Keselowski’s Fourth Place Effort Paces Three Fords in Top-10 at Daytona

Daytona, Florida Feb. 24, 2013:
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion – “We were going through a green flag cycle of pit stops and just kind of riding and all I saw was the 2 coming across the race track, so I don’t know if the 2 cut down a tire or if he spun or if someone hooked him.  I just saw the 2 coming up the race track and I hit the guy in front of me and the guy behind me hits me.  It was just an unfortunate event.  We had some speed in our Ford and had a fast car.  I enjoyed racing hard and was hoping to set ourselves up for the finish, but it just didn’t work out.”
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 Race February 24, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.A pack of Ford's race down the backstretch during the Daytona 500..(c)2013, Russell LaBounty.Autostock.

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 Race
February 24, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.A pack of Ford’s race down the backstretch during the Daytona 500..(c)2013, Russell LaBounty.Autostock.

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – “I am not really sure what happened. Someone got loose and slid up the track. I had nowhere to go. We had a great, super fast car. We had a plug wire come off in the beginning and get us behind and we were inching our way back up but I just hate to end the day this way. We were hoping to have a better day than this for Love’s Travel Stop, but we will have to come back next week and get ‘em at Phoenix.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COMPETITION? “Different, definitely different. It is not the most fun kind of racing out there for sure. It will get exciting here at the end and I am sure they will put on a good show.”
JOSH WISE – No. 35 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “I didn’t really see anything.  Our line just stopped and it was kind of like a slinky.  We just kind of all piled into each other.  The top lane always seemed to prevail so guys were fighting to get up to the top.  It would have just been nice to get to the end.”
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona February 24, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.Trevor Bayne, Josh Wise and Carl Edwards race in turn 4.©2013, Nigel Kinrade.Autostock

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona
February 24, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.Trevor Bayne, Josh Wise and Carl Edwards race in turn 4.©2013, Nigel Kinrade.Autostock

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – HOW CRAZY DID IT GET OUT THERE AT THE END AND WHAT WAS THE MOVE YOU TRIED TO MAKE TO WIN? “I think you saw all day that the high lane was so much faster than the lower lanes that the guy that had the high lane was in charge. We got real fortunate because we caught a big break when the yellow came out and we had just pitted. That got us to the lead and then we caught a bad break when the yellow came out as we were battling with Jimmie. He was an inch in front of me when the yellow came out and that gave him the high line on the restart and there was nothing we could do. We weren’t strong enough to hold our own there on the bottom. All in all it was a good day for the Miller Lite Ford. We wrecked about three times today and still had a shot at the win and I took it, we just came up short.”
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 Race

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 Race
February 24, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.Brad Keselowski pits the Miller Lite Ford during the Daytona 500..(c)2013, Russell LaBounty.Autostock..

WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DID HITTING THAT DEBRIS LATE HAVE ON YOUR EFFORT? “I don’t know if it hurt the car or not. I definitely hit something big. I don’t know what that was. I was probably more concerned with the fact that the yellow came out exactly when we were an inch or two behind Jimmie. That set it up for him to have the high lane on the restart and we weren’t strong enough with the damage to our car to do anything once that happened. You saw all day that the high lane was drastically faster than the lower lanes and that showed up there on the last restart and he was able to drive away.”

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS RACING TODAY? “It seemed like the high lane was where all the speed was. I kept trying everything I could to make a pass on the lower lanes but it wasn’t going to work. I could tell you that I didn’t want to run single file but when you try to make a move and go to the bottom you just go backwards. The only thing worse than running single file is running single file in the back of the pack.”

YOUR CAR IS BEAT TO HECK. HOW DO YOU STAY OUT FRONT THAT LONG WITH A CAR LIKE THAT? “You drive it. You don’t ask, you just drive. You want to make excuses for not being successful you could do that or you can go out there and put it all on the line and try to win.”

AT ANY POINT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DONE? “Hell yeah I was concerned but once they drop the green there is no room to be concerned.”

TALK ABOUT THOSE LAST FOUR LAPS. “The high lane just had all the speed. It doesn’t mean we weren’t trying. It just wouldn’t go down there eon the bottom and it made it real hard to pass. It wasn’t for lack of effort. I would rather make that effort, and I did, but I kept going to the back. The only thing worse than not being able to make a pass, is being in the back. That is just the way it was today.”

DID THE RACE GO LIKE YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD FROM START TO FINISH? “Yeah, I didn’t really know what to expect so it is hard to say but I was able to get track position at the end and that was really important.”

