Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
NSCS Can-Am Duels Practice Session
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The Roush Fenway Racing trio of Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., posted fast speeds again on Tuesday, this time in the opening session of practice for tomorrow nights Can-Am Duels. The trio, who have struggled with consistent speed and handling issues the past two seasons, spoke about the confidence being built in the organization by their on-track performances here in Daytona.
Bayne finished 2nd, Biffle 3rd and Stenhouse 4th in the practice session.
GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 KFC Nashville Hot Ford Fusion – “This is good. It is good for Ford. It looks like the Penske guys are fast as well. There are a lot of fast cars out there. We are happy with the speed of the car. It feels good. It has been eight years since I had a fast car down here. I feel good about it. I don’t know if it is fast enough to win yet but it is definitely fast enough to run up front and that is what counts.”
WHAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE DOES THIS GIVE YOU TO BE FAST OUT OF THE BOX AND THROUGH THE WEEK SO FAR? “We will be fast all of speedweeks I am sure. The real test will be the next three races and how we stack up there. How are our cars? How are we turning? How are we keeping up on a long run? Here, I am not worried about right now. I was worried about it before I got here but now I am not worried about it because we have good speed. Now my focus stays on this but you start thinking a little about Atlanta and Vegas.”
TREVOR BAYNE, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion – THE ROUSH BOYS WERE FAST IN PRACTICE OUT THERE. “This is a nice change. Hopefully we can keep it going at the 1.5-mile tracks in a couple weeks. Unfortunately we had some issues in qualifying so we changed the rear gear and have to start in the back for the Duels. We got it fixed and now the car is running really good. It has a lot of speed and drivers really good. Hopefully on old tires it will keep that handling because right now it driver’s great. It was nice seeing all the Fords up there in the pack. I saw the 2 and 22 and Biffle and myself were able to get to the front and Ricky was right there too. It is nice to see and I think Ford has made a lot of improvements in the off-season. Everyone makes improvements and you don’t know where you stack up until you get here but right now it looks really good.”
WHERE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL RIGHT NOW? “Well, it is superspeedway stuff so anybody can lay down a lap but I really like the driveability in the car, more so than the speed on the chart. The ability to go from the back of that drafting pack and work our way up to second behind Biffle and see what the Fords had was really good. We will continue to learn and see what it does in the race tomorrow night.”
YOU ARE STARTING IN THE BACK NOW, DOES IT MATTER MUCH? “It is nice to have track position if you are in the top three or four. Anywhere beyond the top three it doesn’t really matter. It gives you a little freedom to be able to chill out when everyone is acting crazy at the beginning and take care of your equipment. I like being at the front. It is the safest place and you have the best shot of winning from the front. We will work our way there, patiently though, and if I see it getting crazy I can back out and wait for a while. I have my teammates in the Duel with me and hopefully we can work together and see what we can do.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion – FOLKS ARE BUZZING A LITTLE ABOUT THE ROUSH CARS. “Yeah? Well even with our Sprint Unlimited car we did some single car runs in race trim and felt really good about our Unlimited car having some speed. Then we raced the Unlimited and I felt pretty good about it, even though we had some damage, and we salvaged a good finish out of it. When I jumped in my Daytona 500 car and started practicing we made our first run and didn’t have any tape on it, weren’t in qualifying trim, just went out there and made three or four laps and I looked where we were on the leader board and some of the cars we were around and the guys had big smiles on their face. All their hard work in the off-season was in the right direction. So, come qualifying time when we got it all out and laid it down, it was a top-five qualifying effort in both rounds. That says a lot to the team that everything they have done paid off and they were able to see that result. It doesn’t seem that big of a deal but when they are the ones putting in the hours and they are seeing the results on the race track and see it on the leader board, those guys get pumped up. Everybody at the shop, the engine shop, which is important stuff.
IS THIS AN INDICATOR OF THINGS TO COME? “This is speedway racing. It is not necessarily an all-handling race track, especially in single car and qualifying but I think if the direction we went on our speedway cars, we were down here last year 27th in qualifying and we jumped up a lot. We made a lot of gains. I think if we continue to do that, we will eventually get to where we want to be in every part of Roush Fenway at all our different race tracks. The short tracks and 1.5 mile tracks. I think it is more of us going in the right direction and keep doing that.”
YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT BEING CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE NEXT FEW RACES. “When you get to Atlanta, it might not be that fast. If we show up to Atlanta and we are a 15th place car I think that will be satisfactory for us to start the season. Last year we were 30th or a 35th place car sometimes at difference race tracks and we were able to make it a top-15 car by the end of the year. If we can start here at Daytona with a good solid run and kind of get our season off to a strong start, I think Atlanta will be a little better. If we start 15th at Atlanta and we can build from there I think no doubt it is a step in the right direction. But I do feel really good about where we are as a company right now. Even before we came down to Daytona I felt really good about the morale and the people in place. I was in meetings with some of the new people we hired that were running meetings and I felt good about what they were doing.”
IS IT VALIDATIONS OF THOSE FEELINGS? “Definitely for Daytona so far. My team worked really hard on this race car and Roush Fenway as an organization worked really hard on the cars and my guys did their job too. Yeah, the whole company feels good about it but my guys on my 17 team feel really good about it.”
HOW CAUTIOUS WILL YOU BE NOT TO WRECK THIS CAR? “I hope everyone is cautious. I want a nice, smooth, easy race. I think that is why some of the guys were really bummed we didn’t make that front row because it would have made the Duels easier if we were. They think the next speedway race we go to we will have a shot at the pole which is really cool. We definitely want to keep this car intact. We made it through the practice session drafting 20 laps or so and we made it through that. We came to pit road and I felt good about that and getting down to the speed limit. It is very important to us to keep this car. We also want a good starting spot and good pit stall selection.”