David Ragan Wins First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Of His Career
David Ragan Wins First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Of His Career
Ford Finishing Order:
1st – David Ragan
2nd – Matt Kenseth
10th – AJ Allmendinger
16th – David Gilliland
17th – Marcos Ambrose
18th – Greg Biffle
27th – Andy Lally
28th – Terry Labonte
29th – Travis Kvapil
37th – Carl Edwards
41st – Trevor Bayne
· David Ragan won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with today’s win.
· Today’s win is the fifth of the season for Ford Racing, which is one more than all of last season.
· Ragan is the eighth different driver to win for owner Jack Roush in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· In addition, he becomes the 76th different driver to win for Ford Racing.
· The win is the 124th all-time NSCS win for Roush Fenway Racing.
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “This is fun. There’s not a better place to do it than Daytona. First of all, I’ve got to thank the Lord for looking after me. Sprint. We delivered a win for UPS. I’ve been promising all those UPSers for a couple of years and finally got it in Daytona. It couldn’t be any better. It’s a great points night. Coke Zero 400. It couldn’t be a better night. I have to thank Matt Kenseth, my Ford teammate worked well together.” HOW DOES IT FEEL AFTER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE 500. “Everybody kept talking about it and I just tried to take the positive from it and move on. I can’t thank my spotter and my crew chief and my team enough. They really humbled me and kept me focused. Matt pushed me to the finish line. The Roush Yates horsepower was great. Doug and Robert Yates back at the house, thanks for all the help. I thank the fans and Sprint. There’s not a better night to win. This is awesome.” SO MANY GENERATIONS OF RAGAN’S HELPED YOU TO GET HERE. “I’m just proud. Everybody back home in Unadilla, Georgia – maybe the streets are rocking and rolling tonight. I’ve got my mom and dad here, my older brother, Adam. It’s a lot of fun times here to celebrate this July Fourth Weekend. Thanks to all the veterans back home and it’ll be a fun night.” WHAT HAVE YOU PROVED TONIGHT? SOME THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T READY FOR CUP? “I wasn’t ready a few years ago, but Jack Roush gave me a chance and this is all we needed. We’ve been so close so many times and finally we’re here. I can’t thank UPS enough for standing behind us. We’re here and we’ll enjoy it. We’ll enjoy it Monday and Tuesday and then we’ll go back to work for Kentucky next week.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Affliction Clothing Ford Fusion – “It was a great win for the company, a great win for Roush Fenway Racing. I want to thank Affliction for being on the car these last few races and Crown Royal for all their support as well. Our Ford Fusions were really fast today. David did a great job. We switched back and forth a lot. We had a plan made out yesterday and stuck to it and it worked out today. We had real fast cars.” HOW WAS THE RACING? “Since I wrecked in the first two I kind of expected to wreck, so I was glad I didn’t do that and glad we had a shot at the end. If it would have gone green, we made some moves and I was on the other end of David and he was pushing me. We got up to the lead and lost it right before that last green-white-checker, but I’m glad everything lined up. I’m really happy for David and that group. It was a cool race.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I’m really excited for David. We had great cars tonight. The guys at the shop and at the engine shop – everybody has worked really, really hard and how well we ran tonight just shows that. Carl and I just got caught up racing too hard too early. He was loose off of four and he darted to the top. He moved so fast and I tried to follow him and his car was loose and spun out. It’s unfortunate, and then we had some other trouble, but it was a good night for our company.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “At the beginning of the race we didn’t really have a plan of who we were gonna work with. The other Ford cars had teammates already and we were gonna work on whoever we found and we worked with the 33 car at first and we were really fast. We only got a couple laps to prove that, but he dropped off to find the 31, which we knew he was gonna do, and as I was kind of falling through the field, we found the 2 car. I wanted to be a pusher because I know that these things can happen. He got to us and was pushing us down the frontstretch. I was still kind of lifting a little bit, letting him get to my bumper, and then I got back to the gas wide-open. I don’t know if I turned down more getting in or if he kind of came up across our bumper, but, either way, our bumpers caught wrong and it sent us spinning. You know that can happen here. It happens all the time, but it’s tough that it was our car. I hate tearing up a good race car