Keselowski Takes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points Lead

Ford Finishing Order:
3rd – Brad Keselowski
11th – Greg Biffle
15th – Casey Mears
16th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17th – Joey Logano
18th – Carl Edwards
19th – Marcos Ambrose
21st – David Ragan
24th – David Gilliland
37th – Aric Almirola

Joey Logano and Carl Edwards repaired their damaged and went on the finish the race

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol
March 17, 2013 Bristol, Tennessee USA.Joey Logano and Carl Edwards repaired their damaged and went on the finish the race..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED? “We had a fast race car, that’s for sure. I was racing for the lead and it’s frustrating. That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car – probably the worst teammate I ever had, so I learned that now. He decided to run in the back of me, so, whatever. I have a scorecard and I’m not putting up with that. What goes around comes around. He already ran down his right-front tire, so he deserves it.” WHAT DID YOU SAY TO DENNY? WILL YOU TELL US? “No, I’ll keep that to myself.” DID YOU FEEL LIKE IT WAS PAYBACK FOR HOW HE FELT YOU RACED HIM AT DAYTONA? “I never did anything wrong in Daytona.” BUT DO YOU FEEL HE MAY HAVE RETALIATED FROM THAT? “No, I think he’s just driving like an idiot, that’s all.” DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A CAR THAT COULD HAVE WON? “I do. Once we fixed it we were really coming up through the field good, and then I got hit from behind one more time and that knocked the quarterpanel loose and then I got real loose and I couldn’t even stay on the lead lap. It’s frustrating when you’ve got a car that can possibly win it and to get taken out from something like that is just frustrating. This team deserves better. We’ve run better than we’ve finished every week so far. We should have at least four top-10s in my eyes. I feel like we did really good in Daytona. We had a fuel pump issue. We had a fuel pick-up problem at Phoenix, and then we got dumped this week, but the good news we’re fast. I’ve got to be proud of that, but I’m just sick of it.” IS BEING EX-TEAMMATES CONTRIBUTING TO THIS? “No, not at all. I had to put up with him for years, so, whatever.” DO YOU FEEL YOU AND YOUR TEAM SENT A MESSAGE BY WHAT YOU DID AFTER THE RACE BY GOING OVER THERE TO THE 11? “I’m not gonna get run over and not do something about it. I’m gonna at least talk to him, so I’m done.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “We were having a solid day. Our Smithfield Ford Fusion was decent. We needed it to be better, but it was decent and coming off pit road somebody ran into my left-rear and I guess it cut the tire down. We took off on that restart and I was out of control and crashed. We just had a flat left-rear.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “We started well and got into an early deal there with the 38 on the frontstretch. We got quite a bit of damage to the car and the guys did a really good job repairing it and we did a good job. We went a lap down and got the lucky dog and came back and passed quite a few guys, so I’m real proud of our guys today. We were definitely competitive and it was fun to race.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
March 17, 2013, Bristol, Tennessee USA .Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock..

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “We ended up working our way to the front. On that one run we passed a lot of cars and got into 12th there, and then I got into the wall. I got a little loose on entry – the right-rear got into the wall and that kind of ruined our day. We had to fight back and had to fix damage. The car wasn’t quite as good after that, but, all in all, to start last and finish 16th is not terrible for us.” HOW HARD WAS IT TO PASS TODAY? “If you had it free enough, you could do it. We passed quite a few cars on the bottom. The guys on the top had to mess up, you had to really run it, and sometimes it would heat the right-rear up and you’d have to slow down and cool your tires back off and then try it again, so I had a few slide jobs. I had a lot of fun.”

Brad Keselowski late battle for the lead with Kasey Kahne

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol
March 17, 2013 Bristol, Tennessee USA.Brad Keselowski late battle for the lead with Kasey Kahne..© 2013, Brian Czobat.autostock USA..

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FINAL RESTART? “I got ran over. I’d have to take a look at the replay, but it was gonna be a helluva battle between me and Kasey there with four laps to go, but I didn’t get a chance. I’m not sure what happened, if the 11 car got pushed from behind or if he just ran me over, but that’s racing.” YOU BATTLED BACK TO HAVE A GOOD DAY. “Yeah, the 2 team did a great job adjusting on the car during the race. We weren’t close at the start, but at the end the car was pretty good, not quite as good as Kasey’s, but still a great effort.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “It was really a great day for us because we needed that. At one point we had the fastest car, but we were just a sitting duck because we didn’t take tires, and I put rights on and I was terrible. So I think we learned something. We’ll be back for the fall race.” HOW HARD WAS IT TO PASS? “I passed pretty easy up to a point, but I had a lot of fun today. I went from 28th to fifth and passed every car by myself, so it was a pretty good day.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Kellogg’s Ford Fusion – “I have to thank the infield medical folks and the folks with NASCAR medical. They really helped me out a lot today. That’s the most miserable race I’ve ever been through, but there was a little bit of satisfaction to come back and finish 18th.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion – “Considering that we had to start from the back, not a bad finish for us. We had a fuel issue early on and we got that figured out. Our Dockside Logistics team did a nice job on pit road. We pitted a lot and worked on it a lot, we had a good strategy and Jay (Guy) called a good race. It was a hard race. We had a solid car and we just needed to qualify a little better and start in a better position. We were down from the beginning but the whole team worked hard to overcome it.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 A&W All-American Ford Fusion – “A top-25 isn’t a bad result after what happened, but obviously we’re a little frustrated because we had potential for a lot better finish. Our A&W Ford was fast. Frank (Kerr) and the guys brought a fast car to the track. We showed that in practice and qualifying and at the beginning of the race. But we blew a right front and hit the wall, and at a track like Bristol, it’s hard to come back from that. But we didn’t give up, we kept battling and still got our best finish of the year so far.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI PRESS CONFERENCE

