Sunday, Jun 04

Ford Performance - NCS All-Star Heat Race Quotes

Ford Finishing Results (Heat Race 1)

2nd – Joey Logano

3rd – Chase Briscoe

6th – Ryan Blaney

8th – Kevin Harvick

9th – Austin Cindric


Ford Finishing Results (Heat Race 2)

1st – Chris Buescher

4th – Brad Keselowski


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – “It wasn’t wet. We probably could have put dries on it and it would have been fine, but I know we’re playing it a little safe for the first time. Overall, racing here at North Wilkesboro is just cool in itself. On the first run I thought I saved my tires and I was OK, and I started kind of maintaining and catching the 9 at the end and then the caution came out for some reason. Then I was like, ‘I’ve got to go now’...but I burnt everything up and then I was playing defense the rest of the race. It’s fun because you’ve got to play it smart inside the car. You’ve got to have the strategy and if you make the wrong decision you pay the price because of the tire wear, especially with the rain tires on. It’s a fun race and overall we’re starting third in the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang for a million bucks tomorrow night.”


WHAT IS TOMORROW GOING TO BE LIKE? “I don’t care as long as our car is up front. I’m sure it’s gonna be great. There is gonna be a lot of tire wear and the strategy is really gonna come into play, especially towards the end that last 100 laps there with the amount of tires that’s gonna be left. There’s gonna be a hard decision. Either way it’s a gamble depending on when you put your tires on. You put them on with 50 to go, you put them on with 20 to go, either way it’s a gamble depending on how the race plays out.”


CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Ford Mustang – “I almost felt like we had more grip on the wet weather tires than we did the slicks. It was definitely interesting. I don’t know what lap times we were running, but I definitely felt like we were running way faster than what we were on slicks. I don’t know. Maybe we need to change them a little bit just to make them to where there’s a little more fall off. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s definitely something we can do week in and week out. I think we’ve proved that. I’m looking forward to the future and racing more in the rain.”


YOU WERE RIGHT BEHIND LOGANO. WERE YOU CONFLICTED ON WHAT TO DO THERE? “Yeah, you definitely don’t want to take another Ford out, but at the same time we were way faster and I just kept on hitting him. I couldn’t get by him. I kept trying to move him, but right where I was better is where he would always slow me down. He’s just really good at doing that with all of his experience, so I felt like I learned a lot, honestly, just being behind him and trying to set him and trying to pass him because I definitely had a faster car, it was just a matter of trying to figure out how to do it and I didn’t want to just use him up. It got a little tricky there at the end because the 20 caught me and I was having to play defense, but I thought our car was really good. I would have loved to run it in the full dry because I felt our car was extremely good yesterday, but we’ve got a good starting spot and we’ll see what we can do.”



CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE CAR THERE? “That was the plan. We didn’t want to give you anything to talk about. That was awesome. I was so proud of our group. This Fastenal Mustang has been really fast from the time we unloaded off the truck. The pit crew did a fantastic job and put us in a great spot here today. We’re in a good place for the race tomorrow evening. I’m excited. I’m ready for this thing. Let’s go. Let’s go get a million dollars.”


YOU WERE PART OF THE TIRE TEST HERE. HAS IT BEEN A PROGRESSION FOR YOU AT THIS PLACE? “Yeah. The tire test was cut short by rain and we only got a day in, so we really didn’t get the opportunity to work on the car and get it better, so we did leave there with a game plan. We knew what we wanted to change and our group just did a great job of implementing that and getting us back here. It’s been good off the truck. We’ve made very little adjustments to both race cars. We’ve got speed in both of ours, so it’s definitely a benefit. I’d hate to see what could have happened if we would have gotten the second day of that tire test. I would have been on rails (laughing), but, no, it was really good and our group has done a fantastic job.”




CHRIS BUESCHER – “It was a lot of fun. It’s awesome and so cool to be back here. It’s so special to see how much has changed since the Dale Jr. clean-up day here and thinking that was the demise of the racetrack – that that was its last savior and it was destined to be bulldozed and here we are. Marcus Smith and his group have done such a fantastic job. The track is a blast to run. It just brings me back to Saturday night short track racing. The track has a ton of character – more fall off than most places. I know a lot of it has been patched up to where we’re not going out there and sticking your foot down in the cracks that were here a while back, but it gives you something to chase and things to move around and look for. The track race was a lot of fun to watch, watching them use the apron. I don’t think that’s something our cars are gonna do very well, but it was noted I’m sure by everybody in this race tomorrow. I’ll be watching the Open closely to see if anybody tries it, but I feel like our Fastenal Mustang is really good. I was really happy after practice. Short run speed, long run speed, it was all showing up well and really just trying to control our own pace tonight and made sure we didn’t give you all too much to talk about.”


