Keselowski Grabs First Victory in the Chase to the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship

Brad Keselowski celebrates his victory at Chicagoland Motor Speedway
Brad Keselowski celebrates his victory at Chicagoland Motor Speedway

Penske Racing gives Ford its 1th win of the season, but the first at Chicagoland Speedway 

Brad showed patience and got his timing right on this Sunday afternoon
Brad showed patience and got his timing right on this Sunday afternoon

Joliet, Illinois (Sept. 14, 2014) – Brad Keselowski won for the second consecutive time, and the fifth overall this season, on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway to advance to the Challenger round of the 2014 Chase.

Brad Keselowski cements his position in the next round of the Chase
Brad Keselowski cements his position in the next round of the Chase

This win puts Keselowski and Ford Racing at the front of the pack and in control of their own destiny heading to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 21. Presently, he’s just seven points ahead of second place racer Jeff Gordon, nine ahead of his teammate Joey Logano in third, and 13 ahead of Kevin Harvick in the Chase for the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship trophy. You can check the official standings for the Sprint Cup series here.

Brad is pumped,  but ready for the next stage of his drive to become the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion
Brad is pumped, but ready for the next stage of his drive to become the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion

With only two weeks remaining in the first round of the Chase, several drivers are on the verge of being eliminated, and need to put their foot down on the accelerator. Ryan Newman finished 15th at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, after starting second on the grid, and needs to pick up the pace this Sunday. AJ Allmendinger sits five points outside the cutline, and after finishing 22nd last week, will need to find a path through the pack and finish high in the standings to keep his hopes for the second round of the Chase alive. Greg Biffle sits nine points behind the cutline and after an average start and 23rd place finish at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, is expected to let his horses do the talking this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Sports History Today was on hand after the race to listen to Brad Keselowski talk about his win at Chicagoland on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

How you were able to win? “I am not really sure what to say. I don’t really know what happened I just know we got to the lead. There was traffic and I was just digging and in the zone. The recorder was turned off so I don’t remember what happened. I had my head down doing all I could do. We had a great Miller Lite Ford Fusion that I knew from the start would be good but man it was really awesome the last few runs. We really dialed it in and the 2 crew did a excellent job. What a day. Man, I am still pumped.”

Starting 25th on the starting grid, how much patience did it take to make it to the front and win? “You have to be so patient. The cars in traffic are all over the track and it is very easy to spin out on your own and you have to pace yourself. I don’t know what to say. I am so thankful to be here. I want to say thanks because I know the fans can hear me. I saw all of them standing on their feet when we made the pass for the lead and that was awesome. Thank you fans for being here and for your support. What a great day. God that was sweet.”  How does it feel to make it to the next round of the Chase? “Awesome.”

Give our readers a few comments about the way the race played out for you today. “I guess you couldn’t ask for a better way to start the Chase other than starting up front.  Just phenomenal with the way things played out.  I don’t know if we were the fastest car.  There were some runs where I thought we were really fast and then some runs where I thought the 4 and the 42 were really fast.  It was so hard to tell.  Whoever had the cleanest air was really at such an advantage. But towards the middle part of the race, that’s when we lost track position.  That was something that we all thought was awful at the time, but I guess it worked out.  Then from there we just fought, just climbed and clawed. I think we got up to eighth, and Paul made the call or decision to pit a little bit late.  It worked out perfectly.  We were able to be on pit road right as the yellow came out.  That put us from eighth to fourth, I think.  We were able to take advantage with that on the restarts, get up to third. I just saw a hole and I went for it.  The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do.  It just opened a hole.  I didn’t know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try it.  I tried it, it did.  That got us into the lead. Even that was going to be close.  I think the 42 was quite a bit faster as the long run went.  We got that yellow.  Things evened out.  We were able to take advantage from there.”

Everything didn’t go well with the car today, but despite this you seemed to be confident throughout the race. Was there ever a time during the race you thought things were about to fall apart, or were you confident throughout the competition? “I knew we were going to need to catch a break to get to Victory Lane from there.  That was going to be tough.  We did catch a small one.  But I was really surprised how much speed we had to get as close as we did to the front there.  That was amazing. I think we drove up to eighth.  We restarted 16th or 17th in position, but probably had to be 30th or something in car order.  So to get by that many cars, get close to the front, was really an incredible run, and put us in position to capitalize when that yellow came out.  That was something that all came together. From there, I knew once we got to fourth with 30 or 40 to go, it was going to be about executing the restarts.  We had an okay one the first time where we just really held serve.  The outside groove was very, very difficult to get a good restart in with wheel spin.  Then we had a great one there the last one.  There were three of them.  I can’t remember there were two or three of them.  The last one, once we had gotten the lead.  We just put it all together, and that was very, very special.”

Give our readers an idea of what this win means in terms of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship? “It means a lot.  My boss would say don’t read your own press clippings.  I want to enjoy the moment but I still know there’s nine weeks to go.  We have a bit of a hall pass for the next two, which I’m very appreciative.  But those other seven, nobody cares that we won Chicago, nobody cares that we won Richmond or the other three races.  It keeps resetting.  You have to reset yourself.  You have to keep developing the car and pushing as a team, whether it’s on pit road, the car handling, spec, whatever it might be, or driver tactics. So I want to be thankful for today, but I know there’s a long ways to go.  Today was about as much of a statement as you can make on a week one with ten weeks to go.  I don’t want to understate it but certainly don’t want to overstate it.  It’s a hard balance.”