and they duplicated what we had here in February, which is hard to do, so I’m thankful for the Wood Brothers standing behind me through everything I’ve been through this year, and for Ford and Quick Lane and Motorcraft and Ford Parts.com and everybody that’s been around all year long for everything. It’s good to have people like that around.” WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN IT GOES AWAY? “It’s not fun, I can promise you. It takes about a half-second and you say, ‘Oh, here it goes,’ because you get sideways and you know the point of correction. You know at what point you can still correct and then you know when it’s too far. I watched a little bit of it and it looked like I slowed down and I was kind of sliding sideways, and then when it finally slowed down enough it just hooked and went right. That happens when you’re at these high-speed places, so, like I said, I just hate that it was us. It’s gonna happen again tonight, I’m sure, but it’s just really unfortunate for us. I wanted to back-up what we did here in February, obviously, but we aren’t gonna get the chance to do that.” WHAT’S THE RANGE OF EMOTION LIKE? “I can’t explain what I’ve been through this year. It’s tough at times and it’s good at times, but I just know that I’ve got really good people behind me and that’s why I say that about Ford and everybody at the Wood Brothers and Roush Fenway on the Nationwide side. I’ve got great people behind me, so that gives me confidence. If I didn’t have that and I didn’t have my faith and everything else, right now that would be a pretty bad blow I can promise you that.” WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT NOT HAVING A PARTNER COMING IN? “This time was different because last time we didn’t know how extreme this would be, so they didn’t work it out before they got here. They didn’t have their teams all set up. This time, they already had that planned before they got here, so you don’t even have a chance if you have a single-car team. You just have to wait on another guy to crash out and pick him up, but I was just planning on riding at the beginning. There’s no reason we should have already been out of this race with the mindset that we had. We were just gonna ride it out and keep the car in one piece until the end.” DID YOU HAVE A CAR THAT COULD WIN? “Well, it was fast there at the beginning. The four Hendrick cars had to team up on us to get by me and Clint Bowyer, so I knew we had a good race car and it qualified really well. If it was gonna be a winner, we’ll never know, but I think it could have been for sure.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We don’t ever give up and that’s the thing. I told my guys to keep their heads up. We’ll take this bad day and keep our pride. This is part of it. We knew coming here we could come out losing a bunch of points and we lost about as many as we could, but that’s OK. We’re still right there. Hopefully, we’ll be leading it after next week.” IN THE BIG PICTURE DOES IT MEAN MUCH AND WHAT IS THE FOCUS FOR KENTUCKY? “In the big picture it doesn’t mean much, but there is a lot of pride in leading those points, so we’ll try to get that points lead back. But, in the end, this is one of those things that could actually be good, it could be something that pays off for us. That’s a pretty big lesson right there. I kind of strayed from my normal m.o. at these places and was being pretty aggressive at the beginning and it bit me, so we’ll go to Talladega in the fall and we’ll have a better plan.” WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CAR? “It was just the timing of everything. I was being aggressive and kind of having a little bit of fun, but that’s what we decided we were gonna try to do. We were gonna go out there and race a little harder this time. We had the points lead and not a lot to lose, so it’s no big deal. It is what it is. If you take the last five restrictor plate races and average them out, we’ve done really well. We just have to make sure we do well in the chase.” THOUGHTS ON DAVID WINNING. “That’s cool. That’s huge for David. I’m very happy for him.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion – YOU WERE 31ST ON THE FIRST GWC RESTART AND FINISHED 10TH. HOW? “A lot of guys wrecked (laughing). I don’t know. I felt like Marcos and I were worked good and we were trying to be smart and bide our time, but then it all fell apart. We lost the draft a little bit and then we got caught behind the 7 and 35 and by the time we got hooked back up everybody was gone. We’re not sure if we have a fuel pump issue, but we ran out of fuel when we weren’t supposed to, so the pit stop took even longer. After that it was just survival. I felt kind of bad because Marcos and I were racing for the lucky dog, but I was happy that the yellow came out twice so we both got our laps back. After that, it was just trying to miss the wreck. We didn’t quite miss it but I stayed wide open when it happened and kind of bulled my way through there and finished 10th.”
