Ford Racing NNS Notes & Quotes:
Ford EcoBoost 300 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Saturday, November 15, 2014
MUSTANG REMAINS PERFECT IN NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES WITH FOURTH CHAMPIONSHIP AS 22 TEAM REPEATS OWNER’S TITLE
- Mustang started racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time in 2011 and since then all it has done is won championships.
- This marks the fourth consecutive year Mustang has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, winning two driver’s and two owner’s titles in that span.
- Mustang claimed another NASCAR Nationwide Series championship tonight as the No. 22 Discount Tire/Hertz team won the owner’s championship for the second straight year.
- Mustang won back-to-back driver’s championships with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2011 and 2012 before this latest run by the 22 team the last two seasons.
- The 22 team won six races this season with Brad Keselowski winning five times and Ryan Blaney once.
- Mustang has won 43 races in four full NASCAR Nationwide Series seasons.
ROGER PENSKE, Car Owner – No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang – PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a great day. I thought that race would never get over. I think we had a green-white-checker and all we had to do was finish 25th, but you never know with all the action up front. Brad ran a great race and when you think about five different drivers it’s really a credit to Jeremy Bullins and the job he’s done in preparing the car for different drivers and with six wins, one with Ryan Blaney, it’s obvious that Nationwide means so much to us because it’s the proving ground, the testing ground for our crew chiefs, young drivers and there’s no question when you see Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson and the people who come up through that series that it means a lot to us. It’s also the mechanics and over-the-wall guys that we train there, so, to me, this was a team effort at Team Penske. Everyone did so much to make this happen and obviously it didn’t come down until the last lap there that we knew we had it, so two years in a row. I think we have four championships here over the last few years and that’s really important to us as we go forward. Tomorrow is a big day, but I’ve got two boxes checked off now. I get one more tomorrow.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO BE THE ONLY OWNER TO HAVE THE INDY CAR TITLE, NATIONWIDE OWNER’S TITLE AND A CUP TITLE TOMORROW? “It would be a dream come true, there’s no question. It’s a goal that the team had when we started at the beginning of the year. It got a little bit more real as we came to the Chase and we saw how competitive we were in that series. We knew that we had a strong car in Nationwide, so, to me, we can’t count our chickens before they’re hatched. We’ve got some tough racing to do tomorrow. You could see it today with this track, it’s a different track, and to me it would mean a lot to our team. When I think about the overall season I have to say that 22 races we’ve had winners and that’s a record for us as a team for over 50 years, so to me I can’t say it’s a bad year one way or the other, but our goal is to win tomorrow.”
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR RYAN BLANEY IN NATIONWIDE NEXT YEAR? “I’ve got a high-class problem. I’ve got three great drivers that want to drive the car, so hopefully we’ll divide next year’s season up by three and with Blaney running the 21 car at least 12 races and hopefully more we’ll have a full season, and we might run a car a couple extra races or a couple cars a couple extra races, so he’ll have some opportunities, but he’s gonna make the step up to the Cup side with the 21. We’ve got a great technical alliance there going forward next year, so, to me, it’ll be divided up by the three drivers.”
WILL IT BE A DISAPPOINTMENT NOT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOMORROW? “I can tell you I’ll be disappointed if we don’t win the championship, point number one, but we all signed up for the new format. I think it’s been exciting. I’ve seen television ratings. I’ve seen more people in the stands, so it’s working and what we’ve got to do is execute tomorrow. When I step back and think about our season it will be one of the best we’ve ever had.”
KEVIN HARVICK HAS TRIED TO PLAY MIND GAMES WITH JOEY. HAVE YOU HAD ANY ADVICE FOR HIM? “I know Kevin quite well and known him for a long time from Bakersfield, where Mears came from. I remember when he used to think Mears was a superstar. I respect him a lot, but I can tell you this – that 24-year-old Joey Logano no one gets in his head. You could see that when he got down last week in Phoenix. We’re standing behind him and, to me, he’s gonna be one of the guys who is gonna have to get beat. Harvick is gonna have to beat him to win, so I think it’s gonna be a level playing field and the best guy is gonna win tomorrow.”
WHERE DO YOU HAVE ALL YOUR TROPHIES? “Trophies are an important part of winning and I have an archives back in Detroit and a place that we keep a lot of the memorabilia and trophies. We have our little bit of a museum out in Phoenix and we have some there, so I guess we spread them around because it’s exciting. If you come to our headquarters in Detroit we try to have the current ones on display there so it’s pretty exciting. I’d like to get one more tomorrow.”