What does this race mean for you and the team? Is this win a road sign the other racers need to heed? “I think kind of like I was saying before, it’s a statement for this week.  After we get done with Dover, everything resets.  I still don’t think we were the fastest car.  It was probably pretty even between the 4 and the 42 and maybe the 24.  It was about the clean air and restarts. But I’m still very thankful for what we were able to do today and we got to keep pushing.”

How is this win going to change the way you race this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? Will you be willing to let it all loose, knowing it doesn’t really matter what you do here, or will you play it conservative and save the car for later races? “I don’t know.  I guess that’s something we have to sit down and discuss as a group.  I can’t really say I’ve thought about that in detail. I think there’s potential with people.  There’s potential with pieces we might be worried about from a reliability standpoint, things of that nature that come to mind. I don’t know what those opportunities are.  A guy like Paul, Travis, Tim Cindric, they know that best and could probably answer that question better, but we still have a lot to talk through and work on.  Certainly don’t want to lose focus on the seven races after that, as well.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup series action continues this weekend on the pavement at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Brad Keselowski will be on hand to entertain and make a run for his third consecutive Sprint Cup series win. Always willing to talk to fans and let it all go on the race track, Brad will be happy to show you his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, and sign an autograph.

If you can’t make it to Loudon this Sunday for the running of the Sylvania 300 on the pavement of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. ESPN’s Motorsports This Week is airing a live telecast of the second race of the 2014 Chase on NASCAR Countdown starting at 1 p.m. ET. The green flag will drop around 2:15 p.m., so you have time to grab a few snacks and get ready for the fun!

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Logano Wins Third Sprint Cup Race of the Season at Bristol

His first win at Bristol Motor Speedway

Joey looked fast and ready to battle for the Chase in a few weeks time
Joey Logano edges ahead of his teammate Brad Keselowski with 44 laps to go at the race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014

Bristol, Tennessee – Joey Logano took the lead at Bristol on Saturday night in his No. 22 Ford Fusion race car with just 44 laps to go and then won the race to the finish line in amazing fashion. This first win at Bristol Motor Speedway cements his position in the race to the Sprint Cup Chase in two weeks time and serves notice to the other drivers with three wins this season that he’s definitely ready to battle for the championship.

Currently, the three teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski also have three race wins this Sprint Cup season. It appears the main battle for the Sprint Cup Championship for 2014 is going to be headed by the three drivers for Hendrick Motorsports and two for Penske Racing.

Joey Logano served notice on this night that he's ready to battle for the Sprint Cup Championship
Joey Logano raises his hands in victory on Saturday night August 23, 2014 at Bristol Motor Speedway

During the after race interview Joey Logano said he wants this win to say one thing, “That we can win the thing. What a Shell/Pennzoil Ford there. When I woke up this morning I wasn’t sure if we were a winning car or not, but Todd Gordon is good salesman.  He pretty much sold me into thinking we had a winning car and we made some small adjustments on it all night and got our third win of the year.  What a year we’re having.  I’m having so much fun.  The past six or seven races have been unbelievable.  We’ve been running up front and it’s just been so much fun.  I’ve got to thank Shell, obviously Ford, Sprint and everyone that helps out at Penske – Discount Tire, Hertz, Auto Trader.  This is like one of the three biggest races of the year, I feel like – the Bristol Night race – and to have this in the record books with your name on it is really, really cool.”  HOW IMPORTANT WAS PATIENCE TONIGHT?  “Important and not important.  On the restart there when we were sixth with tires I said, ‘I’ve got to capitalize right now.’  So I went as hard as I could, raced the 20 really hard and got everybody I could and then I was trying to keep up.  The 20 was really fast and then there at the end I had something going wrong.  I don’t know if it was the brakes or a hub failing in the rear, but it started vibrating really bad and getting really loose.  I’m like, ‘Oh, come on.  A couple more laps, a couple more laps.’  So of course there’s always added drama at the end that you don’t want, but patience didn’t come into play and then when I was racing the 24 there at the end it did come into play.  We were able to make there at the end.”

“I feel like the Bristol night race is maybe the third or fourth biggest race of the year,” Logano said. “Just the atmosphere before the race, if it doesn’t pump you up, nothing does. It’s just the baddest mamma jamma race track ever built.”

 

The full race result for the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 are below.

  1. Joey Logano, Ford

  2. Brad Keselowski, Ford

  3. Matt Kenseth, Toyota

  4. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

  5. Kurt Busch, Chevrolet

  6. Ricky Stenhouse. Jr., Ford

  7. Carl Edwards, Ford

  8. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet

  9. Paul Menard, Chevrolet

  10. Greg Biffle, Ford

Greg Biffle Talks About the Chase

Greg looked pretty good during the practice session
Greg looked pretty good during the practice session

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint series will be at Dover International Speedway. Ford racing fans are looking forward to another great run on this track for Greg Biffle, who always seems to run well at this venue.

Greg Biffle is currently fifty in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings as we head to Dover International Speedway this weekend for the AAA 400. We asked him if he would drop by the infield media center after his practice session to talk about his chances of driving his way to the Chase championship in the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion.

Greg looked pretty fast on the track during the practice session
Greg looked pretty fast on the track during the practice session

What are your thoughts on the race this weekend?”