MATT KENSETH PRESS CONFERENCE – “We had really fast cars together. It’s almost like you’re a team. It’s almost like those two cars are one car, so, in a way, I feel like we won. That was good, but our cars were really fast together. We got up front early and led. We kind of made a plan last week, Jimmy and Drew worked together to make a plan and David and I talked a lot yesterday and today. We both got up there and got our bonus point, we both led and then we kind of got shuffled out one time and went to the back and waited a little bit and then when we wanted to we were able to make a charge and get up to the lead. Of course, the way the last couple cautions went with the green-white-checkers it mixed the order up a little bit. One time I was leading, I think with three or four to go, and then the way that restart worked it got him back in the lead and lined us up for that green-white-checkered, so it was a good night for us. I’m glad it worked out. The two speedway races have been disasters so far, so I’m happy to not get wrecked tonight and finish second.”
WHAT’S THE FRUSTRATION FACTOR RIGHT NOW? “Well, for me I’m not frustrated at all. The first two speedway races, like I said, we were wrecked and I don’t know where we finished – high 30s or something – those have been our big problems. We just couldn’t get anything to work, got destroyed in both of them, so I’m not frustrated at all. I feel like one of the luckiest guys here, I guess the second-luckiest guy here. We made it through the race unscathed, actually made a plan with David and we both did what it took to work, not necessarily for ourselves, but realizing that the two cars are like one car and we had to treat it like that, and we both took care of each other’s cars in the position we were in. We raced in front or in back of each other all night every single lap of the whole race and waited for each other after pit stops and did what it took to get the finish, so that feels good that the plan came together and worked out for us tonight.”
WHAT WOULD HAD TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN SHORT OF YOUR TEAMMATE FALTERING? “Yeah, the biggest thing is the 20 was too close. Coming through three and four, I believe the 29 was right on me pushing me hard while I was pushing David and if I wouldn’t have had a car outside of me, which I still did, if I wouldn’t have had a car outside of me that would have been my chance to move to the outside and the 29 might have pushed me and I maybe could have made a run to the finish, but I think that was coming to the white and I just think Joey was too close. I couldn’t have made a move on David, one car on one car without Joey splitting us and winning the race, so I just stayed behind David. I figured he wouldn’t since he spun me out last week. I figure he would have cut me a break tonight.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT DAVID HAS GONE THROUGH? “He’ll have to tell you what the win means to him, but I’ve seen David mature a lot and learn a lot. I mean, when he came in here and started driving the 6 car, I don’t know David’s whole racing history, but he didn’t have a lot of experience, especially driving big, heavy cars. He’s had a couple different crew chiefs and car chiefs and crew and groups, and until they found a good mix that worked really well with him, I don’t know why it is like that, but you’ve got to get the right mix of people together. You’ve got to get all those people working right together and it seems like he’s got that right now. He’s had really fast cars all year. He sat on at least one pole and he’s been the fastest in practice a lot. I mean, they’ve had really fast cars. You could kind of see it coming, so I think just getting the right group of guys together for him and I think just getting more experience and learning.”