WERE YOU FRUSTRATED OUT THERE BY THE LACK OF PASSING? “Yeah, of course you are frustrated by that. You want to pass and get to the front. If you aren’t then you aren’t a racer. We tried but it just didn’t work.”

“I would say he is probably spot on. I think there are ideas out there but that doesn’t mean it would work. You could probably fool around with the spoiler a little bit. That shark fin I think is probably causing some of it. It is hard to just speculate.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “Our car was a good drafting car and the only thing I could do is stay in line.  I was gonna make my move in the middle of three in four.  Off of four I was gonna back up to Danica.  I knew Junior was backing up and then they said Junior is coming on the bottom, but I knew he was by himself.  I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way he’s gonna have enough momentum to get by us lined up on the top in the second groove.’  Plus, he was coming so fast I don’t think I could have blocked him.  We would have had a wreck like yesterday.  I would have never thought the bottom lane would have gotten a run like that at the end.  That’s what’s so frustrating.  I figured the 48 would side draft the 88 and then I’d have a chance to pass them both.  That’s what I was thinking was going to happen.  That was my plan.  I had it figured out, but my plan didn’t quite come together.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “I’m definitely happy after getting in a wreck and being able to bounce back from all that.  The guys did a good job getting the car back together, but the Best Buy Ford Fusion was a lot faster than that.  That’s what we’re disappointed with, but it’s a whole new team.  Our communication wasn’t the greatest on when to pit and when not to pit.  We’ve just got to work on everything, but taking a 12th out of Daytona is better than a 30th or 20th, so we’ll definitely take that.  I think we had a lot better piece than that and a lot better team than what we showed today, but we’ll keep working on it.  I’m really excited about Phoenix and Las Vegas coming up.  I think those are gonna be good tracks for us.”

  “It was hard to pass, especially when guys just kind of got up in the top lane.  I actually thought it was pretty racy when we were two or three-wide, but it was hard to stay committed to the bottom.  It seemed if somebody on the bottom got a good run, if there was an opening at the top they would jump into it and that kind of stalled the bottom line out.  That made it a little difficult, but, all in all, I think NASCAR is definitely closer to what they want us to race like.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “It looked like somebody checked up in front of the 2 and he slowed down.  I slowed down and still got in the back of him a little bit, but not enough to wreck him and then I got drilled from behind and just turned me.  It looked like the 2 was gonna wreck too, I thought, but he held on to it.  I don’t know what checked him up but all of a sudden they were just all stopped in front of me.”

WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME TO GET TO THE LAST 20 LAPS OR SO?  “Yeah.  This kind of racing was pretty boring from the driver’s seat.  I kept trying to pull down to the bottom to try to make something happen, but anytime I pulled out of line I got freight-trained.  I just had to stay up top and hang out and wait until the end.  I thought we were cruising and then all of a sudden I don’t know what happened in front of us but the 2 was about stopped and I slowed down a lot and then whoever was behind me, I think it was the 35, wasn’t able to get it slowed down.  Then somebody hit him and it was a domino effect.  The next thing I knew we were turned looking at the infield.”

WAS THE RACE WHAT YOU EXPECTED?  “I figured there would be two ways it could go.  There would be a huge pack or it would break up into four or five groups in a single lane and that’s exactly what happened.  You had everybody riding in line all day long, four different groups of cars, and at the end you can’t make a move.  I’m watching on the big screen as I’m driving around and nobody could make a pass to even try to win the thing, so, to me, I like the old-style racing but everybody is gonna have their opinion.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “I made a lot of ground up there at the end.  Our car was really good.  I felt like I was in perfect position at the end and I got hung out.  That’s just part of it, so we rallied back.  I’m proud of everybody on this Smithfield Ford.  They did a great job.  The big thing was we didn’t want to leave here starting in a hole in points and we did that.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 K-LOVE Ford Fusion – “We had a fast car.  We got up in the top 15 or top 17 group that broke away in the early part of the race and we ran there for almost 100 laps it felt like.  Then we got off sequence one time on pit stops where we took four tires and everybody else took gas only.  We lost a lot of track position, but that cycled back out when everybody else took four and we just took gas.  We were in a good position there at the end and just stayed out of trouble.  Every time I would pull to the bottom to try and make a move I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, so the last 30 laps I commited to the top.  I said to myself, ‘I’m not moving.  I’m not even gonna try anything.  I’m just gonna ride right here,’ and made up a lot of spots there coming to the white and coming to the checkered.  So this was a great run and a great effort for everybody on the 98 K LOVE car.  For us, an under-funded team to come here to Daytona and get a top 10 finish is pretty cool.”
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Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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