WHY WON’T YOU USE THE APRON TOMORROW? “Our cars are just stiffer, more travel limited than the cars of old – old truck arm cars. The trucks just have more movement. You watch them go down there and they droop out a lot better. You see our cars, even in a crash situations, people go down to the apron to avoid a wreck and you watch one or two tires cross the platform – the car come off the ground. We just don’t have the movement to be able to do it, especially in turn one. Three and four, maybe. I’d be curious to see if any of that comes up in the Open. As you get on track a lot of cars fighting for position it’ll be in the hot of day where we’ll be in the night. I think the track picked up a little grip. I’d be watching it, but if it happens, I would say three and four.”


THERE WERE NO RUNS LONGER THAN 30 LAPS. WOULD IT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT WITH 20 MORE LAPS? “It was dictated by weather. In both heat races we just basically split them to either check on rain tires from the beginning of the first heat or switch to rains for ours. It’s not that we’re out there wrecking stuff. I would have like to have seen it drive out a little bit longer and see what we had, but we were really conserving tires on slicks when we thought that was probably gonna run to the end and really trying to take care of them as much as possible. I would have loved to have seen what that would have done for us in another 20 or 30 laps, and then bolting on the wets it was the same thing, trying to get a comfortable cushion and then kind of roll out of it from there to where we weren’t trying to burn out stuff up too much in case it did fall off hard there at the end. Honestly, the wet weather scenario doesn’t really matter anymore. Tomorrow’s radar looks way better and I don’t think we’ll be dealing with that. We’ll definitely focus on that slick tire run and see what we can do to work on it and study it a little bit and see what we feel like it would have done with another 20 laps.”


WHY HAVE DRIVERS WHO WERE IN THE TIRE TEST HERE SO FAST HERE? “Anytime on a track that’s brand new to everybody – none of us were here in ‘96. We were mostly in diapers, so it’s a lot of us are seeing it for the first time and that March test just gave you those first handful of laps. I’ll tell you, the biggest advantage it was was lap one on track in practice, watching everybody sail off into the corner thinking that we had Martinsville grip and we don’t. I watched a lot of people really slide way up the hill and had a good idea of where we were at, so track time always helps. That test was also rain shortened by a day, so typically tire tests on the second day you get to work on it a little bit. We didn’t get that opportunity, but we had the first day to study. I think we all had ideas of what we wanted changed for that second day and didn’t get to, but I would say there’s something to be said for being able to think about that and come back with it. I think that’s why you push hard to volunteer to do those things. Teams take the money out of their pockets to go do it knowing that it can hit you good on the tail end. You would love to do every one of them, but that’s not how it works. We hit the lottery knowing that it would be a good one for us and now it’s showed up in some speed and I think our group has just done a really good job at studying the notes from that and knowing what we’re up against and what we’re chasing.”


WE ACTUALLY RAN A RACE ON A WET TRACK TONIGHT. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? “I’m sure you want me to talk a lot of good things about it (laughter). I won’t be mean about it because I can appreciate the fact that we got the show back going for the fans. I’m gonna sit here and say I don’t think we needed to put them on for our race at all. That being said, the first race, let’s use that one. The track was wet, damp, being able to bolt tires on, go out there and turn the lights on, that was good. That got us going almost on time and kept the show rolling. It was a success. We went out there and nothing was crazy. What I should say about our Heat 2 and bolting the tires on there, I didn’t have my eyes on a weather screen and didn’t know what may have been coming. I’ve been the person sitting up here really upset when we’ve sailed off into a corner and it’s raining there on slicks, so I don’t want to sit here and say that was the craziest thing we’ve ever done. We should have been on slicks, no doubt. There may have been something else in play and I can appreciate it if that’s the case. And they worked fine. We saw it in the first heat. To your point, I don’t want to do this every week. I don’t want to race in the rain. I don’t want it to be windshield wipers turned on in our cars, but the fact that so many fans come out to support this event at North Wilkesboro, how appreciative we are of them for really showing up in these massive numbers. I’m glad that we were able to keep the show going for them. It’s not like it was raining hard enough. People were up there without ponchos and umbrellas. They were ready to see some racing and we got that going for them.”


WOULD YOU BE OK WITH THIS PLACE HAVING A POINTS RACE IN 2024? “Yeah. I’m a big fan of that. I would love to see it and I would have said that before I knew we were gonna be fast tonight. I love tracks with this much character. It takes me right back to growing up ARCA racing and whether that was Salem and going up and watching the banking just fall off the side of the mountain or side of the banking just rolling off. It was so rough, so much character and so many things that you did different to try and prep for that. We left the test here and the best thing I could relate to was Berlin and running an ARCA race there. We got wide-open two laps in a 200-lap feature – just no grip. That’s what it feels like here. That’s character. It makes you search. It makes you try and think about longevity of tires. It makes you think about how you’re gonna approach early runs versus long runs and puts strategy back in the game for our crew chiefs and crew members. It puts so many things back into the race that we used to talk about every week because there’s so much character. There are so many variables with a track like this and I love it. I love places that make you think about it and make you work hard for it and I want to get down to the bottom of the racetrack and drop a tire right below that white line and say, ‘Man, there was a big hole right there,’ or ‘there was gravel there’. You watch the truck race and watch them run down in the gravel. Where else on our schedule do you run through gravel other than road racing when none of us really know what we’re doing anyway. We all just sail up through the beach. I love the fact that there’s so much of it here and wish we had 10 more racetracks that were just like this in different ways. I’d be a big fan of seeing a points race here.”