WAS IT IN YOUR MIND TO STAY BEHIND DAVID THE LAST TWO LAPS? “It depends on the circumstances. I thought that was gonna be our chance for one of us to win. If we would have had a 20-car length lead coming off of four, I would have tried to figure out how to make a single-car move and beat him to the line, but, like I said, Joey was too close. If I would have made a move on David, it would have slowed us both down and Joey would have passed us both or we all would have wrecked or something crazy would have happened. At that point when I came off of four and I looked to see where Joey was and I could see he had good speed, I could see he was being pushed, me and David were on the same radio and I told him I was going to stay on the yellow line and keep pushing him. I told him, ‘I’m not gonna leave you and try to pass you,’ because I knew that one of us weren’t gonna win. So that was a plan to work as a team all night and it just so happened he was in the front at the end. Both of us were kind of unselfish all night and worked together really well. I was leading with three or four to go and it was just circumstances on the restart that got him back in front and I was fine with that too. You’d like to be the one coming back to the checkered, but we made a plan and we stuck to it and it worked well. If the circumstances would have been different, like I say, and we would have had a big lead and knew we weren’t gonna get passed and were still gonna finish first and second regardless, of course you would have tried to make a move to win the race.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS MEANS TO DAVID? “I think it’s got to be pretty big for him to win that race, stepping in the 6 car after Mark leaving and all that stuff isn’t exactly probably the easiest job in the world. It took a little while to find a group of guys that he seems to work the best with. Ever since they kind of mixed that up and Drew got over there and they switched some guys around, their performance has really picked up. You could see it coming at a speedway, but you could see it coming at other tracks, too. He’s been running better. They’ve been faster in practice and they’ve been racing better, qualifying better, so they’ve been improving and it’s really hard to win at this level. But you can see they’ve been improving with the organization, so I’m happy for him to get that win because he deserves it, especially after the 500 as well.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE EQUIPMENT FOR COOL BOXES? “I don’t know, but I bet you Cale Yarborough never had a cool box or a scrubber (laughing). I don’t think it’s that big of a deal on lap 20, not when you’re in the shape that Carl is in. He’s probably in the best shape of any driver in the garage, so he never runs a cool box, he just runs a CO2 filter and a little air to his helmet. If that was part of the wreck, I would be surprised.” HOW IMPORTANT IS A COOL BOX? “It’s like having air-conditioning in your home now, if you can have it, why wouldn’t you? I like running it. I’m not nearly that tough, so I like to run it. I figure the more fresh you are and the better you feel at the end of the race, at least in my case, I feel like I do a better job, so you try to stay in shape and stay cool and hydrated and all that stuff to be the best you can be at the end as well.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – "Our guys did a great job this weekend. We worked with Tony (Stewart) all night, just like we planned, and we were fast. After running up front for a bit, we dropped back out of the lead pack because we knew we were fast and thought it'd be safer toward the back for a while. But then Tony got clipped in one of those wrecks toward the end, and we restarted that last green-white-checkered by ourselves. We were hoping for better than 15th, but I guess we could've been in the middle of the last big wreck. I really don't know how I made it through."
TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion – "We had a pretty good race car. Just probably not as fast as I thought we were going to be. I hooked up with Nemechek all night and got to the front pretty good. Pit stops held us up a little and we got back on track position. But, just got caught up in a wreck. One of those green-white-checkered deals where you're just in the wrong spot. The guys right behind me made it through, and the guys in front of me made it through, but I just got clipped. I had a pretty good car. Just wish we could bring one of these home."
DAVID RAGAN PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a tough one in February and coming back here we knew that we’d have a shot to win. I think there are 30 guys that can win this race. We felt good all weekend walking around. We went through practice and felt good about our race car, qualified great, the team did a nice job with our car. When we qualified, that’s probably the first time I really felt like we’ve got a car that’s fast enough that we can win this thing if we make the right decisions throughout the race, so we made a pact with our teammate Matt Kenseth that we were gonna work together through thick or thin. I was a little worried about that, too. Sometimes falling to the back and to the front you get jammed up through the race, so I didn’t know if that was the right decision or not, but the bottom line is our car was fast and that’s what wins these races. You’ve got to have a little bit of luck. You’ve got to have good pit stops. All of that stuff goes into effect, but you’ve got to have a fast car and our UPS Ford was fast. The engine ran flawless and that’s what won the race for us, having Matt right behind us I knew that we’d have a good pusher and so that’s what was going through my mind. I knew we had the car to do it. I just tried to not make any mistakes, try to put ourselves in good position and we wound up obviously being in the lead on the last restart and that was the winning moment for us to be able to start on the front row.”
YOU ARE 17TH IN POINTS NOW AND A CHASE CONTENDER. “Yeah, we feel like we’ve been a player for the chase all year. It kind of disappoints me to be 17th. We should be about 13th in points, so we’ve got a lot of work to make up, but we’ve got some good tracks coming up. I’m happy about the win. We should be higher in points than that.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER, Crew Chief – “When you do this two-by-two thing you’ve got a partner you’re coming to pit road with, especially under green flag stops, so you get together with those guys and figure out what they want to do. Luckily, we’ve got a great teammate in Matt Kenseth and Jimmy Fennig and Jimmy and I were on the radio together deciding what we wanted to do – two, four, gas only, things like that – so it was really easy when you’ve got someone with the experience of Jimmy talking you through it. I’d tell him what I wanted to do and he said, ‘That’s good. Let’s do it.’ So we stayed together all night and that was a great opportunity for us to work with two veteran guys and have their leadership with us.”
