Wednesday, Dec 06

Ford Performance - Martinsville 2 Cup Qualifying Quotes

Ford Qualifying Results:

3rd – Chase Briscoe

8th – Kevin Harvick

9th – Ryan Preece

10th – Brad Keselowski

11th – Ryan Blaney

12th – Aric Almirola

15th – Joey Logano

17th – Todd Gilliland

18th – Chris Buescher

21st – Austin Cindric

23rd – Michael McDowell

28th – Harrison Burton

33rd – Ryan Newman

35th – JJ Yeley


Chris Buescher, driver of the No. 17 Nexletol Mustang for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, finds himself 43 points below the cut line going into tomorrow’s elimination race. He spoke about most likely needing a win in order to advance to the Championship 4 earlier today at Martinsville Speedway.


CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Nexletol Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOMORROW? “It will be tricky, but I know we’re gonna work hard on this Nexletol Ford Mustang to get us in a good place. I felt like we made some decent adjustments from practice. We’re just really diving into notes now from the last race here and trying to figure out how to get better, so we’re close on time. We’re in the right tenth of a second bracket, but just on the wrong side of it. It’s not that we’re way off here, we just have to make some small changes and be ready to pass some cars.”


YOU HAVE PERFORMED BEYOND PREVIOUS RESULTS SO WHY NOT HERE AS WELL? “That’s accurate. Richmond wasn’t my best track and statistically Michigan wasn’t my best track and statistically there are ways to make numbers say whatever you want at the end of the day. I think with the pace that we’ve been able to pick up at RFK that a lot of previous stats, I won’t say irrelevant, but they don’t hold the same amount of weight that they did to two years ago. From that side of things, we’ve actually been fairly decent at this track in some regards and some of the ways that we pull it apart. We’ve had some penalties here. We’ve had some parts failures that we weren’t able to control, so those are some things that have happened that haven’t been on us. With some of that fixed, we could very well be looking at some very good days, so I do feel like this is a place we have more potential than we’ve shown and certainly as of late have been able to pick it up. We just need to tweak a little bit and get a little better.


DO YOU FEEL A DIFFERENCE IN THE TIRE FROM THE SPRING? “I didn’t do the test and so from my point of view it probably doesn’t feel a whole lot different than I remember. Obviously, that was a long time ago and it’s a lot warmer this time around to Martinsville, so it certainly looks like it’s laying a lot more rubber down, so later in the run it was getting a little slicker, maybe widening out a touch more quickly, but I think we would have said the same thing with the previous tire just with a little warmer weather. I’m not sure how to exactly dissect that right now.”


IT”S BEEN A GOOD YEAR REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW. HOW DOES THIS YEAR COMPARE TO EXPECTATIONS? “Jack said this two weeks ago. He said he wants to make sure that everybody takes this in and enjoys it because it has been a great year. We still have work to do and that all comes down to tomorrow. Obviously, this round hasn’t gone nearly as smooth as we had hoped so far, but it’s been a great season for RFK and for us on the 17 side. I’m very proud of everything up to this point and beyond, so we can certainly make it a lot better here tomorrow, but right now you look back on it and this was our expectation for ourselves. We knew it was gonna be hard to do that, and it was, but we’ve certainly been able to get to a place where we expected ourselves to be able to get to at the beginning of the season.”


DO YOU JUST GO IN SAYING YOU HAVE TO WIN THE RACE TOMORROW? “Yeah, in that way it’s a little easier because that’s it. It’s one scenario that gets us to the next line, but even if you go for the win and come up a little short it still sets you up for a fun day and a good shot at it, so that’s what we’re after. That’s what you’re always after is going for the win, but I guess in a way this does clean up our race strategy in the way that we don’t have to chase three points here, six points there. There are those couple of groups that are sitting and teetering on that cut line that it might make their strategy a little messier. I can’t really talk for them, but if we were in that scenario I think it would make us think about things a little differently. This simplifies our day tomorrow.”


SCOTT SAID TOMORROW IS ABOUT GOING DOWN FIGHTING. “That’s right. That kind of ties in to just go to win. That is the one scenario that gets us where we want to go and that’s Phoenix in the final four and give it all we’ve got. Don’t leave anything on the table at the end of the day. I’ll say that whatever happens say that that was our best effort and didn’t lay over, didn’t take it easy at any point and fight for trying to make that next group. He’s exactly right. It’s about making sure that we keep that fire that we’ve had all season long and being able to do something with it or basically putting in maximum effort to do our best to make something happen with it.”


IS IT EASIER TO KNOW YOU JUST HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO AND NOTHING ELSE? “Yeah, it does. You’re not worried about a survival aspect for the most part. Obviously, there’s the basics of it that to win you have to finish, but for us it means that we don’t have to worry about those stage points. It means we can go out there and be aggressive. We don’t have to worry about pushing fenders in and driving aggressive. That’s great for us and it will be a negative for some of the others in the group. It will make them have to think twice at certain times during the race and how hard do you want to try to throw a block or be aggressive on a restart if those scenarios arise for them. It does make it to where, for us, we’ve only got one thing on our minds, so we get to be the aggressor here tomorrow.”


WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE NASCAR TRY NEXT TO FIX RACING ON THE SHORT TRACKS? “I don’t know. We haven’t even gotten through this one yet. We’ll see how it goes through it. I know there’s been a lot of talk about trying to cut shifting, trying to pull downforce off of it. I think if you can put power back to it, make it to where it’s easier to overpower the tire, then I think a lot of the stuff we’re trying to chase with tires kind of comes into play on its own. If you have to manage throttle on exit, you won’t shift and be able to run wide-open before you ever get close to straight on the wheel. If you have power, it just really takes away a lot of those options and makes you think long-term through a run. That’s my initial thought on it is think back to ARCA days. That’s the most power I’ve ever had in a race car. It was probably about 900 horsepower at that time and have not had that much power since. That’s a bummer for me. Every time we go to a different series we’re always cutting power. It’s always gotten restricted or spacered or whatever it may be, but those days were a lot of fun, short track racing especially when you had to manage that power throughout a run, and those were only 200 lap races typically. You had to have it on your mind from the drop of the green, so I think that’s my initial impression. There are probably a lot of people that don’t like that idea – I don’t think on the driver’s side. I think most of them would be on board, but on the industry side of things I don’t think that would go over terribly well.”


WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON THIS ROUND, BRAD LED LAPS AND GOT STAGE POINTS. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CONTRAST IN TERMS OF EXECUTION BETWEEN THE 6 AND 17? “We just missed our balance a little bit and it’s taken us too long to get it. I think we talked last week that we found where we needed to be in that race, it was just too late. We found ourselves a lap down too quickly. We steadily got it better with each adjustment and each time we were on the track, so with that it did get us in the ballpark, but we didn’t get to show it. That’s basically last week. For us, that’s where we’ve got to be better. This week, fire off we’ve been pretty similar. Obviously, he made the final round there, so he did a better job for qualifying. I feel like I just needed to clean up a couple little things. Like I said, we’re in the right tenth bracket, but not in the right hundredth bracket. We’re splitting hairs here at Martinsville just like always. We’re gonna look back on it and wish there were a couple things different. There’s always gonna be moments through the season where I wish I did something different behind the wheel. At Vegas I didn’t have my cleanest day and didn’t do a great job on pit road and that’s my fault there. We’re gonna continuously look at things that could have been better and think about what-ifs, but, right now, it’s win Martinsville.”


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