Greg Biffle “It’s been a great track for us, although as of late we’ve struggled a little bit here as an organization.  We’re looking forward to turning that around like we’ve been able to do at Richmond and some of the short tracks we’ve been a lot better on as of late.  We targeted this place to be a place we need to improve at and I feel that so far we’ve been a little bit better than we had been in the spring time here.  That gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend and what we’re able to do with the car tomorrow.”

“Some think the Chase is really a three-man race this year. What are your thoughts on making it a four-man race? You always seem to have success during the Chase.”

Biffle “The Chase, from what I understand, is made up of 10 races and to be two races into the Chase and say it’s a three-man race already, to me, seems silly as to why somebody would want to put themselves in that position and say it’s a three-man race.  Obviously, you don’t have anything on the line.  It’s not like we’re making a wager in Vegas that it’s a three-man race.  It’s somebody’s opinion and everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I can’t imagine with eight races to go that somebody would be willing to say, ‘Oh, this is a three-man race.’  Take for instance last week, we finished third and moved up six spots in the points to fifth.  I don’t know how one would say it’s a three-man race.  Now, if Kenseth goes on and wins the title does that mean it’s a three-man race or does that mean it’s a one-man race?  I don’t know.  I just think there are more than three cars in this thing right now.  Now, if we get past Talladega and there are four races to go or three races to go, I could see that.  But they could break for three races in a row and maybe not even go to Vegas and not even be in the top 10.  So I’d say it’s a little early is all I was getting at.  I wouldn’t be the one putting my name on the line to say there are only three cars in this hunt right now.  I wasn’t necessarily saying that for the 16 team.  I wasn’t making the case that it’s not a three-man race because of us, I wouldn’t count out Carl Edwards or any of those other guys that are right there in the hunt.  Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, I wouldn’t be counting those guys out just yet is all I was saying.  I wasn’t saying it just because of our case of one race we finished third and moved to fifth in points, that wasn’t the point I was making.”

“Ford racing hasn’t won a Chase in quite awhile. Are there any common reasons you can think of that would have caused this during the last decade? Do you feel a lot of added pressure, because of this, to win the championship this year?”

Biffle “I can’t really answer why we haven’t won a title.  You look at Carl and Carl tied for the points championship.  It doesn’t get any close than that and in 2005 we finished under the old point system 35 points behind Tony with a  major hiccup with three races to go.  Potentially, with not much in history changed, we’ve got two championships right there.  Some teams have probably done a little better job than we have and you look at Matt Kenseth for example.  He’s got seven wins on the season.  That might indicate some of the reasons why they’ve got more championships than we’ve got.  We’ve still got a little bit more work to do.  We’ve come a tremendously long way and I think we’re fairly competitive right now.”

There have been people who have suggested you Ford racers haven’t always garnered the attention other drivers get, even though you have showed pretty good, finishing in the top five year after year. Do you feel these comments are warranted?

Biffle “I think that’s just historically the way it’s been.  You talk about the guys that are having success and how great it is.  That’s sort of been the way it is.  Am I surprised they’re not talking about Carl?  A little bit.  Am I surprised they’re not talking about the 16?  Not really because we tend to slide a little bit under the radar all the time anyway, so it doesn’t bother me.  It gives you motivation to do well and compete every week and try to get what you can.  Like I always said before, if you’re winning races or you win the championship, they have to talk about you so put yourself in that position – put yourself in the position Matt is and they’re gonna be talking about you.”

Would you rather be in the position Matt was in? Can you think of any particular reason Matt didn’t have consistent success during his run with Roush?

Biffle “That’s a hard one.  I couldn’t pinpoint any particular reason why, but the other thing is I don’t mind flying a little under the radar.  It’s a little less pressure sometimes.”

How does it feel to have a teammate in the Chase? What things do you share with each other? How do you compete against each other?

“Carl and I have a lot of respect for each other.  We had an incident earlier in the season at Michigan where the whole organization sat down and I think we understand each other and appreciate each other’s abilities a lot more since that meeting and we kind of do what we can to help one another that doesn’t hurt yourself and that’s what came out of that meeting in Sonoma after the Michigan race and that’s the way we’ve really handled it since then.  Carl and I are parked next to each other in the garage and we’re talking about our cars and competition and how our car is in race trim versus qualifying trim, so we share everything and try to help one another with what we can.”

The Second Legends Million Race is Set

CONCORD, N.C. (June 17, 2011) – The second annual Legends Million

returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway Aug. 1 and 2. The largest grassroots

race in history will once again offer the largest Legend Car and Bandolero

purse of the year, as drivers do battle on the speedway’s frontstretch

quarter-mile oval.

Registration for the Legends Million begins today and is scheduled

to close on July 18. The purse structure for the 2011 Legends Million will

be prorated, based on total cars registered, so competitors are encouraged

to register early.

“As the car count goes up, the purse goes up,” said Don Hawk, vice

president of business affairs, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. “We’re asking

competitors to get their registration in as early as possible so we can get

the purse locked in.”

In the inaugural Legends Million last year, Kannapolis, N.C., native

Daniel Hemric was victorious, taking home an unprecedented $250,000. More

than 300 drivers from 36 states and two foreign countries, ranging from 12

to 72 years old, registered for the one-of-a-kind Legend Car race.