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – “I’m really happy to be here with Drew and David. They’ve worked really hard and they’re a great team. Drew is a great coach and David is a great recipient of the coaching and they’ve been working hard all year and they’ve had several occasions when they could have won a race – certainly the Daytona 500 was a big disappointment the way it worked out for David, but the FR9 engine has done a great job, the Ford support behind the program has never been better than we’ve had this year, and the engineers have all done a great job. We brought cars down here that we expected to have a chance to win with and David was confident of that and they used it well tonight. They didn’t waste the opportunity.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – DID IT TAKE YOU UNTIL TODAY TO FORGET THE 500? “Yeah because all of you guys wanted to talk about it on a regular basis (laughing). I was hoping to win one a little earlier than the July Fourth race here, but it’s a good feeling to come back here. We got one back at Daytona. It would have been tough to lose another one. I thought about that under that last caution. I said, ‘Man, if we don’t win this thing, I’m not gonna want to talk to anyone afterwards.’ We were able to win. That does ease the pain from February. It’s still nice to think about that Daytona 500 ring, but it’s awesome. This is a great race. Coca-Cola being a partner of ours, a lot of the Ford guys are down here. This is a race that is a total team effort because the engine department has to do their job, the race car has to be good, and teammates helped us win, so it does ease the pain to answer your question. We’ll think about this one a lot more than we’ll think about the Daytona 500.”
WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD AT THIS TRACK AND AT TANDEM RACING? “When we first came down here my first year we finished fifth in the 500 and I thought, ‘Man, this is pretty easy. We can do this every time.’ We came back and we haven’t been able to do that since. We’ve had some top 10s and top 5s, but I think the biggest part is we’ve had good race cars. I’m very fortunate to drive the Ford engines. Doug Yates, Robert, and Jack have all done a nice job with our engine package where we’ve been able to run it to the limit and be aggressive, a little more so aggressive. I just don’t know. Sometimes it fits someone’s driving style. I hated this place the first time I came down here because I didn’t like that you could just hold it to the floor and ride around, but once I learned there was a strategy behind the racing, it’s actually some of the most fun racing that you’ll take part in, so I had a blast tonight. The race cars are good that I drive. I’ve been fortunate to have some good spotters that have coached me well. Jimmy Fennig was a great crew chief at the speedways and he helped us out a lot, and then Drew had done a good job fine-tuning and kind of fluffing and buffing on the cars to get that little extra little bit and that’s why we qualified so well – the details – and Drew takes care of that so I’ve been lucky to drive some good race cars here.”
ON THE FINAL RESTART DID YOU HAVE ANYONE TELLYOU TO STAY IN YOUR LANE? “Actually, I was on Matt Kenseth’s radio that last restart and his spotter mentioned it and I said, ‘You don’t have to tell me, so don’t even say it.’ So, yeah, that kind of lightened the mood. Everyone was so tense there at the end. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what’s gonna happen, if we’re gonna have another green-white-checkered. I thought we might be a little close on fuel, so, yeah, that’s one thing I did not have to be reminded of, but when you’re on the bottom, you don’t have to worry about that. I wasn’t gonna run in the grass.”
IS THAT WHY YOU PICKED THE BOTTOM? “I picked the bottom because Matt was third and he was gonna start behind me, so I wanted the 17 behind me. He was a great pusher. That Ford engine was fast and I knew that he would push me to the end and I wasn’t gonna take my left side tires off the yellow line.”
HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE? “If Jack will rent me a little space over at the shop, I’ve run out of room. I don’t have anything. No, I guess I’ll go back home and hang out tomorrow. I was planning on cutting some grass and cleaning up around the house tomorrow. I’ve got an appearance in Atlanta on Monday, so we’ve got to work Monday. I guess I’ll hang out. I don’t know, go over and see Drew or go have dinner somewhere and hang out. We’ll see what happens. I might not leave Daytona. I might just stay down here for a few days.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHAT IS THE STATUS CONTRACT-WISE WITH UPS AND WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR THE TEAM OFF OF CROWN ROYAL’S ANNOUNCEMENT? “Certainly we were hopeful that UPS will carry on in a meaningful regard with the sponsorship of the 6 car, but right now we are in negotiation. We don’t have an assurance that’s gonna be the case, but David has arrived at the upper echelon. He’s a winner now and he’s given a win to UPS and hopefully they’ll consider that as they think about the value of the program and what it means to all of their employees and what it means to their customers to have this association. It certainly means a lot to us, but to finally have David in the win column is a really big thing for us. He’s had several poles this year and he’s been close a number of times. We’ve been snakebit with these last five laps where the caution comes out and you take two tires, no tires, gas only, stay on the race track and all of our programs have not done as well as the others at making that judgment, so we’ve let several of them get away. Happily, we’ve got this one landed and it’ll be something that UPS can think about as they make their determination on what they’ll do next year.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER CONTINUED – WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND LATE WHEN SOME GUYS THOUGHT MATT MIGHT LEAVE YOU BECAUSE OF HOW THE CARS LINED UP? “I heard that on our radio, so I immediately went to Matt’s to hear if he was talking about that and he wasn’t, so I think that was maybe idle chit-chat on the spotter’s stand or something. I don’t think Matt had any indication of not going and helping us. We made a commitment a week ago or two weeks ago when Jimmy Fennig came in my office that we were gonna stick together through thick and thin if we could, and we showed that at the very beginning of the race. We were willing to drop back and pick up Matt from our qualifying spot and ride in the back if we had to or whatever it took. Matt’s a great teammate and no way after listening to him that it was going through his mind. I think that was just a what-if scenario.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY TIES IN RACING? “My grandfather, I never met him, but he owned a car. He never drove any, but he owned a car in the forties and fifties and drove here on the beach course. Jack Smith drove some races for him, so that ultimately is how my father and his brothers got around the race track at a young age, so they started racing some. He owned a bumper to bumper automotive repair shop, so they did a lot of the work for the local racers and was able to run some Nationwide races and Cup races and made some good friends along the way and that’s what ultimately what sparked my interested. Daytona is a special place for any racer. This is better than Indy. This is better than Sebring or any of those other big races that they have, so Daytona means a lot. Coming down here as a kid, going to the beach, going to the race track just kind of went hand-in-hand. The Daytona 500 is our biggest race of the year. Coming back here in July is the middle point of the year. The July Firecracker 400 is a big race, so to come back down here and win the Coke Zero edition and finally get into victory lane here in Daytona is a special place. That’s kind of the birthplace of NASCAR, so it’s neat to win here. Even though this race pays the same amount of points as winning Kentucky or New Hampshire or Pocono or any others, but it is a special race and I’m very fortunate to get our first win here.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHAT HAPPENED TO CARL’S CAR AND SHOULD ALL GUYS HAVE A COOL BOX? “We certainly will think about that. We’ll look at what happened to the car and think about what we could do to make him more comfortable. They knocked the crush panels out of the tub, sheetmetal that separates the exhaust and the things that are happening on the right side of the car from the passenger compartment or from the driver’s cockpit. That seal was broken by the contact he had with the right quarterpanel and until we got that fixed there was serious contamination inside the cockpit. When it got to the point of real serious discomfort for Carl, the crew chief, Bob Osborne, was monitoring it and they agreed together he would come down pit road and they would take however long it took to fix it. But whether there is something that can be used to clean the air better for him, I’m not sure. We’ll look into that and we’ll take that situation apart just as we do everything bad that happens at a race track for a race car. We’ll take it apart next week and we’ll come up with a determination if there’s something we can do that would make it safer for the driver. If there is, we’ll do it.” IS THERE ANYTHING FROM AN ENGINEERING STANDPOINT THAT CAN BE DONE TO THE CARS SO THEY AREN’T TWO-CAR DRAFTS? “If you fix the front and the back of the car so when they have contact there’s an inclined angle that would