Ford Performance NASCAR: Buescher Wins First Sprint Cup Race

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Pennsylvania 400 – Pocono Raceway
Monday, August 1, 2016

Ford Finishing Order:
1st – Chris Buescher
2nd – Brad Keselowski
11th – Ryan Blaney
18th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19th – Trevor Bayne
24th – Brian Scott
25th – Greg Biffle
30th – Landon Cassill
36th – Jeb Burton
37th – Joey Logano
39th – Aric Almirola

CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “That’s pretty awesome. Wild circumstances here at Pocono. This is gonna change our whole year right here, so this puts us in a good situation where we had a good day. It was a lot of fun. The guys really toughed it out. We got a flat tire, but we’re headed in the right direction now, so that will help in points. We got a win here, so we’ll take it any way we can get it.” DO YOU SENSE PERFORMANCE MOMENTUM? “Yes, we’ve been definitely headed in the right direction. The last six or seven weeks have been really good for us. Kentucky was gonna be excellent for us, but is just didn’t play out. It’s pretty awesome to be here right now. I don’t know what to do right now. We don’t have any of the team here right now. The car is out on pit road. This is a little different way to celebrate.”
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “It was good for a while. The team did a great job. The Shell Pennzoil Ford was fast and really good on restarts. We were able to drive up to the lead a few times. Only if it had rained a little earlier we would have had a lot different outcome. We had a new rear carrier today and he came out of the gate swinging which is awesome. I am super proud of that. There were a lot of positives today. We just ended on a negative note racing hard and trying to get back up there after that caution. We all had to pit because we tried to win the race when it rained and we lost our track position and then the 24 got loose under me. It is just part of racing. It stinks to be on this end of it. It is just part of it.”

YOU TOOK IT THREE WIDE ONE TIME AROUND THE 42 AND 3 FOR THE LEAD THERE. HOW ABOUT THAT BATTLE? “That was very entertaining for me. Those guys were racing the heck out of each other and racing for their first win and there was rain in the forecast so that was for the win, in my opinion, and I think they had the same thing on their mind. It was a gift for me. I would trade that back to not have the wreck happen. Things happen. We have a lot of positives and we want to focus on those.”

ON RESTARTS, THAT IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO RIGHT? “Yeah, that is my job. I think my team does a really good job on the restarts. We are ultra-aggressive and a lot of times you come out ahead for that and sometimes you don’t. We have a win, so we are going to race hard. In all honesty, finishing second doesn’t do anything for us. It is all about the win so we were going to get ourselves back up there because we felt we had a winning race car. Things just happen when you get side by side with cars and they get loose.”

RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “I didn’t think we were too bad. I thought we actually had a really good race car, but it didn’t really play out in our favor of getting track position. We got it and took a gamble on rain and it didn’t, and then we lost all of it and had to drive back up through the field. We should have cycled out about ninth right there and the fog rolled in.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “At one point in the race we had good strategy, and we had a good car, but it’s unfortunate how it ended. It’s just unfortunate. We have about a Top-10 car and mine was pretty good out front. It was nice to lead some laps and while we still have some work to do, we’re making gains. We’re doing all we can and trying our best every week.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion – “It was a long weekend. We got up to sixth at one point and we didn’t need that caution because then we had to start on the top and we weren’t good enough to really be there. We got there on strategy to ninth and then got a good restart up to sixth. It would have been tough for them to pass me under green and had a caution there. I got moved out of the way by some guys and ended up sliding back, and then pitted. There were a lot of guys that short-pitted that were probably gonna run out of gas, but the strategy didn’t play out for us.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Alliance Truck Ford Fusion – POST-RACE INTERVIEW – “Probably five more laps and I think we would have been in great shape, but that’s the way it goes. We had really good speed on the green flag pit stop cycle, which got us in a position to take over the lead and hopefully control the race, but there’s nothing you can do about the fog rolling in. That’s just part of it and either way I’m really kind of pumped up for Chris. That’s big to win a race and get in the Chase. It’s been an interesting weekend here in Pocono. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m really proud of everybody on this Alliance Truck Parts Fusion team.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI PRESS CONFERENCE

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Alliance Truck Ford Fusion – WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR CHRIS BUESCHER? “I think the irony is when we started this weekend on Friday I came in here and somebody asked about how do guys trying to break in get anywhere, and I said the key is to make the most of your opportunities and Chris is a master of that. He makes the most out of each and every opportunity and that’s gonna take him a long ways in his career and he and his team did that today. So they get a lot of credit for that.”

