Ford Performance – Clash at the Coliseum Qualifying Quotes

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series
Clash at the Coliseum Qualifying | Saturday, February 4, 2023

Ford Qualifying Results

5th – Aric Almirola

13th – Harrison Burton

14th – Kevin Harvick

15th – Chase Briscoe

17th – Joey Logano

23rd – Brad Keselowski

24th – Ryan Preece

25th – Michael McDowell

26th – Austin Cindric

27th – Todd Gilliland

29th – Chris Buescher

31st – JJ Yeley

32nd – Cody Ware

35th – Ryan Blaney

Driver Quotes

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – NOTE: Briscoe was involved in a practice incident with AJ Allmendinger and suffered damage to the right-front of his Mustang. He spoke about what happened after practice.

WHAT HAPPENED? “I just got drove through. I thought he was slowing down so much down the straightaway to get a gap and I felt like I was beside him pretty far down the straightaway. I got in there a little hot for sure, but I honestly thought he was just gonna give it to me since we were in practice. I went into three and he just drove me straight into the fence. It’s definitely frustrating. Our car is obviously really, really good. Even after the damage I think we were still the best car out of our group, so it’s unfortunate. We don’t have a single backup car out here between the four of us at SHR, so that will definitely set us behind quite a bit. We’ll just chalk it up in the memory bank.”

IS IT SOMETHING YOU WILL DISCUSS WITH HIM NOW OR WAIT UNTIL LATER? “I mean, if he wants to come and talk to me, he can talk to me. I mean, it’s pretty obvious what happened. I get his frustration. I definitely got in there a little hot, but I don’t know if it’s worth crashing cars in practice over, so it’s just unfortunate. We’ve got a really fast Mahindra Tractors Ford. We won’t even remember this if we win tomorrow, so that’s what we’ll try to do.”

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE DO YOU HAVE? “It killed the whole nose, the right-front fender. I don’t know how it works if we have to change the nose. Do you have to go to the tail for your heat race? I don’t know how that works, but it killed it, for sure. It knocked the toe out and everything else, so we’ve got pretty significant damage even for how slow we’re going. It’s unfortunate for sure and definitely could have been avoidable.”

CAN YOU QUALIFY? “We were still the fastest car at the end there, so it will still be fine, I think. It’s obviously not optimal to race like that, so I don’t know how it works. If they’ll let us change the nose, I don’t know. I would say if you have to start in the back of your heat, you might just leave it. I don’t know. I don’t know how we’re gonna go through that. We’ll figure it out as we go. It’s kind of uncharted territory for us.”

BUT IF YOU COULDN’T FIX ANYTHING, COULD YOU STILL QUALIFY? “I could still qualify. It’s definitely not perfect by any means. There is a lot of stuff bent, but I think you could still qualify, for sure.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang – WOULD YOU BE IN FAVOR OF THIS EVENT BECOMING A POINTS RACE? “I don’t think there’s a good way to answer that. I think that, to me, as I look at this, there are a lot of possibilities of things that you could do with other venues. I like it as something that could move around and go to different spots and I think when you look at the stadium aspect of things, it opens up possibilities to take this event to different countries and different parts of the world to expose our sport, or you could have a Stadium Series. I don’t know. I think there are a lot of options. I think this has opened a lot of doors that probably in the past weren’t really expected to be opened because when I came here last year I really thought this was gonna be a joke, personally. And it was probably one of the races that I had the most fun at last year. You look at the atmosphere and everything that happened, it was a great event and I think coming back this year everybody is looking forward to it.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 Kings Hawaiian Ford Mustang – “I think it’s a great venue. They did a heck of a job. Similar to Kevin, I had some pretty big concerns coming into it last year and I was blown out of the water by what I saw here. I thought they did an amazing job. The potential is here to do so many different things – points races or carry the idea to other venues that I think it’s certainly in one year’s time earned a lot of respect within the industry that opens up numerous doors and opportunities. How that plays forward, I know I’m pretty open-minded to it as both a driver and an owner and look forward to see it do just that – play out.”

