Stenhouse Jr. and Biffle Qualify Top 10 for Coke Zero 400

Ford Qualifying Results:
9th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10th – Greg Biffle
12th – Carl Edwards
15th – Brad Keselowski
18th – Joey Logano
19th – Casey Mears
20th – Trevor Bayne
25th – Marcos Ambrose
28th – David Gilliland
30th – Aric Almirola
38th – David Ragan

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – “We didn’t do any single car stuff yesterday and never worked on one single thing toward single car runs, so I’m happy with that. I have no idea where that’s gonna end up or where anybody is gonna end up, but the biggest thing is our car had great speed yesterday, sucked up really well, and had a lot of speed in the draft. That’s what we need to have another day like Talladega and I feel like we have everything we need to do it, now we just need to race smart and be there when it counts.” HOW MUCH DID WINNING AT TALLADEGA MEAN FOR THIS ORGANIZATION? “The biggest thing is you come to these tracks and as a team and an organization we always felt like we could do it and now we know we can, so that is definitely encouraging and definitely makes a difference. We have a lot of momentum and confidence coming in here. These are both the same cars David and I had at Talladega, so I feel really good about it.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “I think we’re pretty good. It’s kind of hard to say because we didn’t get in a real big pack yesterday and depending on who we were around at first I didn’t feel like we were very good at all, and then we got around the 88 and the 24 and some good cars and it felt like I had more speed, so we’ll find out more tomorrow. These guys have always done a good job bringing a superspeedway car here and Roush Yates motors are always pretty fast, so I’m looking forward to the race.” YOU’VE BEEN CLOSE TO WINNING THESE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES IN THE PAST. DO YOU HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE THAT THE FIELD IS LEVEL ON THESE TRACKS? “I think everybody does. Somehow we’ve found ourselves at the front of these races a lot. There’s still a little bit of an art to it, but at the same time you can take something that maybe isn’t quite as good and make something happen. They’re frustrating at times because you seem to wreck out of them more than you have good finishes, but if you don’t wreck, you’re gonna have a good finish. It’s a good place for us to have a strong result and hopefully we can make that happen tomorrow night.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “We’re looking forward to tomorrow night. I’m not sure how that qualifying is gonna hold up, but we had a good car in the draft yesterday and I felt really comfortable. I’m surprised. I thought it was gonna be a lot slicker when we got back here for the summer race, but we’ve made improvements to our car and it feels more underneath me than it did when we were here for the 500, so we’re excited for our chances.” HOW MUCH DOES THAT QUALIFYING LAP MEAN IN THE END? “Absolutely nothing, but it’s just a snapshot of where our speed is at compared to everybody else, so it’s good for the guys to go through and see how we stack up. We’ve got some handling in this car, so we know we’re not gonna get the pole for it, but we’re hoping for a real comfortable race car on Saturday night.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “Coming to Daytona we don’t really put a lot of effort in qualifying because it’s all about getting your car to handle well in the draft and on old tires, and then when it’s cool outside. We didn’t know really what to expect for qualifying, but it looks like we’re right around our teammates, so, hopefully, we can get in front of a couple cars. We’ve got a strategy for Saturday night to play it conservative for most of the race and kind of see how the racing is, and try to put ourselves in position to win the thing at the end. We’re excited about Daytona and can’t wait for tomorrow night.”

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona July 4, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida USA.Carl Edwards during 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 practice..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock.

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona
July 4, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida USA.Carl Edwards during 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 practice..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion – “That’s pretty good. It’s really windy. We have been on the pole here for the 500 and I think the wind was a big part of that and I think as the wind changes throughout the day you’re gonna see a lot of guys really happy about it or not so happy, but it’s a big Subway weekend. We’ve got Subway on the car and I found out today from Bobby Allison that Jimmy Fennig has a win here in this July race and I’d really like one, so we feel like this is a really good shot for us considering how we ran at Talladega.” HOW WAS YOUR LAP? “The wind was crazy. I was driving down the back straightaway and trying to watch the flags to try and understand where exactly the wind was coming from, and I chose to drive a little bit differently because of the wind and it wasn’t good enough for the pole. Still, that’s a fast lap for our car and I feel really good about our chances in the race. I could lead the group yesterday. I could pull up behind people. I could make passes. I think it’s gonna be really good.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – HOW IS YOUR CAR? “I don’t know. Trying to ask how somebody’s car is at Daytona is like doing a blindfold taste test or something because you have no idea what you’ve got here until you get racing. You can make some stuff up and say what it is, but I don’t have any idea. I’ll probably start somewhere around 10th or 15th and hopefully find a way to pass. In the spring it was extremely challenging to pass, but, hopefully, we can break through that.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “We didn’t do a lot of practice. It seems like the more years go by the less we do because the guys have the car so good back at the shop and we show up so good. They basically want to make sure there are no leaks or rubs and they’re like, ‘We’re ready.’ We did some adjusting on it and we made one run yesterday to see where we were at. I don’t know what that did, but not a lot of people made runs. Typically, since it’s a bingo draw, the fast cars could be all over the place, but I think we’ll be in the top 10.”

