Ford Sweeps Front Row at Michigan Qualifying

Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth will start on the front row for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 after a stellar qualifying effort Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Ford Sweeps Front Row at Michigan Qualifying

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) – “I don’t think that could have gone any better. I tell you what. This team has needed it. We have great cars and I can’t say enough for Matt Puccia and this 16 team. They work really hard and I am proud of them. All of a sudden Matt (Kenseth) is becoming a hell of a qualifier. He makes fun of himself when he gets up there and says that the throttle sticks. What a great job for the whole Ford camp. I want to thank Ford for all of their support and I know this means a lot to them here in Michigan to have this thing on the front. We have Pure Michigan on the car this weekend and we are missing 3M but we are going to have dinner with them in Montreal here in a little bit. I am just so proud of my guys because they have been working so hard. Matt Puccia is a great crew chief and he is really focused on these cars. I can’t wait for Sunday.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Kroger Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) – “I think that I would have had a shot at the pole if I wouldn’t have looked up at the big screen down there and watched Greg’s lap. I saw his lap time and saw that it was really fast. I got loose here in the green and overdrove turn one to make sure I kept the car tight enough and overdrove it a little bit. I was pretty far over my head. I was glad to get a lap that good that had a ton of speed. I want to thank Kroger for sponsoring our car, I am pretty excited about that. It has flames on it so DW should be happy. All Roush front row, so it was a good lap for us and I look forward to Sunday.”

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 22nd)   “We were a little bit loose, just a little bit. We leaned on Matt Kenseth quite a bit and that helped us a ton. We picked up a lot of time. I really appreciate his help there. We have to be able to put the throttle down come Sunday and not be so loose. The good part about this race track is that if we are fast we will be able to pass people and we will be good. I am excited about it. I love racing here. Even if we start 30th it is okay because you can still win here if you are fast.”

TREVOR BAYNE, No. 21 JDRF Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford Fusion (Qualified 20th)  “That was a pretty good qualifying run. I think we will sit pretty good and it could be a good weekend for us. I am so excited to be driving this race car designed by seven-year-old Katie. She designed it herself and we got to make her dreams come true by putting it on the real race car and bringing it out to the race. It is an awesome weekend for us.  I think we will have something come Sunday. It was better for qualifying this time than last time and I think we can learn for the race trim with that. Our race trim is totally different but we will wait and see about practice tomorrow. I think our car is really fast and it ran good at Charlotte with Stenhouse driving it, so I think it will run good here.”

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion (Qualified 16th)  “I did the same thing here in the spring. I got loose getting up to speed coming to the green flag and I just spooked myself and pinched it off into three and I did the same bloody thing this time. I am mad at myself. We had another half a tenth or so in the car. I will take that because it will be a decent spot.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 7th)  “I would give myself probably an A- on that lap. It could have been a little better. It looks like we will wind up in the top five or six. We have a good car here and it is good to see our Roush teammates fast. I can’t wait for the race on Sunday.”

JJ YELEY, No. 55 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion (Qualified 31st)  “It was a good conservative lap. We can’t get what we want to get. A 90% lap is always a safe thing to do. My one and two I left a bunch on the table. We struggled with the car being tight and this is one of those places it is really easy to over drive. I made a nice conservative lap that was fast enough to make the race and hopefully we get in the position to be locked in and start going for some faster laps.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion (Qualified 27th)  “That was a good lap. I feel like this is one of our better tracks. This is the first time me and my crew chief get to go to a track for the second time together and we have a good notebook to look at coming here. We had really good speed right off the truck and I am pretty happy with it. The car was a little on the free side but that was the fastest we went all day and we got in the show really good. I am excited about working on race trim tomorrow and having a good race Sunday.”

ANDY LALLY, No. 71 Interstate Moving Ford Fusion (Qualified 38th)  “We have been a little too tight in the middle getting on the splitter on both ends in practice. The guys made a good call and got it off the splitter, just off the splitter but I rolled some big speed into one and we were just a little too free. It was fine carrying the speed through the middle but I couldn’t get back to full power as soon as I wanted to. I could get some power and had to wait a little longer and I think that will make the difference in a few spots here. Power wise our Ford is ripping down these straightaways here. We are locked in the field this week and that is a huge weight off our shoulders.”

GREG BIFFLE/MATT KENSETH POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE
GREG BIFFLE:  “I tell you what, Matt Puccia and the guys did a great job with this race car. We weren’t sure what we were going to do, come here in qualifying trim or race trim or what. We decided on qualifying trim today. The car was really fast off the truck. We were wondering what we were going to do the rest of practice. The car drove good and we didn’t have a lot to work on. That was a good thing. I had to get out of the gas a little off of two and thought that might be my demise. Normally a driver can pick out one spot on the track where he gave up a little and that could cost you or could not. I got really good in three and four and was good in the flat.”

