield Ford Mustang. The team has done a great job, and I’m looking forward to the race.”
HAVING NOW QUALIFIED, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW – ESPECIALLY WITH A MUSTANG IN THE FIRST THREE ROWS? “Just to race up-front. To battle and race up-front all day, and keep ourselves in position all day. These races really turn into track position races. The race plays out how it’s going to play out, and it’s a long race. You can stress too much about how the cars line-up at the start, because there’s so much that goes into an entire race here. I think it’s a good sign that we have speed, which is nice. You need speed in order to make the moves you need to make. From a holistic point of view for the race, I don’t think it matters.”
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors YOG Ford Mustang (Qualified 4th) – DID BEING THE FASTEST CAR IN ROUND 1 HELP INTO THE FINAL ROUND? “Yeah, the first round, I was kind of surprised that it was that good, because I was bouncing around and didn’t feel I held the greatest, straightest wheel. But yeah, it was really good. It’s kind of something that’s common for us – being really, really fast in the first round, but for whatever reason, we just don’t pick up as much in the second round. The second round we felt like we were going to be in really good shape when we went green, and on the back straightaway, I had a pretty big head-wind. I could tell by the flags that I was probably going to be in trouble. But, starting fourth is a great position. Obviously, we’d love to have the pole but truthfully, we’d probably rather start in the second row. I feel like you cna kind of determine your own destiny a little bit more. When you’re in the lead, the guys behind you are shoving you. If your car can’t handle it’s really hard to do anything. Being second row helps that. We have a lot of fast Fords around us, so just looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully our car can stay up-front.”
DOES HAVING OTHER FORDS TOWARD THE FRONT HELP OR CHANGE YOUR GAMEPLAN AT ALL? “It definitely helps. Any time you have – especially when you come to a Daytona or Talladega – just the strength in numbers that we have with Ford, it’s definitely big. I feel like we do a really good job here just controlling the race and using it together. So hopefully we can continue to do that tomorrow, and do what we’ve been able to do the last couple years when it comes to superspeedway racing.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Wurth Ford Mustang (Qualified 5th) – WHAT ARE YOUR TAKEAWAYS FROM QUALIFYING? “Yeah, it’s nice to know we have decent speed – getting into the second round and starting in the top-five. You can’t control much in qualifying. It’s a testament to how these guys show up and the kind of speed they bring. But I think we have a good car for tomorrow – I hope. It’s nice to start toward the front, for sure.
DOES HAVING THREE MUSTANGS STARTING IN THE TOP-FIVE HELP AT ALL? “Yeah, I think we’ll be good. It’s nice to know that the Fords have speed. That’s where you have to start. I definitely think it’s a good sign for tomorrow. Hopefully we can work together and be running by the end of it.”
Ford Performance PR