“These are the race cars that launched the careers of NASCAR drivers

like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Kyle

Busch,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor

Speedway. “The Legends Million is a great opportunity for fans to come to

the track and see the future stars of NASCAR compete in the largest Legend

Car race in the world. It’s also an excellent opportunity for young drivers

to get noticed and hopefully take their career to the next level.”

Registration links are available online at

http://www.charlottmotorspeedway.com and at http://www.uslegendscars.com. The cost to

register is $500. Competitors who purchase a new Legend Car from U.S. Legend

Cars International will receive free entry into the Legends Million.

Competitors participating in the Legends Million are registered in

one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or the Legends

Million, which is open to all drivers. Each division will run heat races and

an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand

finale of the two-day event.

Competitors will complete time trials to determine their starting

position in the heat races. Drivers will then progress to B-Mains based on

their finishing position in the heats. The starting lineup for each A-Main

will consist of heat race winners and the first-place finishers from the

B-Mains. A total of 30 competitors will race in the Legends Million

A-Feature event, which will be 100 laps with a 15-minute break at lap 50.

Bandolero Beginner Bandit, Bandit and Outlaw drivers will also have

the opportunity to compete in a Bandolero Triple Crown event, with heat lap

and feature events spanning both days.

The Legends Million is open to all Legend Car competitors, 12 years

of age or older and is not restricted by division. All minors 17 and younger

must complete a minor waiver, which is available for download at

http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/waivers.

For additional information on the Legends Million, visit

http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events

department at (704) 455-3205. For more information about U.S. Legend Cars

International and Legend Cars, visit http://www.uslegendscars.com or call U.S.

Legend Cars International’s headquarters at (704) 455-3896.

Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at

http://www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at

http://www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.

-30-

Listen to What the Ford Drivers are Saying About the Pepsi MAX 400

 

As mentioned above, Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal
Black Ford Fusion, has the most Top 10 finishes among all drivers at
Auto Club Speedway with 12.  Kenseth, who also has three wins at the
track, spoke about his success here before today’s practice.

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion – DO YOU THINK
THERE IS SOME SORT OF ETIQUETTE BETWEEN CHASERS AND NON-CHASERS,
LOOKING BACK ON LAST WEEK’S BUSCH-REUTIMANN ISSUE?  “I didn’t really
see what went down last week, so I can’t comment on that, but, in my
opinion, I think you race the same all year.  I think you should race
everybody the same whether they’re in the chase or not in the chase.
I think you try to show people respect all year because everybody has
the same right to be out there, whether they’re first in points or
last in points.”  THAT BEING SAID, ARE THERE CERTAIN PEOPLE ON THE
TRACK THAT YOU’RE MORE AWARE OF AND TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM BECAUSE YOU
FEEL SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN?  “No.  I race the same all year,
honestly, no matter where you are in the points.  If it came down to
the last week or something like that and you’re the point leader by a
bunch, you’re probably gonna be a little bit more careful, but, other
than that, as competitive as it is I think you race as hard as you can
all year.  Everybody has the same right to be out there.  Everybody is
out there racing for wins and have their own particular
responsibilities.”  AS A CHASER DO YOU WORRY ABOUT SOMETIMES RUBBING
FENDERS WITH A NON-CHASER, KNOWING THEY COULD POSSIBLY RUIN YOUR
CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES?  “I don’t want to ruin any race.  No matter where
you are in the points they’re all big races.  I think you go out there
and you’re gonna race whatever your style is all the time.  I don’t
think that really changes.  You still have to race hard all the time
because it’s so competitive that you can’t just go out and think about
not knocking a fender off.  You go out there and think about trying to
get to the front.”  DO YOU CONSIDER THIS THE KIND OF TRACK THAT CAN
HELP YOU GET BACK UP IN THE POINTS?  “Where we are, we’ve got to gain
some significant points on the leader every week to get back in it and
have a realistic shot.  I think our performance has been picking up a
little bit lately, we just have to get a whole race put together.
We’ve been struggling with that a little bit.  There were times last
week where I thought we were very competitive but we didn’t finish it
off.  This has been a pretty good track for us in the past, so,
hopefully we can be competitive from the time we get on the track this
morning all the way through Sunday when we’re done and get a good
finish.  So that’s really what I’m more focused on is just trying to
get back up with the leaders and be competitive so we can get in a
really good position to win some races.”
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES    Pepsi MAX 400, Page 2
October 8, 2010 Auto Club Speedway