drive the rear wheels off the ground, that would stop it. It’s easy to stop it if NASCAR really wants to stop it. They organized the front and the rear vertical planes of the cars so that they would be conducive to push one another and they wouldn’t have that problem they had before. I thought in Daytona in February that we would be happier having these cars paired up two at a time and the drivers would be more in control of their circumstance and less likely to be involved in a wreck that wasn’t of their own problem, and I think that it’s about the same. I think when you come to these restricted tracks there’s such a premium for keeping your foot in the gas and to maintain your momentum that you’re inclined to not use reason sometimes and get out of the gas and separate yourself from the risk that would be there for you. But it’s exciting racing and Daytona and Talladega have both been known for the fast speeds and all the excitement that’s unique to those race tracks. We’ve got something now that I think is no less exciting than it’s been and no more hazardous nor less hazardous than what we had when we had a 30-car draft. I think that’s what we’ll have to deal with when we come to Daytona and Talladega.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – YOUR THROAT IS HOARSE. WERE YOU SCREAMING, CRYING. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? “I don’t know if I’ve got some water in my ear or champagne or something, but I feel like I’ve got something in my ear and I need to knock my head over a little bit. It’s like I hear myself echo – maybe it’s talking on the radio so much. I usually don’t talk this much during a race, so I haven’t heard myself talk this much. It’ll get better soon. Don’t worry about it.” HOW DEEP IS THE SENSE OF REDEMPTION FOR YOU? “To get that win would have felt great. If we would have won at Martinsville this year, I would have said, ‘Man, we’ve moved on past that Daytona race.’ But coming back here and to get that win here at Daytona is that extra little bit that I wanted, kind of to show the Daytona race track – ‘Here’s what we’ve got.’ So that makes it a little bit more special. I think a win anywhere on the circuit would have been great and we would have moved on and talked about it probably, but coming back here to Daytona, being able to run the same type of race we ran in February and learning from our mistake, not making a mistake. We had a couple of opportunities to do it on those last few restarts and I didn’t do it, so that’s gratifying that we were able to come back to Daytona and kind of prove to the race track that we’re better than that – that we can take you and we beat ‘em and it feels good.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR YOUNG DRIVERS. “We’re really excited about the way Ricky Stenhouse has run and, of course Trevor has run this year and David finally now winning a race. But David has been in a position to win a number of these races this year and it hasn’t been for lack of performance or lack of sound judgment on the way the car has been prepared, so it’s just a matter of time for that. But as far as the group of new drivers that are coming along, I think Ford is in very good shape with having a good cadre of young talent coming and if we can find sponsorship for them and keep the programs going, we’ll be able to really have a harvest in years to come.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL ANY REDEMPTION? “Of course. You want to be a winner and I was real fortunate right off the get-go to win a couple races, and then I probably had 34 or 35 races in a row where I felt like I failed quite a bit. I counted every one of them, and to come back and get a second opportunity – it’s something Jack told me from day one that I’d be up here when the time was right again, it’s been really nice coming over here with 10 races to go in the season last year. I felt like we gained some momentum and then working this year with David and the guys I think our mindset has gotten better throughout the year. We felt like we were a top 20 team to start the team and then a top 15 and 10 and now we sit here as winners, so I think that momentum keeps building and I definitely feel a little redemption.”
DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – DID YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION MATT WOULDN’T PULL OUT ON YOU AT THE END? “I had a little question. Matt’s kind of sneaky sometimes (laughing). I was just kind of watching a replay on ESPN as Drew was talking and it just worked out to where those guys jumped up on the outside and then another group jumped on the outside and we were three-wide and we talked about it earlier. You start moving around trying to block a run that’s coming and that leaves the bottom open and it kills your momentum. We only had two laps and I think we were just satisfied with staying on the bottom and whatever was gonna happen was gonna happen. When we came off of turn four, I really didn’t know where the other cars were at or how close they were. Matt keyed the radio and said, ‘I’m gonna stay with you,’ so I assumed he had someone on his outside. It’s not like Matt to just push and push and push and run second, but I think this is the first speedway race Matt’s finished this year, so he did tell me before the race that he wanted to first finish, so I’m glad he was able to come across the line in second. That’s cool for Ford to sweep the front finishing order here at Daytona here in July and February, and really says a lot for our team – that teamwork does win these races and we proved it tonight.’