YOU WERE HERE IN DECEMBER 2019 FOR THE CLEAN UP, RIGHT? “Yes. I didn’t realize it was that long ago. That makes me appreciate the transformation so much more. I’ve driven by this place countless times on my way to Bristol through the years and watched the evergreens grow up through the grandstands of one and two, and just knew that it was a lost racetrack. It was one of those things where Junior Motorsports put together the track cleanup day and a call for help on Twitter. One of the rare moments I got on Twitter and was actually roaming around and I was like, ‘I’ve got a skid steer. I’ve got a dump trailer. I’ll come scrape the track up and help out.’ I love doing stuff like that, so I threw my name into the hat and came up here. A lot of the heavy lifting was already done, so I got to walk around here with a shovel scraping dirt out of the cracks. It wasn’t near as much fun as I was hoping on the skid steer, but it was cool to see it come from what it was that day and watching a photographer leg went through a grandstand floorboard. It was rough. This room right here was terrifying. I mean, post-apocalyptic. It was disgusting. Stuff all over the place. It was insane and to see what it is today it’s amazing. Hat’s off to everybody. It’s really cool. That makes it that much more special. I’m telling you, when we walked through that door right there it was straight out of the Walking Dead in here. It was terrifying. There was a gurney on its side right here. It was terrible. I’m telling you, it was something else. I hope we cleaned the blood stains up and everything is good underneath this carpet (laughter). It was so wild to see it and I actually just now is the first time I’ve walked in this room. We went up top earlier and I was like, ‘That’s better.’ I wouldn’t have wanted to turn the lights on before, so much better.”


TONIGHT MUST HAVE BEEN FUN AND SATISFYING. “Yeah, the whole weekend is a fun weekend. It’s fun for our pit crew members yesterday – to say, ‘Look, go put everything on the line and do a fast stop.’ If a tire falls off, there’s no penalty – not really. It’s one of those situations where we come here and let’s go give everything we can everytime we’re on track. That’s fun. I talk about it more than I probably should, but I hate points racing. I hate the thought of not giving your 105 percent effort every week because you have to think about points and the long run. I feel like that can take away a lot in our big race. You get a win and you get to go away from points racing for the most part. That Daytona 500 win means a whole lot more than just getting to leave the car down in the museum there. It means you get to go racing like we all grew up racing. That’s what this weekend is for us. We come down here and don’t worry about any of that. Let’s go win a race and, oh, by the way, there’s a million dollars at the start-finish line and a really cool trophy, so just a couple added incentives there, let alone the fact we’re back at North Wilkesboro for the first time in almost 30 years. There are a lot of cool things about it that add up, but it’s just a fun weekend. It’s really neat. Like I said, the amount of people that were here for the pit crew competition last night and for today have been here all day long. It’s fantastic and really cool.”


YOU RACED AT ROCKINGHAM AS WELL AND WE HAVEN’T GONE BACK THERE. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO? “Is it wrong to say Dale Jr.? Is that the wrong answer? When Rockingham was revived it was Andy Hillenburg that went back in and really got it started back up. The track was raceable and it was a fun race. It was early on in my ARCA career and some of the first big tracks I was able to run and I really enjoyed it. The track had the character like this place, but it did not drum up the amount of support. I don’t have a good rhyme or reason for it other than everything about this weekend has been talked about since 2019. It’s how does this recover? How does it come back? I guess we just haven’t had the buzz around Rockingham to get back there. Even now. Rockingham is being repaved right now. Every now and then you see pictures of equipment out there grinding it up and getting it ready and we don’t talk about it much, and, honestly, I don’t know much about it and I knew everything that was going on here the whole time – watched it steadily evolve and become what it is right here tonight. I think if it’s possible to have the same effort and same backing behind Rockingham, you’ll see a fantastic show there as well. Hopefully, it can do the same thing because it’s another one of those really historic racetracks that would be right no top of this one. It has tons of character. Let’s go do it. Let’s go make it happen. The best way I can come from and say is the fact that if I’m a fan right now, I haven’t heard near as much about Rockingham as I would like to or don’t really know the plans going forward about it and I’ve known about this one and known what was coming and known the potential of it.”


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