MATT KENSETH CONTINUED — IS THERE A SPECIFIC POINT IN THE RACE WHERE
YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO IMPROVE?  “Our adjustments have just not been
good enough to keep up with the track for whatever reason.  Last week,
the worst we ran the whole race was our last run and you can’t do that
because you’re not gonna get the finishes.  Lately, there have been a
lot of long, green-flag runs at the end and you’ve got to have your
car handling right and do the right things at the end of the race.  On
the last pit stop we came out ahead of Jimmie Johnson and he finished
second and we finished seventh without a caution, so we just haven’t
been doing the right things to keep up on whatever it is – track
conditions or adjustments.  That’s probably my fault for not knowing
what I need for adjustments.  I’m trying to give them the best
feedback I can and hope that we do the right things on the car in the
pits to get it running better.”  WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO DO WELL AT
CHARLOTTE?  “Track position has been really important there since the
introduction of this car with the spoiler and that pavement.  The
pavement has a lot of grip and even though the track gets pretty wide,
it’s a real fast track and kind of hard to pass so track position is
real important.  You’ve got to be in position the last couple of
stops.”  WHAT’S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FALL AND SPRING
RACE THERE?  “I don’t think there’s much of a difference.”  WHAT IS IT
GOING TO TAKE FOR ANYBODY TO BEAT THE 48?  “You’ve got to prove you
can beat them.  I’ve said it for five years, they’re the best team out
there and somebody has to beat them and knock them down before you can
say they’re not the best team.  Everybody says, ‘Oh, they don’t have
momentum.  They’re not running as good.’  Well, as soon as somebody
shows they can beat them, I’ll believe it.”  WHAT TRACK ARE YOU
WORRIED ABOUT THE MOST OF THE TRACKS LEFT?  “Honestly, for me I worry
about all of them.  I’ve really just been focused on Fontana this
weekend and then trying to get back on track here and get a good
finish.”  IS THE FR9 ENGINE COMING ON AT THE RIGHT TIME?  “I think the
engine has been helping a little bit.  I think there’s still some room
for improvement and Doug knows that – everybody knows that – because
we’ve only been working on it for six months or a year, whereas we
worked on that old engine forever.  I think it’s certainly an
advantage and it’s better than what we had, plus they keep getting it
better.”  DO YOU THINK IT WILL RUN PARTICULARLY WELL HERE IN FONTANA?
“I hope so.  Fontana and Michigan are big horsepower race tracks, but
they’re also big handling race tracks as well.  It’s real similar to
Michigan, so if you perform well there, hopefully you’ll perform okay
here.”