ARE WE GETTING TOO FAST HERE?  “It is pretty fast but where we are right now, the one good thing about this race track and that is not to say that we don’t need to improve facilities and repave and move on, the good thing is that is only for one lap. The next lap is three tenths or two tenths slow, then another two tenths. Six laps in or so, we are running a second slower per lap. That is what makes this place so much fun and so fun to race at. It is the falloff. If it was that fast every lap for the whole tire run, then it would be pretty fast. That qualifying lap, ask any driver, we are holding our breath. That is a pretty fast lap, but speed slows down right away. Even the second lap you saw guys were three-tenths slower.”

YOU NEED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS. IS THIS A GOOD FIRST STEP?  “Yeah, it certainly is. It is a big moral boost for the team to come here and run as good as we did off the truck and get the pole. We have to have a win to get in the Chase, that is obvious. Here, Bristol and Atlanta are good tracks for us. I think this is probably our best and this may be our best opportunity. Here or Atlanta. This is a huge deal for us and huge momentum for us going into Sunday.”

WHERE ARE YOU AT WITH BORIS SAID?  “I don’t like Boris either (laughter). We said our peace and that is it. Kudos to him, because he is telling his side of the story. He says I was upset because I qualified bad and was two laps down and was mad because I raced him too hard last year. That is all incorrect. He wrecked me last year, didn’t race me too hard. He can race me as hard as you want. Matt and I race hard together all the time. I hate the person who says, ‘oh, the guy is racing me too hard’. There is no such thing as racing to hard. For starters, we cleared that up. I don’t have a problem with racing too hard. I have a problem with wrecking people. Then he ran me off the track in the carousel. That is the only thing I was upset with Boris about. Our deal is over with. We had our differences on the race track, that one instance, I told him I wasn’t happy with it on the race track and then I didn’t go around him the rest of the day.  We talked about that on the phone and it is over.”

NO DOUBTH ROUSH HAS GREAT HORSEPOWER, BUT ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE FOR SUNDAY?  “Considering I have run out of gas about every race this year (laughter). No, you know, these things always end up being, always seem like fuel mileage races. Last year we led the most laps here and got caught on the last stop of the day. Last week all of us ran out of gas. Definitely it is an issue and when you make a lot of power, it takes fuel to make the power. Our engines are good and make a lot of power. Our fuel mileage is getting better. It could be a fuel mileage race though, but all of them can be.”

NEXT YEAR YOU GO TO FUEL INJECTION, CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT AND ON YOUR TESTING SCHEDULE?  “I drove the fuel injection car in Kentucky at a test and I thought it drove real similar to our cars now. It drove much better through the garage area and down pit road. That low RPM the car responded better. I don’t know how it is going to start hot and if you run it out of gas, all those kinds of things. I do know they have done a tremendous amount of testing and somebody is maybe going to have a leg up on the competition between manufacturers when we roll it out next year. Some guys will maybe be better than others, but we will have to wait and see.”

YOU HAVE HAD A LOT OF GOOD QUALIFYING RUNS IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. ARE YOU SURPRISED IT HAS BEEN THAT LONG SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN ON A POLE?  “Yeah, you know it takes the right combination and right qualifying draw which is now set by practice time and takes a perfect lap and weather, everything plays a factor. For me to get a pole all the stars have to line up and they did today. I just looked at it and Matt was almost a tenth better than me in three and four but it looked like he was scared to push the gas down. That is why I am up front.”

MATT KENSETH: “It was a good lap. We had a lot of speed and honestly I wish I wouldn’t have watched Greg’s lap and saw his lap time. If I hadn’t tried so hard I might have had a shot at it. That is pretty fast. I was loose coming to the green and drove into hard too hard on purpose to make sure my car stayed loaded up and tight enough and got in there a car length too hard. Other than that, it was a good lap for us. It had a lot of speed and since we got here, it is the same car we ran last time, which was real fast. Hopefully we can drive it a little better for Sunday and be up there again.”

NO DOUBTH ROUSH HAS GREAT HORSEPOWER, BUT ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE FOR SUNDAY?  “I am not worried about it yet. You worry about it Sunday after if you can run, make up a number, 40 laps on fuel, and there is a caution with 44 to go, then you worry about it. Until then I won’t worry about it. Jimmy and I have talked about it a lot and we both agree that racing is about going as fast as we can go and we bring the fastest cars we know how to build to the race track and ask Doug for the most power that he can possibly build us. We are going to go out and race hard and hope we have a fast car that can compete on speed. Hopefully it plays out like a normal race and we can race it that way. If circumstances work out that way with fuel mileage then maybe we will get beat, but we are
going to keep trying to go fast.”

YOUR CAR HAS A NEW SPONSOR THIS WEEKEND, IS THAT A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? COULD THAT LEAD TO A BIGGER, LONGER TERM THING?  “I am 100-percent honest when I say I have no idea. Crown sold off a certain amount of races for this year and this is one of the races they sold off. I think there are a couple more coming up but I can’t remember which. Crown sold off some races and this was one of them, so I am not sure how they are making out for next year to be honest with you. Jimmy and I have had our heads in set-up books to see how we can make a run here at the end of the year and hopefully secure a spot in the Chase and win a championship. That is all we have been thinking about.”

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