KEVIN HARVICK CONTINUED – HOW HAS YOUR MINDSET CHANGED WITH THIS BEING YOUR FINAL YEAR? “I think when you look at events now I think it allows you to look back at the things that you’ve been a part of and be in the moment at these particular events and really every event as you go to in different parts of the country. You have your spots that you like to eat or things you like about the track or people that you know in that area, so I’m fortunate to have done this for a long time. I feel like the timing of everything is really good. I go into events and I feel like we’re prepared and we go to the event and we do what we’re supposed to do and we go home, so I’m definitely going to try to enjoy the moments that you have at the racetrack, but in the end I feel really good about the timing of stepping out of the car at the end of the year. I am looking forward to going to all these places for the last time, but I think as you go through the moments and different things you’ll start to remember and celebrate things as we go along the way.”

YOU WERE THE FIRST TO DECLARE THIS A SUCCESS. IN YEAR TWO DOES IT CHANGE? “I think all of our races need to be great events and I think when you go and you watch a Super Bowl the event is great no matter what happens in the game because it’s the Super Bowl and everything it leads up to and builds up to, so I think that’s one thing that as we go along to all the races need to be. We need more events. When we go to Chicago this year it’s gonna be a great event before we even get there and who knows how the race will go. I think as you look at the atmosphere and everything that has come with this particular event, it will probably be better than it was last year just because of the fact that everybody knows how it works and all the lead up and hype and anticipation is still there for everything as we’ve come in here this year. So, I don’t think it’ll be worse.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOUR TAKES ON KEVIN’S CAREER AND WHAT HE HAS MEANT TO THE SPORT? “I look at Kevin and think of the opportunity that he had 23 years ago and I can’t imagine having to go through that set of circumstances and the weight that would come with that and trying to take that forward and to be able to do that and to overcome that weight and to win races at all three levels and championships as owner/driver at all three levels, I can’t think of anyone else that’s done that – at least not in this era to the regard that he’s done, so I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment. It’s easy to lose sight of. We get so focused on what have you done last week that I think sometimes we lose sight on what people have done over their career and certainly sometimes even over just a few years. So to take over that and then have a new Cup team and an opportunity eight or nine years ago with Stewart-Haas and to build that into a winner, in itself those are incredible accomplishments, and then you think of all the different partners he’s brought into the sport. You’ve got the business side and the competitive side and it’s kind of wins across both boards, which is really hard to do. I think there are a lot of people in this sport who are successful in one piece of the environment, but to be successful in multiple pieces of the environment is that much more challenging, so to be able to have that legacy is one that I’m sure Kevin is proud of and as the industry reflects back over the course of the year, I hope it takes the time to remember as well.”

FROM AN OWNER’S VIEW, WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THIS EVENT? “It’s an interesting event. When you look at the revenues of the race teams, the majority of the revenues are coming from the sponsors, so it does OK for that. But when you look at it for the value to the industry, it’s probably, in my opinion, the second-most valuable event that we have all year to the Daytona 500. To be in Los Angeles, which is certainly a huge market, I read some graphic the other day from NASCAR that we have more fans in L.A. than any other area, which is hard to think of, but of all the regions we go to, there are more NASCAR fans than anywhere else, so I think we lose sight of that sometimes. But to be able to be in their backyard and to engage them for a key event, I think that’s really important. Of course, for our TV partners this is a tremendous event as well. They’re the lifeblood of our sport in so many different ways as probably the primary revenue generator, so from the team perspective it’s probably more neutral, but from an industry perspective this is a significant event for us.”

