Ford Performance NASCAR: Mustangs Sweep Watkins Glen Front Row

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Zippo 200 at the Glen – Watkins Glen International
Friday, August 4, 2016

Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski swept the front row in NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen, part of a trio of Ford Mustangs in the top-10 for tomorrow afternoon’s race.

1st Joey Logano
2nd Brad Keselowski
7th Trevor Bayne
11th Darrell Wallace, Jr.
17th Scott Heckert


BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 22 Fleetwood/REV Group Ford Mustang – Qualified 2nd
TALK A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE. “It was a decent run all in all for both of us. I didn’t think we were going to actually be able to pull that off for a number of reasons. First off I thought the 18 and 42 in practice were really strong and it would be tough for anyone to beat those guys and then of course on my first run, I think I was third or fourth, so we made another run and went back out there. You never know on those deals if you will gain speed or lose speed. More times than not you don’t pick up. We did this time and that made me feel it was worth doing it. I didn’t see the video yet but somebody said we were first all the way to turn 10 which makes me look back and think I could have gotten more out of 10 and 11. All in all a decent run and good place to get started from.”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE? IS THIS WHERE TEAM PENSKE CAN GET YOUR XFINITY SEASON TURNED AROUND? “Yeah, it has been a good track for us with those numbers and I think it is hard to pinpoint one reason why. I know one thing, you have to run hard here. You have to use eveyr curve and push your car to the limit. It is a really fast track, really aggressive. I guess that probably suits our style as a team and drivers.”

YOU DID A FACEBOOK LIVE EVENT LAST NIGHT DRIVING AROUND GIVING OUT MILLER LITE TO FANS. WAS THAT YOUR IDEA? “It was 50/50 between my girlfriend and I. We are trying to have a little fun. Social media is an ever-changing game and it seems like whatever was hip two or three years ago is now not hip. As it changes, trying to stay up with the trends and what is cool and what is not and trying to have fun with it is important. I think in general the Watkins Glen track here has an amazing facitily with respect to the fans and what you see in the campground and I love being a part of that and it fits well with my sponsor, Miller. I just wanted to go out and see and say ‘hey’ to some of my fans. I was a little nervous I wasn’t going to find anybody that was a fan of mine. Sometimes if you go out for driver intros there probably aren’t very man. We were lucky. We found someone right away and had some fun with them. To see them get excited and go through all that wave of emotions is pretty cool. It is fun to be able to share that with other people.”

WITH THE TRACK BEING REPAVED, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED THAT HELPED YOU TODAY? “The track is changing dramatically as the cars run on and lay rubber down. It changes. When we started practice here Thursday the practice was about five seconds slower than what it was here in qualifying. That is a very dramatic change of pace. Five seconds is at least 10 mph average speed. That is a good way to put it in perspective. I ran wide open on my last run through the esses here in qualifying and there are three turns in the esses. Then in practice when the track was just starting out you could barely run half throttle through those three corners. The track changes dramatically as it takes rubber. The tire compound itself is a very hard compound and it takes awhile to put rubber down but as the practice sessions have gone on and the cars from XFINITY, Cup and K&N side have put that rubber down the track is picking up speed and grip. You’re points that you use continues to move and you continue to drive the car that much harder still. That is a tough process. It is tough because these tracks are still about getting in a rhythm and when the grip level is changing every lap it is hard to get in a rhythm. It is a very challenging race track by itself and the repave is adding a whole other dynamic to it that I think we will see play out over the next two days with races that have a lot of action, a lot of sideways, a lot of spinouts and probably a lot of crashes.”

Brad Keselowski continued …
QUESTION INAUDIBLE “I think this is my best road course for sure. I have always loved this place since I was a kid. I remember the first time I came here. I liked coming here. I liked the track and everything about it and I still do. I don’t know why but that kind of plays to how I run here. It has been an enjoyable place to me. You can be so aggressive here and I think that is great. It is a track that, as you saw from the video in testing, can bite you really big. That is tough but in general it has banking and uphill and downhill and a lot of speed. I think that is a really cool thing.”


