TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “I felt like I was sitting on the sofa holding the steering wheel, but I think it was a good lap. I don’t know if it will hold up because it’s a little slower than yesterday. I would have liked to be a little quicker, but you never know with the wind and what’s gonna happen. It could slow down or pick up. The engine temp was a little cool, cooler than we wanted it there at the end, so maybe we could have taped up a little more or something, but I think that was a good run for our Fusion. I think we’ll be in the top 10 or top 15, but you can race from anywhere here.”

Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

THERE’S REALLY NO PRESSURE ON A DRIVER HERE AS FAR AS QUALIFYING COMPARED TO SOME OTHER TRACKS, CORRECT? “This is the least pressure race track for me. All I’ve got to decide is if I’m gonna run the apron on the frontstretch or run up on the race track when you’re coming to the checkered. I chose the apron and then I even second-guessed that because that’s the only thing I can second-guess. There’s not much you can do as a driver, just don’t hit the wall when you’re on the top and don’t hit the apron when you’re on the bottom.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “I was just real disappointed in the speed. Honestly, you don’t know if you run a 49-flat or 51-flat – you can’t tell in qualifying, but I was just disappointed in the speed. We were really fast yesterday and thought we were gonna have a shot at the pole or be on the pole and we just lost a ton of speed from yesterday and I have no idea why.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “We ran the top. It seemed like the fast guys were doing that, but just a little breeze of wind can affect you because it’s so tight with the times up front. We thought we’d be a little bit faster than that. We thought we’d do a flat. We did a .95 yesterday, which is about what the pole is, so we’re happy with a top five right now, but you always wish you were on the front row.”

WHAT PRESSURE DO YOU HAVE IN THE CHASE NOW? “There’s really not a lot of pressure on us at this point, so we’ll just go out there and run hard and try to get a good finish. We’re pretty far back there. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up, so there’s not a lot of pressure on us at this point.”

DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY TOMORROW? “We’re just gonna do what we’ve done the last three or four restrictor plate races, which is run near the front if we can. It seems like we did that the last few races and were there at the end. If we get shuffled back, we might stay back for a little while until a pit stop or whatever happens, but, typically, we want to stay up front.”

CAN YOU HAVE A BEST STRATEGY HERE? “Nope. I’ve been running third here and a guy went flying upside-down across my hood. I was looking at him straight through the face shield. He was looking at me and I was looking at him, so I thought being at the front was the safe spot, but I’ve been in wrecks in the middle and at the back. Percentage-wise, if you’re at the front there are less guys that can cause a problem, so you just never know. We’re so tight in there racing each other that one guy makes a little mistake or one guy thinks he’s clear or the wind blows a car around a little, so things can happen quick.”

WHAT ABOUT SOME OF THE CHANGES FOR NEXT YEAR WITH ELIMINATING THE TOP 35 AND RANDOM DRAW? “I don’t know what all they’re gonna do and if that’s in concrete yet, but those are the ideas being floated out there, I think. I can see where some of it could make it a little bit more thrilling – who is gonna miss the race and go home that day. The qualifying draw being random, a lot of drivers are not completely on board with that theory simply because qualifying is becoming so important and track position is so important everywhere we go, especially when you get to the Chase, that if you get an early qualifying draw – qualify fifth at Charlotte for the night race – you’re not gonna be in the top 15 or 20 probably – even the fastest car. So it’s a huge penalty for the random draw for where you’re gonna go out, but if that’s what fans want to see or what they want to do, then we’re on board with it.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion – “For us, this is kind of a different weekend because we usually come here and all we’re worried about is getting the most points we can and, right now, it doesn’t really matter how many points we get. So we all have a deal, Jack said it’s OK and Chad said it’s all right if I just go out there and race for the lead the whole time. That will be a lot of fun. I’ll have a blast.”

ISN’T THAT THE MOST FREE YOU’VE FELT RACING HERE AT TALLADEGA? “Yes. I can’t think of a good analogy, but if we start in the top 10 I can just go when they drop the green and go race for the lead the whole time. Trust me, the fans don’t like when we’re running around waiting for the end of the race, and we don’t like it either, so this will be a lot of fun for me.”

BACK, FRONT, OR WILL YOU FIGURE IT OUT AS YOU GO? “I’m just going to the front and racing as hard as I can. I’m gonna try to lead the whole thing, so if you see the Subway car anywhere but the lead, then that means something is not right because we’re gonna go for it and I’m gonna be trying my hardest. None of that waiting around in the back for us. We have nothing to lose, other than a good race car if I wreck it, but we’re gonna have some fun.”