YOU DON’T SEEM TOO EXCITED. YOU’RE SO CALM. “I guess that’s just my character. A lot of people when we won a Nationwide race a year or two ago they said, ‘Man, you don’t seem that happy.’ But I probably won’t go to sleep tonight. I’m gonna go back and watch some of the race and try to just stare at that trophy for a little while. I don’t get up and jump up and down and act crazy and foolish and I’m kind of already thinking about Kentucky a little bit. That’s an important race for us and now that we’ve got this win it lets a lot of pressure off in some sense that we finally got our first win at a points race here at Daytona, we’ve got a chance to make the chase, but now there’s even more pressure to go out and stay in that top 20 in points, to perform well at these upcoming races, so I’ll enjoy it. Maybe catch up with me tomorrow afternoon and we’ll be hanging out having a good time. But it’s still kind of sinking in that we’ve done it. When we get that trophy back and go see all my guys, I’m sure they’re tearing the car down in tech now that it’ll be pretty special.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WILL FUEL INJECTION HAVE ANY IMPACT ON HOW RACING WILL BE HERE IN FEBRUARY? “We’re gonna take the fuel injected engine as a group to Kentucky to test it next week and I’ll have a greater impression of what we’ve got to work with after that test and we see how it works. But I’m real excited about the McLaren decision that NASCAR made for the ECO, for the computer program, and I think Bosch is coming along to be the injector supplier – I hope that’s true. The wiring harnesses are pretty well figured out, so most of the hardware is determined. The calibrations are gonna be somewhat left to the teams to figure out what the air-fuel ratios are. You’re still gonna have an opportunity to burn the engines up if you want to, which makes me happy because I need to have that amount of risk in my life or decision-making that I can screw up and know how bad that’s gonna feel when that happens. But when we come back here, the throttle plate is pretty much like a carburetor. It is bolted in the same pattern as a carburetor and I haven’t heard specifically, but my expectation is we’ll have a throttle plate this is large like the one we’d use unrestricted for a carburetor and they’ll put a restrictor plate under it like we used for Daytona and Talladega. The indication is that the engines make about the same power with the same amount of air restriction through the throttle plates, and they make a bit less torque thinking they maybe don’t cool the air quite as much through the fuel being injected halfway down the airstream, rather than the carburetor and follow the air all the way down, so we don’t expect a performance difference and I’m sure that NASCAR will achieve the same kind of parity they’ve got with the carburetor, so I think it’ll be a non-issue. All the owners are gonna be a little lighter on their step because of what all this stuff is gonna cost, but, except for that, it’ll be pretty much the same as we’ve seen.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER CONTINUED – WHAT IS THE STRATEGY FOR THESE RACES? DAVID INTERJECTS: “I don’t think we understand it either.” DREW BEGINS: “Certain people want to go to the back. I think you see that. The Hendrick cars, they wanted to run up front for awhile and then when that first pit stop came they went to the back and the 42 and the 1 does that. There are certain drivers that like that. David and our partner tonight, Matt, they both like to be towards the front. They feel like if they’re in the front, then if the wrecks happen, they’re in front of them. I think there’s just as big a risk of being in the back and not being able to get to the front. Also, if you haven’t raced around the lead pack and raced for the lead and understand that, I think sometimes you can learn at lap 20 going for the lead something that might help you towards the end. So our plan all along was if we can see the front, we’re gonna try to stay there. As long as we don’t get too far back. There was one time tonight when we got shuffled, where there were seven or eight groups in front of us, all two-wide, we thought that was a little hairy so we fell back a little bit, but it didn’t take long for the two Fords. When they were wanting to go, they went right towards the front, so I think it’s a strategy amongst the drivers, whether they want to stay in the back or stay away from the wreck, or go to the front and race it out.”