KEVIN HARVICK CONTINUED – WITH THIS CAR HOW ARE YOU SEEING THE IMPACT THE DRIVER CAN HAVE? “When you step into a car that the team has scienced out it’s particularly easy because of the fact that the driver can get in and they can tell them what to do. Where it becomes difficult, and Brad can speak to this as well with what he stepped into, it’s incredibly important to be a part of the conversation and a part of the progression of the race team because the things that you say and the things that you do and how you communicate those things and how you follow through on those things. The things you push for. The things you give for are extremely important to the direction of the race team and the decisions that are made in the development of setups and really whatever else you’re trying to develop, whether it’s simulator, whether it’s setups, whether it’s at the track, you’re a piece of that puzzle and a piece of that puzzle that has the biggest feel of the car and the things that they’re changing and the things that are happening and whether they work or don’t work and whether that relates to simulation or the simulator and how all of those programs proceed forward whether it’s positive or negative can be detrimental to have to take 8, 10 steps backwards to try to unwind things as you make a wrong move in the development. An experienced driver and learning how to test and develop is not a quality that a lot of our younger guys have because they’ve never had to run a test or be responsible for the decisions that are being made from the engineering staff and a lot of them are very agreeable to what people say and deep down they know that’s probably not what they felt, but they just don’t want to rock the boat. So, you have to have that franchise leader to be able to make those decisions and the staff and everybody believe, ‘OK, what I said as a driver is what they’re going to do and we’re a blend of the engineering staff and the crew chiefs and the people making the decisions on what we’re gonna do with the car.’ There’s always something to develop. They can keep simplifying everything and it’s just gonna make it harder to kick the crumbs out that are better to make the car go faster, so it’s a never ending progression and the driver is a key part of that to keep the organization on par from a competition standpoint to keep the cars progressing forward.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – WHAT DO YOU FEEL MOST OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS SEASON? “To piggyback off of some of Kevin’s comments. Your responsibility as a driver, in a lot of ways, is to kind of find the last 5-10 percent of a car and optimize the performance around that. What’s really tough is when you start at 60 percent, even if you get 5 or 10 percent, you’re still at 70 percent. We started the year last year so far behind that I didn’t feel like I could even really help, so getting halfway through the year it started to get to where I think my feedback and input was valuable and we started to make the right moves and then you kind of naturally run into this trap that the things you need to fix you either don’t have the time to fix or you’re contractually limited with people or tools and contracts and so forth, and you literally just have to endure the pain until you get to an offseason. This was a really important offseason for us at RFK to really apply a lot of the super painful lessons of last year and I think we’ve done a lot of that. We’ve said, ‘All right, we know what we don’t know and now we’ve got to fix it.’ And then we got through the offseason and we want to work and really dug down deep on a number of projects – some internal, some external, some people related and some resource related. I can’t say that we’ve got all of them checked off, but we made a lot of progress this offseason, so I’m super optimistic to see that play out on the racetrack.”

YOU MISSED THE MAIN EVENT LAST YEAR, BUT DO YOU LIKE A FORMAT THAT SENDS PEOPLE HOME? IS THAT A GOOD STORYLINE FOR NASCAR? “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I mean, there’s only one winner at the end of the day, so whether you go home early or late, it’s kind of all the same in some regard. There’s always the pressures of partners and getting them on the racetrack and the business model and the economics of that, but, in the end, we have to do what’s best for the fans and from that perspective I think to put on an event like this it’s difficult to put 36 cars on the track and make something that is the best product possible for the fans, so I would look at it always through the lens of what is best for the fans and in this event I think a few cars have to go home to make it the best it can be.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – YOU POSTED ABOUT YOUR HAIR IN THE OFFSEASON. WHAT DID YOU DO AND WHY? “I’ve been battling with Alopecia for quite some time, where it just kind of comes and goes, along with pattern balding at the same time and Hairclub reached out and said, ‘We’ve got a great fix for you,’ and I said, ‘Great, let me hear about it.’ And they’ve got a lot of different avenues you can go, a lot of different things for people that are going through stuff. It was a lot of really cool pieces along with it, ways that we can tie into the foundation as well moving forward, so they had a fix for me and probably have a fix for about everybody, so I went with that and now I look 10 years younger. It’s like the old days. I’m back. It’s good.”

WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN? ARE YOU FEELING MORE CONFIDENT? “Yeah. I look better than I feel, which is good, but, like I said, it was a good opportunity. For one, I do a lot of things on TV and things I noticed and this isn’t really uncommon for people to do. It’s probably uncommon for people to talk about it, for whatever reason. People don’t really talk about this stuff or try to keep it secretive, but I’m pretty much an open book at this point and don’t mind talking about things like that.”

THE REACTION ON SOCIAL HAS BEEN MIXED. HAVE YOU READ MUCH ABOUT IT AND WHAT IS YOUR REACTION? “I’ve read through some of it. Honestly, it only matters what I think about it and, honestly, the only person it really matters to is my wife. You guys will probably understand that, but she likes it, so we’re good to go.”

ANY OF THE OTHER DRIVERS HIT YOU UP FOR YOUR CONTACT? “Yes. I got many text messages from a lot of people I know wondering what to do and who to call, so I’ve hooked up quite a few people already.”

ARE YOU READY TO GET BACK IN THE CAR AND THE OFFSEASON TO BE OVER WITH? “Absolutely. I know I’m not anywhere near the end of my career because I can’t wait to get back in a race car. That’s kind of, to me, the telltale sign of where you’re at and I was very excited about just getting back out here and racing again. Coming back to the L.A. Coliseum and seeing the track again. The excitement is the same as it was last year. Maybe you feel a little bit more comfortable this year because we know a little bit more about what we’re about to get into, but it’s definitely very exciting.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Great Lakes Ford Mustang – YOU’LL BE BACK IN THE BOOTH AT DAYTONA. WHAT KEEPS BRINGING YOU BACK? “I’m doing a handful of races for them (FOX) this year. It’s something I have been doing more and more, whether it’s the booth or the Hubs and I really just enjoy the booth. I mean, it gives you a neat perspective on the race. It’s different watching up there than watching from the bus or anywhere else, and I feel like the more current driver insight you can give to the fan watching at home is great. The people they have working up in the booth are really talented, who work up there week to week, but I think if you can get some drivers in there like they have been doing, whether it’s FOX or NBC, it’s just really good. You can kind of say, ‘Hey, I felt this today in practice today and maybe look for this and this in the race.’ Or can explain a situation maybe a little bit more just because you’re more experienced on that side. It’s something I really enjoy doing. A handful is enough for me. I don’t want to be up there every single week, but I think some of the knowledge a current driver can give is helpful for the person watching at home.”

ANYTHING WEIRDER THAN DEALING WITH THE SNOW DELAY IN VEGAS? “I was on a streak there for a while where it was raining or snowing in weird places. It snowed in Vegas. It rained in Phoenix and it was whenever I was in the booth, so I didn’t know what was going on, but the delays do stink. You make the best of it, but hopefully we’re over that hump.”