Ford Racers Talk About the Pepsi MAX 400

       Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has a pair of wins
this season, including last week at Kansas Speedway.  The win allowed
Biffle to move within 85 points of leader Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series point standings.  He spoke with reporters after
Friday’s practice session.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – HOW HAVE THINGS GONE SO FAR?
“I’m certainly really excited about coming off a good week last week
and the car is fast right off the truck again – good in race practice
and we switched to qualifying practice and I think we ended up in the
top five, so it looks the same as last weekend so far.  It looks like
we’re gonna have a decent qualifying run, although we’ve got to back
it up on the race track now.  We’ll see what happens here in a little
bit, but I feel really good about this race track.  I like it here.
We run well on this race track and I just can’t wait for Sunday and
can’t wait for qualifying, hopefully get a good lap and look forward
to the race.”  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAVING ONLY ONE CALIFORNIA
RACE NEXT YEAR?  “Obviously I’m not real excited about that.  This is
probably one of our best race tracks that we race at, so getting cut
down to one time – me personally – it’s gonna hurt.  I’ve got a lot of
family here and get back to the west coast a little bit.  I’ve got
friends and family who come from Washington and Oregon, where I grew
up.  I see a lot of people here I used to race with and fans, so it
gives all the west coasters a chance to come and visit this race
track.  So I think it has a pretty good draw from a lot of different
states.  As far as that goes, one is the personal side of it. I really
enjoy coming to Southern California and get to see everybody, but two,
I run really good here so that’s kind of a double thing for me.  I
guess the bright side of it is, if there’s a positive, is at least we
get to come here once a year.  Unfortunately, we’re not gonna get to
come twice.”  DO YOU THINK THE FR9 IS COMING ON AT THE RIGHT TIME AND
WHY OR WHY NOT?  “I was hoping that this was gonna happen.  It was
kind of ironic that the FR9 engine came in right as Ford had struggled
for so long.  We really struggled with our cars.  Our engines have
always been great and made great power and been reliable, so it was
like, ‘When are we ever gonna get our cars turned around and get our
cars running better and be more competitive?’  And right as we did
that, we were integrating the FR9 engine into the program, so it sort
of makes it look like the FR9 engine is really our saving grace in the
whole thing, and that’s part of the piece of the puzzle, but it’s not
as big as what some people from the outside would look at that don’t
know a lot about the sport.  They say, ‘Oh, they’ve got their new
engine.  Now they’re winning races and really competing well.’  So
really, where the turnaround was, if you look back at our stats, was
Chicago for all Roush Fenway cars.  The RPM cars had outrun us for the
better part of the season, so we kind of switched to more of their
suspension package in Chicago and I think Carl has three second-place
finishes then, I’ve got two wins and was running second when the
engine expired at Chicago that very race, so, really, that was kind of
our turnaround race.  We really turned our program around and the
engine came on board, so with the two combination, it certainly made
us a ton better.  Some of the things about the engine, it makes a
little bit better mid-range power, which the passing takes place from
the center of the corner to the corner exit.  When you put the gas
down, the guy whose car handles the best and puts the gas down the
earliest is normally the guy that will make the pass, but also that’s
where you need the engine to have its most power.  So this engine does
that a little bit better and then the cooling package, we’ve really
caught up to all the other manufacturers on our cooling package.  It’s
a little bit more efficient, so we’re able to match the tape on the
front of the car as the other guys, so those two things – and it’s got
the lower center of gravity.  It is a little heavier than the old
engine just because we had to make our engine a little bit longer to
match the other manufacturers, so it has plusses and minuses to it as
far as what it does.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — ARE YOU FEELING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH IT NOW
AND CAN PUSH THE LIMITS MORE?  “Yeah, I definitely do, especially
after last week because we definitely tested it last week.  The engine
was on the chip for three-quarters of that race from just past the
flag stand all the way to the corner.  The engine shop said, ‘Make
sure you don’t run this engine on the chip.  We don’t want it running
on the rev chip.  Run it right before it.’  When you start making it
miss on cylinders it gets angry inside with all the parts and pieces.
Of course, we listened to them and then ran it on the chip for
three-quarters of the day and the thing lived the whole time.  I got
preliminary reports back that everything looked good in the engine –
the valvetrain looked good, everything looked good – so maybe in the
future we can get another 100 RPM and get the blessing from the engine
guys to run the engine another 100 RPM.  It’s not that you can’t run
it another 100 RPM if you feel like it, it’s just particular tracks.
Like here, we’re turning 9400 RPM or so – 9350 or so, and then in the
race we’ll probably turn only 9100.  So that’s an extreme from last
week when it was turning 9600.  This week during the race it’s
probably turning 9100 or 9200, so it just depends on the race track
and the temperature of the day as far as how many RPM the engine
runs.”  IN THREE OF THE LAST FOUR RACES THERE HAVE BEEN FIVE OR FEWER
CAUTIONS.  AS A DRIVER, HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT  AND IT IS MORE
DIFFICULT TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS DURING THE RACE?  “Yeah, I can
definitely attest that there have been less cautions because we are
unfortunately sitting here eighth in points because we pitted at Dover
and the caution came out the next lap and caught us two laps down and
the caution came out only one more time.  So with a top 10 car we
finished 19th and here we sit 85 points out of the lead.
Respectfully, we should be about 40 points out of the lead or maybe 35
if we would have just got our laps back that we lost because of that
caution flag.  So, yes, I have seen more green flag running, although
last week it seemed like there were more cautions – a few more than
there were at Dover.  I think the trend is kind of up-and-down and as
we figure these cars out and we all get better at driving them and
more proficient, I think as drivers and teams we make less and less
mistakes, and, of course, that means the caution comes out less and
less as we go.  I think it’s just a product of everybody getting
better.  The engines getting better – if you remember, it wasn’t
uncommon to lose an engine and now it’s a lot more rare to see an
engine failure because technology has gotten better and the guys have
gotten better about building them.  And to be honest with you, these
cars are easier to drive than the old cars.  The old cars you really
had to be on your toes.  These cars are a lot easier to drive.
They’ve got a lot of sideforce, the sides are real big and tall,
they’ve got a huge spoiler on the back of them, so the cars are much
easier to drive and they wreck a lot less.”  IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO
MAKE CHANGES WITH MORE GREEN FLAG STOPS?  “Yeah.  You’re worried about
getting on and off pit road, which is okay, that’s really not the
biggest thing, the biggest thing is you don’t get a chance to
experiment.  If a race has a few more cautions or a normal amount of
cautions, then you won’t be afraid to put some wedge in it and change
the tire pressure.  Well, when it runs green for four cycles in a row,
if you’re off a little bit, you can get lapped or lose a lot of
positions in a hurry.  You have to be much more executed on the
decision you make because the chance to un-do it if it’s the wrong way
is normally about 70 laps later when you’re out of gas – then you get
to come back and try it again.  Under that scenario, it’s not as
easy.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — MARTINSVILLE IS THE SMALLEST AND SLOWEST
TRACK.  WHY DOES IT CREATE SUCH A BIG CHALLENGE?  “I think that is the
challenge – the smallest race track is probably the biggest thing.
When you take 43 cars and there’s really one lane that makes the
fastest way around the route, it’s hard for everybody to get in that
same lane and make things happen.  That’s really the biggest thing
about it.  The bottom is the fastest way around it because it’s so
flat.  It doesn’t provide any banking, so you can’t really effectively
run the top much faster.  If it had a little bit of a progressive
bank, the top might be a little bit faster, where you could kind of
run up and down the race track, so that’s really the biggest thing is
you’re trying to put so many cars in a circle in one lane around the
bottom of the race track and that’s what makes it so hard – just makes
it really, really difficult.  You get bottled up from the guy in front
of you, the guy behind you can get the gas down and turn underneath
you, sticks you on the outside and even though you’ve got a good car,
you just got checked up a little bit because the guys up there are
playing bumper cars, and, all of a sudden, you get shuffled to the
outside and you can lose 15 spots before you can get back in line.
It’s kind of a gamble.”  HOW DO YOU TRAIN YOUR FOCUS ON WHAT YOU’VE
GOT TO DO EVERY RACE AND NOT LET  THE 48 BE A DISTRACTION WHEN IT
LOOKS LIKE THE SAME SCENARIO PLAYING OUT AGAIN?  “It’s pretty easy for
me because the way I look at it is I worry about the 16 car and get
the best finish I can here at California.  I’ve got to beat Tony
Stewart, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jimmie Johnson and all the rest and
it really makes no difference who I’m racing for the lead or who I’m
racing for fifth as far as what car it is.  What he does, I don’t have
any control over, so I focus on getting the best finish and not making
any mistakes.  Whether it’s sixth or third or a win this weekend, I
just do the best I can.  Last weekend, when I finished the race at
Kansas I had no idea, and I still don’t today, who finished third,
fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh.  I guess that’s bad of me, but I’ve
been so busy this week I haven’t looked at the finishing order.  And I
didn’t know Jimmie finished second until I was in the media center and
somebody said, ‘Well, what do you think about the 48 getting second?’
I had no idea where he finished.  I didn’t see him all day.  I didn’t
see him one time.  The guys later told me he was running in the teens
with about 40 laps to go, or something like that, and they made some
adjustments and got better and whizzed their way up to second place.
That’s a perfect example of paying attention to what we’ve got to do
and do the best we can.  I can’t control what they do.  Unfortunately,
they got all the way back to second, but we’ll just see.  Hopefully,
they’re off one of these races and we can gain some points on them.”
WHICH TRACK IS MORE AGGRAVATING FOR YOU AS FAR AS TALLADEGA OR
MARTINSVILLE BECAUSE THEY’RE VIEWED AS THE TWO WILD CARD RACES?
“Probably Martinsville because there is so little room to race and so
little you can do on that race track.  We predominantly as a company
and as a team have not run as well at Martinsville as we would like
to, so, with that being said, my vote is Martinsville is probably the
nemesis more than Talladega.  We’ve run restrictor plate races and
you’ve got more room to try and get things done and draft and pick a
lane and do those kinds of things, although we did get 10th in the
spring at Martinsville.  We can go back there in the fall do that or
better that by a little bit I think we’ll be good.  And Talladega,
we’re just like everybody else.  I’m ready for it.  I don’t let it
affect me, that we could get caught up in wreck or that somebody else
could.  You just go in there and run the race, when they throw the
checkered flag you look where everybody finished and head to the next
one.”

       Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, finds himself
53 points out of the points lead thanks to fifth and sixth-place
finishes the last two weeks.  Edwards, who will be a guest on
tonight’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, spoke about his team’s
improvement after practice.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON
THIS WEEKEND?  “Our Aflac Fusion is pretty fast.  I believe that last
week was a good test for us.  That Kansas race track is a lot like the
Auto Club Speedway.  It’s going to be a really hot, slippery race on
Sunday.  It looks like the temperatures are gonna be pretty high.  The
track temp will be really hot, so, hopefully, we can get a good
qualifying effort in here in the next hour or so and start up front.
I feel like our team has been marching towards this points lead just
little bits at a time and I think this track is an opportunity for us
to do that again.”  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE GET READY TO GO TO
MARTINSVILLE?  “The spring race, Matt Kenseth had a chance to win that
race and I think, if you ask Matt, that’s not a great race track for
Matt.  Our car was pretty fast.  We’ve had on and off days there, but
I look at that race track where if we can qualify well and can run
like we’ve been running, we’re gonna be good, but it’s a bottleneck.
It’s a spot in the chase that I’m a little bit nervous about, but
we’ve just got to qualify well there.  I think that’s the thing that’s
hurt us the most in the past.  Once we get out there running I always
feel like we run okay, but we’ve just got to make a good lap.”  TEXAS
IS SHORTLY AFTER THAT RACE.  WHAT CAN YOU DO IN A NATIONWIDE CAR THERE
THAT YOU CAN’T DO IN THE CUP CAR AND DO YOU PREFER ONE OR THE OTHER?
“Texas Motor Speedway is a lot of fun to drive in any car.  The
Nationwide car there is just so hammered down.  You’re on the throttle
so much that it’s a different kind of race than the Cup race, but I
like them both.  There is no carryover or transfer of information.
The Cup race there is spectacular.  The track is very well suited to
the Cup cars.  You can run different lines, the speeds are extremely
high, and the track has a little bit of character with the way the
transitions work and there are a couple of bumps that make it a fun
track to drive.  But for me, the biggest thing at Texas is just that
crowd.  Seeing that many people at a race track and that many real
race savvy fans, that’s a really special place to win.”  HOW DOES THIS
RACE BEING 400 MILES CHANGE THINGS FROM THE SPRING RACE?  “Oh, so this
is a 400-mile race?  I thought it was a 500-mile race all weekend.
Man, I’m glad we covered that.  That’s gonna go quick.  The thing is
it’s gonna be hot and starting at noon, a 400-mile race here should be
over at about 3 o’clock or 3:30 at the latest.  It’s such a fast race
track, so that will change things a little bit.  I was really looking
forward to the 500 miles.  I like the grueling aspect of this race
track and that long distance race, but I think for the fans things are
gonna shake out.  The fastest car will probably be leading by the
400th mile, so if that makes it a more exciting race, then that’s
good.”  YOU HAVE A BIG DEFICIT IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES, JUST LIKE
LAST YEAR.  IS IT THE SAME PHILOSOPHY OF TRYING TO GAMBLE A BIT TO
CATCH UP?  “Our Nationwide program, we’ve just got to go out there and
learn the most we can and take the most risk we can to try and win
races, but, really, it’s about building for next year.  I’ve committed
to running full-time next year.  I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to
race for the championship or not, but we’ll still keep our own score
if we can’t.  We just want to go out and be the best we can for next
season, so that’s what we’re really focusing on right now.  There are
a lot of changes coming to the Nationwide Series and I think that what
we do now is we just focus on building towards that.  Brad has been
doing a great job this year.  They’ve got a really big lead and
they’ve earned it and, unless something major happens, I think they’re
gonna be able to keep that lead.  So we’ve just got to go for it, I
guess.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED — WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT NATIONWIDE CHANGES
FOR NEXT YEAR?  “I don’t know how many guys from the Cup Series are
planning on running full-time.  I think it might just be me.
Hopefully, Brad will run again.  It would be great if Kyle would run.
It’s fun to be able to race with those guys for points.  That’s fun.
I think what NASCAR is trying to do is they’re trying to make an
opportunity for the Nationwide Series to be more of a development
series.  I think by eliminating the ability for a guy like myself to
run for the championship, I don’t think that changes the face of the
average Nationwide race.  Kyle Busch has won 11 races this year and
he’s not racing for the championship.  There’s nothing that would keep
him from doing the same thing again next year, or our team winning 11
races next year – whether or not I was racing for the championship.
The only thing it does hurt is team’s ability like ours to go out and
get sponsorship to run for the championship.  That’s an important
thing to Copart and Fastenal is for us to have an opportunity to do
that.  I know they’re looking at it from all different angles and I’m
glad they’re doing that and not making a rash choice and, hopefully,
they come up with the right decision.  But I don’t know what it is,
yet.  Nobody has told me.”  IS YOUR SETUP DIFFERENT FOR THIS RACE THAN
EARLIER?  “It is a little bit different because the track will be
slicker, the times will fall off more, it’ll be a different race, so,
yeah, the car has to be set up differently.”  DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF
CAR YOU’LL BE RACING AT THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS LATER THIS YEAR IN
GERMANY?  “No, Jim Hancock from the United States team is here and we
haven’t had a chance to talk about everything yet, but I know he’s
here and he can talk to you about that.  Travis Pastrana has committed
to going.  I’m committed to going.  It’s in that big soccer stadium,
but I haven’t seen what kind of cars we’re gonna race yet.  We’re
gonna go there and get all the practice we can and try to beat up on
those Germans (laughter) the best we can, but they’re pretty fast.”
WHY DOES A LONGER RACE WORK BETTER FOR YOU.  YOU SEEM DISPPOINTED THIS
IS A 400-MILE RACE?  “I work really hard to be as fit as I can be.  My
trainer, Dean, from Carmichael Training Systems, we work really hard
to be prepared for these long races.  I can’t believe I didn’t know
this was a 400-mile race.  This race track just seems like one of the
hottest race tracks we go to sometimes.  When the sun is out here
there is no escaping the heat, so I feel that those long races play
into my strengths physically, and then I feel that from a handling
standpoint and the way the car drives, I think the hotter and slicker
it is suits me and our team as well.  I grew up racing at dirt tracks
and I really like when the car moves around a lot.  I really enjoy
that.”