WHAT WERE YOU TALKING TO CHRIS ABOUT AFTER YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR? “I just told him that if I couldn’t win it was cool to see him win. I told him, ‘I can only imagine what’s going through your head right now.’ Just those kind of things. I think he was excited, but he’s kind of the humble, quiet, excited type of guy.”

 

BUESCHER WINS FIRST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE
· Chris Buescher won for the first time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with today’s victory in Pocono.
· Buescher is the 80th different driver to win a Cup race with Ford, and the first since Aric Almirola won at Daytona in July, 2014.
· The victory marks the second for Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and first since David Ragan won at Talladega on May 5, 2013.
· The win is Fusion’s 77th NSCS triumph since becoming Ford’s flagship vehicle in 2006.
· Ford now has 645 all-time NSCS victories.

CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion – “It’s pretty awesome and pretty good company as well. It was a pretty wild day and a pretty eventful weekend. A lot of things worked out really well there at the end and some things I thought were headed in the wrong direction, when I cut a rear tire down just trying to avoid a wreck, and we ended up in a good spot there at the end. Bob made a good call to hold out on the weather and make sure that we could run as far out on fuel as we possibly could and it worked out really well. The weather got here just when we needed it to.”

BOB OSBORNE, Crew Chief – No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion – HOW WAS THE CAR TODAY? “All in all we, to be honest with you, we had a top-15 car. It was decent and it was heading in the right direction from where we were the first race here and for where we are with our program, but with fate really going our way today and calls going our way, which we haven’t had a lot of this year, put us in position to win it.”

JERRY FREEZE, General Manager – Front Row Motorsports – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOUR ORGANIZATION? “I think it’s just further validation of where Front Row has come over the years and Bob Jenkins, I hate that he’s not here. He was at Talladega. I was just talking to him on the way in here. He had some business obligations today, but he puts his heart and soul into this race team to get to this point. We have a great alliance this year with Roush Fenway and Bob and Chris joining our team have really had a big impact. Like Bob said, we have just had no luck at all with breaks and it seems like the last few weeks they’re starting to turn our way a little bit and obviously today we got some phenomenal breaks to be in the position we were in. I credit Chris. He did a good job to avoid a situation on the backstretch that kind of looked like it was gonna derail our day, and 30 laps later, all of a sudden, Bob makes a call and we’ve got the lead, so you can’t get a better break than that and Mother Nature smiled on us. A great day for Front Row and we really appreciate Chris’ efforts, Bob’s efforts and everybody here today.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS ON PIT ROAD WAITING FOR THEM TO CALL THE RACE? “I was sitting there on pit road just kind of waiting for everything to happen the way it’s going to and, to be quite honest with you, like Jerry said, we’ve had some awful luck this year and a lot of things not quite go our way. I tried not to get my hopes up because I knew as soon as we would have that fog would have rolled on out and we would have been restarting again. Between losing three superspeedway cars at three superspeedway races this year, we find ourselves in a hole in points. We’ve been trying to be able to put ourselves in position to win a race and get back in the hunt, and that’s exactly what these guys did today. They got a good strategy going that really set us up to be able to be in the Chase here in just a few weeks. As we were sitting there on pit road I was being a little bit selfish, but doing a rain dance and hoping the fog doesn’t roll out. I was watching turn one and every now and then I’d see the billboard down there, but just as soon as we would it would disappear again. We were joking down there, asking, ‘What turn one?’ Because we couldn’t see that one either.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED – ONE OF THE VEGAS SPORTSBOOK HAD YOU AT 1000:1 ODDS. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR ODDS? “I hope somebody bet on us and made out really well. It would be awesome for them. We had pretty steep odds coming into this one, but we’ve been heading in the right direction. There’s no mistaking that. We’ve been qualifying better. We’ve been racing better. We’ve had better speed, better averages. We’re just getting to the point now where we need to be able to finish them. Today, I think everybody knows it’s not just a pure run to the end and all-out speed. There were a lot of other things going on today, but you take advantage of every situation that’s presented to you and that’s what we did today. We’re gonna keep working to make sure that we find more speed and we’re able to go win races on days where the track is dry and clear all the way to the checkered flag and, in this case, 160 laps.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED — HOW HAS YOUR ASSESSEMENT OF WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS A SUCCESSFUL SEASON CHANGED NOW? “Coming into the weekend evaluating our season and what we wanted to have happen this weekend in particular would be improvement upon the first time we were here and having a better handling race car, having a faster race car relative to the competition, and being able to build on that for the rest of the season was our goal – what we were looking for – and we did accomplish that. We had a better, faster, more competitive car than what we had the first race here, so I was happy to see that and we’re gonna continue to do that race after race for the rest of the season.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED – “I think we talked about it at the beginning of the season and the plan was always to try and make the Chase. That was the goal, so we’re that much closer now. Like I said, we’ve got a hole to dig out of just from the superspeedway racing, but we’re in a good spot and the cars have been getting faster each and every week. This second time around we’re gonna make sure that we have more speed than we did the first time.”