JOEY LOGANO, No. 12 Snap-On Ford Mustang – Qualified 1st
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE TO GET THE POLE. “It felt great. It is funny because after the first round I told the guys that we have to run an 80 to get the pole and I think we ran an 85, which I didn’t think was going to be good enough. It barely was. We are all super proud of this 12 team. It is kind of a team that we kind of put together a bunch of people from the shop and run this car part time and it is a big deal for them to get out here and get a pole and have a nice starting spot for tomorrow. It is also a big pick-me-up for Team Penske on the XFINITY side. We have had a tough year as you know and it is nice to have some speed here at Watkins Glen this weekend and put it on the pole and take the front row. I am proud of that. We will see what happens. Hopefully we can do the same things we did last year.”

DID YOU GUYS COME HERE AND EXPECT TO BE FAST? “It is hard to expect speed. I think if you expect that then you probably won’t be. If you expect to be fast you probably won’t work hard. We like working maybe thinking we are behind and be able to get ahead, at least that is the way I approach things. We have been fast here in the past but it is a different racetrack with the repave. There are a lot of differences and a different tire. It is nice to see the speed transfer over in both cars today. I am excited on the Cup side as well. Did we expect it? No, but you hope to be fast for sure. We were cautiously optimistic.”

THERE ARE SEVEN CUP DRIVERS IN THE RACE TOMORROW, INCLUDING YOURSELF, DOES THAT MAKE IT A TOUGH CHALLENGE TO WIN? “It ain’t easy, that is for sure. Cup guys are Cup racers for a reason right? They are really good. The more you put into an XFINITY race the more it becomes a Cup race. I think it is going to be a challenge to beat them but I think you look at the typical guys that are fast in the Cup car will be fast in the XFINITY cars as well. They are with great race teams as well. I think there are five or six cars that will be up there racing each other. I think it will be a really good race. The cars are fun. They draft a lot, which is really cool. The way the noses are so high on road courses, the penalty being behind a car isn’t big. It will be hard to pull away for that reason. I still think a fast car will be able to pull away some and have some advantage up front but it won’t be as big as we typically see.”

WITH THE REPAVE THIS YEAR, IS RUNNING THE XFINITY RACE A BIGGER ADVANTAGE THIS YEAR? “I think so. It is always an advantage to run road courses in my opinion because we don’t do it very often. We aren’t road course guys. It is amazing how much better everyone has gotten at it from what it used to be. I feel like we can stick any of these guys that run up front in the Cup race in any type of road course series and be able to go out there and compete for wins. I feel like these guys are really good at it. It is fun to be part of that group and how much effort everyone puts into two races a year. It was a big deal last year to have a road course win on your record because it is so hard to do it and these guys are so good at it that it is nice to break through and be part of that group. It is an advantage to run this race to get more laps because we don’t do it very often.”

Joey Logano continued …
HOW MUCH SPEED HAVE YOU GAINED THE LAST TWO DAYS AND HOW MUCH OF THE RACE TOMORROW WILL BE A LEARNING PROCESS AS IT GOES ON. “I don’t think it will be very much. We will go out there and hammer down right off the bat. I think we have picked up so much that we are at that peak. A lot of the time picked up as much as anything is track rubbering in and getting used to the new surface and figuring out your racecar and what it takes to go fast. For awhile here yesterday, actually every run was faster. You would just keep jumping up the board. Every time we went out we went faster. That is just somewhat kind of a repave and some of it is just the first time on the racetrack with the repave and some of that stuff just goes together. Obviously drivers getting used to the new repave too. Those three things add up to being a lot of time. I don’t know what our first laps were to where we are now but I know we are a lot faster than when we started.”

IT APPEARS ERIK JONES IS GOING TO BE GOING CUP RACING NEXT SEASON. AS SOMEONE THAT WAS FAST-TRACKED IN THIS SPORT, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR HIM? DO YOU THINK HE IS READY TO MAKE THAT MOVE? “I do think he is ready. He has a lot more experience than I had when I went into it. I had a half a year of XFINITY and they threw me in. He has Truck and XFINITY and dabbled in some Cup races already and did a good job. I think, obviously, for me I learned how to handle situations better as I got more experience and how to gain respect from guys and some of the ways I did it in the beginning were maybe the wrong way. You learn from that. My advice to anyone is to make mistakes. I think mistakes are a good thing as long as you learn from them and don’t make them again. That is my theory on life. I don’t regret any mistake I made, I regret mistakes I made twice.

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

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