CAN YOU HELP BIFFLE? “I think I could help Biffle at the end if we’re in position where we’re close to each other. I’d definitely push him or Matt until that engine blew up, but, hopefully, they’re behind me. Hopefully, I’m racing for the win. I don’t know what their strategy is yet. We haven’t talked too much about it, but Biffle and I have worked so well together the last couple of years that, if we can, we’ll help each other.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “It was fine. We just didn’t have as much speed as we thought. It really makes no difference here, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. It’s gonna be fun.”

SO YOU PRETTY MUCH JUST GO OUT THERE AND MASH THE THROTTLE ALL THE WAY AROUND? “Yeah. If I had a day here with my mom, I could get my mom to drive around here at that speed. It’s a lot of fun. We’re under so much pressure all the time at a lot of race tracks to try to get more out of the car because the drivers make a big difference that it’s nice to come to a race track where qualifying for the drivers is a little easier.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Gwaltney Ford Fusion – “The car drove fine. All of these guys on this Gwaltney Ford Fusion worked really hard and I think our car is gonna be really good in the race. I think that should be good enough to be towards the front. I think that’s a really respectable lap, so we’ll go race.”

DO YOU HAVE A PLAN TOMORROW? “We don’t really have anything to lose, so we’re gonna go out there and race hard all day and see what happens.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts Ford Fusion – “There are a couple of things you can do to the front splitter and some other stuff to go faster, but it takes downforce away and from my experiences in the pack when you get in a big pack and get big runs, you kind of want all the downforce you can get so we’ve opted to go that way. It felt like scuffs were a little bit better to qualify on and we had a set we practiced on yesterday, but one of the left rears had a puncture in it, so we had to go out on stickers and I think that was not optimum for qualifying. Still, I feel really good about our car. It drove really well and drafted really well – all of the things we need for Sunday to have a great day – so I feel good. I probably feel more confident than I’ve felt at any restrictor plate race this year.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 MHP 8-Hour Alert Ford Fusion – “Our 8-Hour Alert Ford was OK during qualifying. Two laps of qualifying here at Talladega is the calmest two laps you’ll have all weekend long, so I’m proud of our guys. The brought a nice car and we expected to qualify about mid-pack, but it should be fine in the draft. It’s always a strategy game as far as what do you do throughout the 500-mile race, and I think we’ll have a good plan and have a shot to win.”

YOUR TEAMMATE IS PRETTY CONFIDENT ABOUT TOMORROW. ARE YOU? “This is certainly a good chance for a smaller team to shine and I think we’ve got a lot of the right parts and pieces to run well. David and I are good plate racers. We’ve got good sponsors and Roush Yates power under the hood, and the Fords seem to run well at the speedways. We ran seventh here in the spring and was in contention to win, and we just need to put ourselves in contention to win again. That’s a race within the race is just being in contention at the end and then anything can happen. We enjoy being here and I’m looking forward to these last seven races.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “It felt really good. We definitely had a lot of speed in practice and I liked the way it sucked up in the draft. I’m looking forward to it because I think we have a really good shot at having a great finish here, if not winning the race, so if we can just stick around all day and be there at the end, we have a shot at it.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 K-LOVE/Curb Records Ford Fusion – HOW IS THIS WEEKEND DIFFERENT FOR YOUR TEAM KNOWING THERE ARE ONLY 43 CARS HERE? “It’s nice. Having only 43 cars is surely a blessing, especially because so much can happen here. You can break a gear or transmission because everything is so light for these superspeedways, but I’m excited to be racing the K-LOVE Fusion tomorrow and running the full distance, and the same in Charlotte, so this will give us a couple of weeks to build some momentum and get ready for next year.”

SPEAKING OF NEXT YEAR, YOU GUYS HAD A MEETING TODAY TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE CHANGES FOR 2013. HOW DOES SOMETHING LIKE THE TOP 35 GOING AWAY HELP A TEAM LIKE YOURS? “It’ll actually work out better for us just because I think we’ll be in a position, being that we run all the races, to get one of those provisionals for every race, so I think it really lends its hand to the teams that are more full- time. For us, having to make every race is difficult. I’m not sure how the first three races break down, but, beyond that, it should help teams like us.”

WHAT ABOUT THE TESTING OPPORTUNITIES NEXT YEAR? “Testing is tough just because you have to have a budget to go testing. These bigger teams have full test crews and people while we only have six people at Phil Parsons Racing, so it’s gonna be tough to go testing, but at least we have the freedom to do it now.”

JOSH WISE – No. 26 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – IS IT NICE TO NOT HAVE THE STRESS OF QUALIFYING ON TIME THIS WEEKEND? “I kind of like the pressure of it, so it’s an easy weekend for us. The guys did a good job and we’ll see how that time stands up. It’s better than we ran yesterday, so we’ll see where it shakes out.”

Source: Ford Racing