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE NEXT FIVE WEEKS TO GET YOURSELF IN THE TOP 30? “Surely, our bad luck has to be past us at this point. We’ve been seeing a trend in speed the last six, seven, eight weeks and we know we’re on the upwards climb. We have been cutting that points deficit almost every week, so all we’ve got to do is keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’re not gonna make any drastic changes, unless they’re in the right direction (laughing), so we’ll keep rolling with it. We’re in a good spot and we can definitely make up those six points and we’re gonna try to get a lot more than that and be ready when the Chase does start to make sure we can advance as it goes through.”

DO YOU HAVE TO DO THINGS OUT OF THE BOX LIKE YOU DID TODAY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR OPPORTUNITIES? “I guess when I cut a tire down under the green flag it kind of forced us into a little bit of a hole to start, but definitely got to build on it from there. Where we’re at in points we needed a win to be able to keep going forward, so taking that chance is 100 percent worth it at this point. I was pretty shocked that everything worked out and Bob was brave keeping us out there on fuel. I knew we were gonna be running close to empty there with all those caution laps and glad they did bring us down pit road and wait it out.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED — HAS IT HELPED THAT MUCH OF THE ROOKIE ATTENTION HAS BEEN ON CHASE AND RYAN? AND HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HEAR OTHER GUYS SAY THEY’RE HAPPY TO SEE YOU WIN? “It’s pretty neat to hear that. I’ve told a couple people that we got to go out to the Las Vegas Cup Banquet last year as the XFINITY Series champ and hang out with the 16 Chase contenders and I got to talk to a lot of those guys and talk a little bit outside of racing. I got some tips, just a lot of good advice and just good people. It’s neat to hear them say we’re happy we were able to pull it off it they weren’t, and going to the rookie of the year run, the spotlight has been on the 21 and the 24. Does it make a difference to us? Probably not. We’re gonna keep doing what we know to do and we’re gonna keep trying to make sure that we’re up there running with those guys every week, regardless of what attention is put where.”

DOES IT MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU TO LEARN BECAUSE THERE’S MORE PRESSURE ON THEM? “It’s been a tough rookie season regardless, and it’s always that way whenever you move up to the next series. There’s a steep learning curve and I expected that this season. It’s the same one I went through when we got done with an ARCA championship and you move into the XFINITY side thinking, ‘There’s no problem. You’ll be winning races before you know it,’ and that’s just not the case. It’s really, really difficult to do, so we left the XFINITY Series last year and we knew it was gonna be difficult this year to really get in a groove and figure out how these cars drive differently. I’m not gonna say the attention or lack thereof has made it easier, it’s just us doing what we know to do and trying to learn each and every week.”

