Friday, Sep 22

Ford Performance - Daytona 2 / Milwaukee Mile Advance

The intensity builds as the NASCAR Cup Series regular season concludes and this season’s Playoff line-up is determined at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. Going into this weekend, Mustang has clinched six Cup spots and holds two Xfinity transfer positions with three races to go in their regular season. For the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, it will mark the return to the Milwaukee Mile, where Ty Majeski will go for his second straight playoff win.



No manufacturer has clinched more Cup playoff positions than Ford, which saw its postseason roster grow to six after Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick secured spots following Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International. Those two join previous race-winners Joey Logano (Atlanta), Ryan Blaney (Charlotte), Chris Buescher (Richmond and Michigan) and Michael McDowell (Indianapolis) with a potential seventh joining them on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.


A handful of other Ford drivers can get into the Cup playoffs with a win on Saturday night, including Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric.  Both drivers have won at the “World Center of Racing” with each getting their first Cup Series victory at the speedway.  Almirola won while driving for Richard Petty Motorsports in July of 2014 while Cindric captured the Daytona 500 last season in his first race as driver of the famed No. 2 Ford Mustang.

Joey Logano: “We just need to build some momentum, right now. That’s the biggest thing is trying to get ourselves back into the Top-10 in points and gain some momentum – a couple, nice top-fives would be good. We’ll win if we can. Set ourselves up to try and make a run again. To see it (recent Ford success) is good, but we need to be more competitive as the No. 22. We need to get that piece a little bit better. There’s potential there and it shows that it’s possible. We just need to get a little quicker.”

Aric Almirola: “Daytona is certainly our last opportunity, and I feel good about it. I really do. I don’t know why, but I have a great feeling about it. I don’t see any reason why we can’t go to Daytona and win that race. I know there are a lot of things that happen there that are out of our control, but for the things that are in our control, I feel like we’re very capable of going in and winning. When you go to Daytona, you can’t be successful there without having things go your way. I am certain that we’ll have to have luck on our side and things go our way. But, it has been a good place for me over the years. I’ve had a fair amount of success there in Xfinity and Cup cars. We had a lot of speed there in February for the Daytona 500 – we won the Duel and we ran up front of the Daytona 500 all day and got in a crash late in the race. But I feel like we will have a very fast Smithfield Ford Mustang when we get there.”

Ryan Blaney: “I don’t feel like the ride around in the back works very well anymore at Daytona. You just need to go race, establish yourself and be smart at the same time – not throw wild moves on Lap 30 of the thing. You have to prepare for the end. At the same time, you have to compete and go racing. You have to show guys that your car is strong. That’s how you have help at the end of those things. If you’re racing all day, you show that you’re fast and have speed, and you can take and give pushes, guys pay attention to that. Then they’re like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go with you if you make a move at the end of this race.’ It’s because you’ve shown the speed in your car. That’s how I’ve approached these races – be smart, but at the same time, you have to actually race.”

Chris Buescher: “The best part is, we certainly get to go into that one with a little bit of weight off our shoulders. Go race, win that thing – like we always do. But, we don’t need to have it in the back of our mind that we need to finish or try to get some points to make the cut-off. Keeping in mind, I hate when you have to points race but you do get to that point at times. With that said, we’re in a good spot and we can go in there with a lot less worry than in times past. Hopefully, Brad [Keselowski] and I can get our Mustangs to the front like we’ve been able to at all these other superspeedways, and can complete the task – that last one percent of the race, we have to tidy it up.”

Austin Cindric: “What makes speedway racing much more challenging than really, any other handling racetrack, is that it’s based on the decisions and mindset of yourself and your competitors. Those types of things change when you’re pack racing. Those are also things you can’t really prepare for or predict. It’s a very social style of racing. It’s never an opportunity you want to put yourself into, to where you are relying on others. This is an environment that’s much more in our control. It is what it is for everybody else. I’ve had success. We’ve had speed at these styles of racetracks. I’m not afraid to go there and put my name in the hat and say that I can win because I know I can.”



After Tiny Lund was crowned Ford’s first-ever Daytona 500 winner in 1963, Fireball Roberts gave the manufacturer its first season sweep at the speedway in spectacular fashion by driving his 1963 Holman-Moody Ford to a midsummer victory of the Firecracker 400. Roberts bested the likes of teammate Fred Lorenzen and Wood Brothers Racing’s Marvin Panch and a top-five that included the Mercury of Darel Dieringer as well as Ned Jarrett’s Ford. Originally called the Firecracker 250, the race was 100 laps until expanding to the current 400 miles (160 laps) in 1963. The thrilling debut of the elongated version saw 39 lead changes with Roberts beating Lorenzen by only a car length.



Ryan Blaney endured a chaotic end to the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in 2021 at Daytona as he swiftly escaped a multi-car pile-up exiting the third turn with four laps remaining. Blaney, who was running fifth in the middle row of three-wide competition, moved up the track to evade the spinning cars seen from his windshield and inherited the lead. In overtime, Blaney managed to stay out front, fending off Kevin Harvick and Chris Buescher in the final laps before the race’s eighth caution, subsequently giving Blaney his third win of the season.



While Daytona is not the regular season finale for the Xfinity Series, the battle for a Top-10 position in the playoffs intensifies. Cole Custer goes into Daytona seeking his third-straight Top-10 finish to improve upon his fourth place standing in the points (775). Riley Herbst holds the bubble spot (610), but notably kicked off his 2023 campaign with a sixth-place performance at Daytona earlier this year.



Ty Majeski kicked off his playoff campaign with a victory at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park a few weeks ago, and now the Seymour, WI, native and Thorsport Racing driver heads back to his home state at the Milwaukee Mile. Defending series champion Zane Smith also enters Milwaukee with momentum, having posted four top-five finishes in the last five races. Thorsport’s Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton also continue their playoff run, giving Ford four contenders for this year’s championship.

Ford Performance PR


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