HOW IS YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO THIS SEASON? “Yeah, definitely after the year we had last year of kind of missed opportunities and not having the best of years and things like that, not winning, it feels like it makes you more motivated than ever. Really, how our season ended I would say motivates me the most, even without the wins in the regular season or things like that, I messed up two of the races in the Round of 8 and it kept us from getting to Phoenix and we had a car that could contend at Phoenix, for sure. That kind of stinks and you look back at that and you’re disappointed in yourself when you’re the one who kind of inflicts both of those mistakes. I think everyone is motivated and I feel like, as a driver, as you get older you’re mindset is trying not to dwell on those things too hard and just learn from them and move on and realize you’re gonna have good years and bad years and try to figure out a way to come off the bad years and turn them into good years and take the positives out of it and apply it. I think that’s kind of what fuels our team. I’ve got a great group. They’re very deserving to race at Phoenix and win races and I think what we’ve learned last year and hopefully be applied to this one.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT WE’RE HERE FOR A SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR TO BUILD ON THE MOMENTUM FROM LAST YEAR? “Last year, this was one of the biggest risks, if not the biggest risk, our sport has ever taken. When you think of the track we’re racing at, brand new. Brand new cars that had never been raced before in front of a lot of new fans that have never seen a race before, this could have been really bad. I was very nervous. This could be really bad for the sport and it was great. You think about it. The race was really good. The heat races. The last chance qualifiers. Each race kind of had its own feel and personality and the feature was good. There was good racing. There was a concert in between. It was a spectacular week, I thought, out here to pull this one off. It seems crazy. When they told us the first time it was like, ‘What? Where? How? With brand new cars? OK.’ But it worked out great and obviously that’s why we’re back again and not really many things have changed and the things that have make it even better for the fan experience. This is great. I think it’s added something to the Clash in general. It was special when it was in Daytona, to win at Daytona is special, but I think last year after going through the whole weekend and being able to win the race the excitement and the amount of eyeballs that were watching were far more than what it would have been at the Clash, to where I would almost look at winning the Clash last year as one of my biggest victories, and I don’t think there’s many non-points paying races that you’d ever say that about, but just the fact that it was an inaugural event at a place like this was just really cool.”

YOU TOOK HUDSON TO MILLBRIDGE. HOW SPECIAL WAS THAT TO GET HIM ON THE TRACK? “We had fun. His crew chief, which is men, is lost as last year’s Easter egg. I can tell you that much. I have no idea what the heck we’re doing. No idea what gear to put in the car. How much air to put in the tires. I need someone to help me unload the cart from the truck. I just had a pickup truck and I was like, ‘What do I need for a go kart?’ But we had a lot of fun. He’s decent on the speed. We’re a little bit off on the race-ability stuff like restarts and passing cars, but we just want to have some fun together. That’s kind of what it’s all about right now, so other times I take my Legend’s car and he takes his little outlaw kart and we go play around together. It’s fun.”

ARE YOU ASSUMING THIS IS THE SAME TRACK AS LAST YEAR? WHAT COULD THERE BE THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE? “We walked the track earlier. It looks the same to me. That being said, once you get out there and driver a race car on it you start to notice little differences and things like that. There’s no two corners created the same at any racetrack you go to. I doubt they can make it identical, but it doesn’t look much different. It looks pretty similar. In preparing for the race we went off of what we had last year, just because that’s kind of all you know. Things we fought last year, most likely, are gonna be the same issues we fight this year. The track being brand new. Going through practices. I assume the track is going to keep getting faster and picking up. It’s gonna be hard to tune on your car for that reason and how the racing is and those things you go back on what happened last year because that’s all you’ve got.”

RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED – WILL TEMPERATURES PLAY A PART IN QUALIFYING AND THE RACE LIKE LAST YEAR? “Last year in qualifying it was definitely pretty cold. I don’t know if it will be as cold as what it was last year, but that was pretty big trying to get heat in your stuff. I think as we get closer to qualifying here and similar to the start of the race time, I feel there are some things you can learn. It seems like it’ll be a little bit colder tomorrow from what I see, but when you have such a short track like this, heat is imperative of getting going. You have nowhere to build it, so it’s like Martinsville doubled. I mean, we always talk about trying to get heat in your stuff at Martinsville and this is even harder to do that. Qualifying, the start of the race, restarts, that’s huge to try and get heat in your stuff and you’re gonna see guys doing all they can – burnouts, locking tires up – just trying to get everything they can because it’s really important and it’s really hard to do.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – FROM A SPONSOR STANDPOINT IT WAS GOOD TO HAVE THEM PITCH THE OPPORTUNITY, RIGHT? “For everyone there’s an avenue for everything. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make yourself look good, right? Why do you go to the gym? Well, you want to be healthy and you want to look good. It’s the same thing here. I had the opportunity to do this and felt like it was the right move and it all kind of worked out great.”

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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