JERRY FREEZE CONTINUED — HOW DOES THIS AFFECT FUTURE SPONSORSHIP? “Obviously, it puts us in a different place and when you can say and put in your literature that you’re a Sprint Cup Series winning team, it certainly gives you a little more clout than otherwise. We saw a bump when we won the race at Talladega a few years ago. That happened to be the very first race that Loves’ Travel Stops was on our car and they took a two-race program that’s now a 20-race program with us. It evolved over the last three or four years and CSX is our other big partner on the 34 program and they’ve grown over the years with us. They’ve been with us for five years, too, so I feel like we do a good job for those partners that we have and this hopefully will be a catalyst to have a few more that want to come on board and help support our program.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED – WAS IT YOUR DECISION TO JOIN FRONT ROW AT THE START OF THE SEASON? “I think we all got to the point where we all knew it was time to try and evolve and keep moving up. It was a good fit to try and use the teams to come together and have that alliance to try and build both programs stronger. I think we see it with all the teams in the garage. The ones that have more cars out there are able to be more successful. They have more notes to go off of and that’s what we’ve been able to do this year is just to build on it and with Landon being a teammate – Landon is a different teammate than I’ve had, just someone who really dissects everything, talks a lot more in-depth about what he’s feeling, and sometimes a little bit long-winded on that (laughing), but he’s a really good guy and he’s been great to learn from. It’s helped me in my transition into the Cup side, so I think it’s been a great fit. We were obviously able to put everything together to be able to get a win this season, so that’s a pretty awesome place to be right now. Now we’ve got to keep improving on it and just get through that Chase as strongly as possible.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED — DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE SITTING HERE BEFORE SOME OF THE OTHER PROMINENT DRIVERS STILL LOOKING FOR THEIR FIRST CUP WIN? “I sure hoped so (laughing). That’s always the plan and the idea to get here as quick as possible. It’s a different way to do it and some people won’t have the same respect for it, but when you look back it’s just about strategy and a lot more of the credit for this one goes to Bob and the team for making sure that we were in the position to be able to make the call and be brave. It’s pretty awesome to be able to say that we’ve won a Sprint Cup Series race. That’s pretty special. I’ve been working towards this since I really decided we were gonna do this as a career and not a hobby was 12 years old, so it’s 11 years in the making. It’s pretty awesome to be up here right now.”

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CELEBRATE? “By getting on a plane and going to Utah. We’ve got a road course school that we’re trying to figure out how to be better at Watkins Glen now. There’s no time to celebrate, unfortunately.”

WHAT LAP DID YOU HAVE THE CUT TIRE? “Basically, getting into turn two it was after a restart or pretty close. A couple of guys got crossed up in front of us getting into two and got out of shape. I tried to avoid the 44 who was kind of sliding back and forth and when I pulled down the track there was a car to the inside – a little bit closer than I thought – and honestly I probably didn’t need to pull down that far, but we’ve been hit in the right-rear this year before and that’s no better. So it smoked really bad. It actually cut the tire down coming off of three as we were hitting pit road, so we got really lucky there. For once this season we got lucky and were able to hit pit road and then I messed up our luck and I sped off of pit road, so I’ve got to get a little bit smoother in situations where things don’t go our way. I’ve got to try and calm down a little bit and make them a little bit easier on everybody back on the box.”

WHAT WAS BEING DISCUSSED ON THE RADIO PRIOR TO THE RED FLAG? “I think it was relatively quiet, just trying to assess how bad the fog was. I was a little biased, so in my eyes it was getting worse every lap and in the spotter’s eyes it was getting worse every lap. It was just trying to figure out how bad it really was and what the chances were, but I’d say overall we’re both pretty quiet on the radio and don’t say a whole lot. There was a lot of silence, I guess.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – “I did ask him, I think the very first time I asked him how the track looked and he said, ‘Oh, it looks OK right now.’ I’m like, ‘No. It’s raining somewhere on the race track.’”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED – “That was the first one that went right over my head, and then my spotter said he couldn’t even see us down the backstretch and it did start getting really bad really quick.”



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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