Its a Dog’s Day During the Dollar General 300

       CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 8, 2010) – She may not be able to wave the green
flag or give the command “Gentleman, Start your Engines,” but a 13-year-old
Labrador retriever named Sunshine will serve as the honorary grand marshal
for the Dollar General 300 on Oct. 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
       Sunshine earned the distinction by winning the ALPO Honorary Grand
Marshal contest, conducted by Performance Racing Network. To win the
contest, which included a trip for two to the Dollar General 300, Sunshine’s
owner, Christy Bradburn, of Massanutten, Va., submitted a short essay
written from Sunshine’s point of view describing her favorite “real dog”
behavior and why it’s time to let dogs be dogs again.
       “Sunshine is like any real dog in that she has a common sense
approach to life and enjoys simple pleasures like rolling in mud, swimming
in the pond and barking at the mailman,” said Bradburn. In her winning essay
Bradburn wrote about Sunshine’s “reckless abandon” and spirit of adventure.
       Bradburn learned about the ALPO Honorary Grand Marshal contest when
her husband Brian Koerner heard about it on PRN. She entered for two
reasons.
       “I’ll take advantage of any opportunity to talk about my dog,”
Bradburn said. “And I’ve always wanted to go to a NASCAR race. I’ve never
been to one. It’s been on my bucket list.”
       Bradburn and her husband admittedly spoil Sunshine, but life didn’t
start out so easy for the contest-winning pooch.
       “I got her from a pound when she was a year old,” said Bradburn.
“She was brought in as a cruelty case. I was so surprised though, because
she was never timid or fearful. She was a happy-go-lucky hyper dog from the
get go.”
       When it comes to NASCAR, Bradburn says that she considers herself a
casual fan. She doesn’t have a favorite driver, while her husband admits
that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Tony Stewart is his favorite. Regardless
of who they root for, they are both very excited about their trip to
Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will include garage passes, suite access,
and a ride in a pace car.
       “I’m most looking forward to the pace car ride,” Bradburn said.
“That’s something I never thought I’d be able to do and it’s so cool that
Sunshine gets to participate in it too.”
       Though Sunshine and her owners are not sure what to expect during
the Dollar General 300, the dog does have an advantage over the humans when
it comes to fitting in with the sometimes rowdy race crowd: she was named
after a beer.
       “I’m embarrassed to admit this but she’s named after Sunshine Wheat.
It’s a beer that my husband and I like,” said Bradburn.
       Representatives from the ALPO brand will also be in attendance with
Sunshine and her owners at the Dollar General 300. This is the first year
for the ALPO Honorary Grand Marshal Contest, which celebrates the ALPO “real
dog” movement.
       Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be
purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the
speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). The Bank of America Fan 4
Pack includes tickets, hot dogs and Coca-Cola drinks starting at just $39.75
per person or fans can get four nights of great racing with the Bank of
America 500 Week Super Ticket for just $99.
       For daily updates on October race activities, connect with Charlotte
Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or
become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.