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “At the end it started to come together. We weren’t very close at the start, that’s for sure, but the guys on the 2 team got it dialed in there towards the end and had a shot at a solid finish. I don’t think I had anything for Kasey. I don’t know if anyone did. He was so good through the middle and, really, everywhere. He was kind of in a league of his own, but I’ll be damned if that was gonna keep me from trying. He drove a good race and got himself in position. He worked me over pretty good and somehow we worked through traffic and got back by him, but, obviously, that last yellow – I haven’t seen a replay of what happened – but that cost us the lead. We kind of hung in there and raced Kyle here pretty hard for second and then Kurt came in there and raced pretty hard for third and we just had a good battle going there. I kind of hated to see that one come to an end.”

WERE THESE CARS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE HAD HERE A YEAR AGO? “They don’t look the same to me, they look different to me. That other car was butt ugly. This one looks a little better to me. Obviously, there are some different things in them with rear-end housings and little different suspension stuff, so the cars are definitely different. We wouldn’t be setting new track records if they weren’t. They obviously drive a little different, too, because of that stuff, so I guess I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at there, but they’re definitely a different challenge and hopefully an upgrade for the future.”

IT LOOKED LIKE A BETTER RACE THAN LAST YEAR. THERE WERE SIX OF YOU BATTLING FOR THE LEAD WITH 20 TO GO. “That’s a good point. I didn’t see the race because I was driving, but I thought last fall’s race was pretty good. They’re all good to me, but maybe I’ve got a bad seat.”

YOU HAD A TEAMMATE INVOLVED IN THE FEUD TODAY. DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN THE 11 AND 22? “I didn’t have a great vantage point of whatever happened there. I was too far behind it. I saw the replay and obviously Joey didn’t spin on his own, but you only see one snapshot of what happened and usually things like that are multiple laps in the making. He definitely didn’t spin on his own.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IF YOU HAVE A FEEL FOR WHAT THIS CAR NEEDS AFTER FOUR RACES? “I feel like we do. Obviously, we’re off to my best start ever and that’s really cool. I’m happy for my team and all that stuff. I think we know as a team what we need. There’s a question as to what we need as a sport, but I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on it with the 2 team. Obviously, we can’t keep our feet still. We know guys like Kyle and Jimmie and those guys are gonna continue to push and make their cars better and we’ve got to keep digging and push on our stuff, too. But I think we’ve got a pretty good feel for it on the 2 team.”

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST RESTART AGAIN? “I haven’t seen a replay, I just know that my rear tires were off the ground before I got to the restart zone. Eventually I got hit so hard that it pushed my foot in the gas pedal and it made myself look like an ass, but that was the deal and I never had another chance.”

DO YOU THINK THE TIRE ISSUES WERE A RESULT OF THE SHORT TRACK? “I think my first race here was 2010 and we blew out all of those tires, and I can tell you that this tire is considerably better than what we’ve had here in the past, and I think there’s been a lot of progress made. You would be hard-pressed, at least from my end, to find anybody to really sit down and have some gripes about the tires.”

HOW MUCH OF WHAT WE SAW WITH YOU AND KASEY WAS A CHESS GAME WITH THE LAPPED CARS? “You asked before if the old Bristol was back and I would counter that by saying, ‘No, the old Bristol can never come back.’ There will never been a 1995-99, it’s a whole different era with a different car and you can’t re-create that. You can try like hell, but you’ll probably be just disappointed in the result. But I say that the old Bristol isn’t back, I quite honestly feel like this one is better. Now it’s hard because you don’t have the nostalgia effect, and you don’t have the Terry Labonte-Dale Earnhardt battles for the win and all that kind of stuff. That’s not coming back, but I think you have something better than that right now. I know there are a lot of people that don’t see it that way, but I think if you look at it objectively this was a great race. I felt like probably the last half-dozen races here have been solid races in retrospect to what we’ve seen in the past. It’s a very racy track. It’s a bit of a unknown. It changes a lot throughout the race. You have the ability to run into each other like you always had, but you also have the ability to really work a lot of different lanes and that makes lap traffic and all that stuff really fun to go through and really fun to watch.”

Posted in: Events, Motorsports
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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