2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Daytona July 5, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida USA.Joey Logano and Penske Racing unveil the Penske Hertz Ford Racing Mustang in Daytona Beach, FL..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock.

2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Daytona
July 5, 2013, Daytona Beach, Florida USA.Joey Logano and Penske Racing unveil the Penske Hertz Ford Racing Mustang in Daytona Beach, FL..(c)2013, Matthew T. Thacker.Autostock.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “Our car drives good and I think that’s gonna be important after a few laps. We’ll have to wait and see. It handles good, but I don’t feel like it has the speed that we probably need yet, but I’m hoping that handling comes into play when you get in the draft and you’re on old tires and stuff like that.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “Hopefully our car is good in the pack. You can’t really tell from qualifying with gusts and things like that. We normally qualify really good here, so I don’t know where the speed is at or why it’s not as good. Being an impound race, obviously that takes away a little bit of the things you would do if you were just qualifying, but I’m always proud of this team at superspeedway races and hopefully we’ll be able to work our way up and be at the front by the end of this thing.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Fusion – “It’s good. These guys are working really hard on our cars. It’s always nice to be the fastest Ford. I wish we could be the fastest car overall. That’s what we’re here to do, but these guys are working really hard on this Fifth Third Bank Ford Fusion. We felt like we’ve had some decent cars, so hopefully the changes we’ve made over the past few months with our speedway stuff that it will pay off in the race. These guys are definitely working their butts off, so that’s cool and Roush Yates is building some great horsepower.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. PRESS CONFERENCE – HOW WAS YOUR LAP? “It’s more of a team effort. They’ve been working really hard in the shop, especially on just finding some speed in our cars and to get a top-10 qualifying effort was a solid start to our weekend. Tomorrow night it doesn’t really matter where you start. If we start in the top 10, we want to finish in the top 10, so this race played out in February where the top line seemed to be the fastest, but yesterday in practice I felt like it was pretty racy and everybody was running two, three-wide and the bottom actually seemed pretty decent, so we’re looking for some exciting racing and hopefully we can be a part of it at the end.”

THE FORDS ARE COMING AROUND. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? “I don’t know, we haven’t really come around yet. We’re still consistent, but we’re not consistently as good as we want right now. We’ve struggled quite a bit this year and a little bit of it is me learning the cars. I think we’re still looking for handling, looking for grip in all of our Roush Fenway Fords and we’re just missing a little bit here and there. The guys are working really hard at the shop and all the engineers it’s all hands on deck looking for the speed that we’re missing. It’s mainly just the handling in traffic and things like that. At Kentucky, out by ourselves we don’t feel too bad, but we’ve got to be able to race a little bit better. It was good to have a strong run. We had a strong run going at Michigan in the top 10 and the caution kind of fell the wrong way, but the Fords are fast and we’ve just got to keep plugging away and getting better. I still think my guys have a lot left in them and they’re steadily working on these cars and they’ve worked on this car and we’ve got a top-10 starting spot out of it. Everybody is still working hard and we’ve still got a long ways to go.”

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’VE IMPROVED THE MOST SINCE THE 500 AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO IMPROVE ON FROM HERE? “The feedback, what I need in these race cars, I think my driving style has had to change a lot from how I ran the Nationwide cars to how I’ve run these Cup cars so far. We’ve struggled a lot with me overdriving the race car. Talking with guys like Harvick and some teammates and looking at data I might be overdriving the car too much on entry and it’s not helping my effort of getting it to turn in the center, so I think as a driver I’ve changed a lot and tried to figure that out. The team is trying to get it dialed in, working with our teammates. We all drive different, but we’re all trying to work on the same issues, so the feedback that I’m giving to the guys to make our cars better will help us going forward. Now that I’m driving the car a little bit different everything is completely different on how it drives and what I’m doing and the feedback that I’m giving them. I’ve just got to give them everything that I can for them to make our cars as fast as they can on a weekend. Like I said, they’re working really hard in the shop trying to show up to the race track with fast race cars, so that will be a key as well.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT TALLADEGA THAT YOU’RE GOING TO TRY TO AVOID TOMORROW NIGHT? “It was kind of surprising. We left Daytona and we felt like our cars struggled quite a bit for speed, especially in the draft. We showed up at Talladega and Carl and I ran up front for a long time and led laps and was able to run on the outside of guys and make some moves, so I learned a lot about the draft. Daytona and Talladega were really the first times that I’ve run in I guess you could say a regular style draft, compared to the pushing we did in the Nationwide cars, so I learned a lot about that – when to make moves and when not to make moves. At Talladega I got a terrible restart there at the end. I think we restarted fifth and I just didn’t get the restart that I needed to stay up there on Jimmie’s bumper. I think he was in front of us and that really cost us quite a bit, so if I could go back and do something different it would be get a better restart and stay up front.”

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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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