Logano set a Martinsville Speedway track record in winning the first qualifying session when he turned a lap of 18.898 seconds (100.20 mph).
Do you think qualifying is having an effect on the outcome of the race on Sunday? “I think qualifying always has an effect on how the race turns out. Obviously, the pit stall is very important, especially here. It’s a dangerous pit road so you want to get a nice spot you can get in and out of, but obviously here it’s a slow pit road and you can make up a lot with timing lines on pit road. For that reason alone it’s big, and that’s worth multiple spots throughout the race when you’re thinking about making a lot of pit stops. And then obviously qualifying is a big deal for starting position. Third is a good spot. I think it’s better than second because the inside lane usually goes here, especially at the beginning of the race, so we’ll try to level out there and try to lead some laps. We’ve got our car tuned in and when you’re up front the pressure and the sense of urgency of needing to pass cars is not there as much, and you’re able to save your tires. That’s a big deal when you’re here is able to save your tires for the long run and when you’re positioned towards the front it allows you to do that. When you’re trying to pass cars and run underneath them and wearing your stuff out, you lose quite a bit of tire wear and eventually in the long run you’ll show that. So being able to start towards the front is an advantage for that reason, that you can save your stuff and be there for the long run. Hopefully, we keep that track position all day so we don’t get in that scenario where we have to push really hard and wear our stuff out.”
Was the qualifying session here cleaner than you expected? Were people more forgiving? Or did it go like you thought it might? “I think everyone thought it was gonna be a mess when we didn’t have cool down units, and everyone was gonna be out there cooling down and then there’s no room to go around anybody, so that’s where I think that maybe came from. Now everyone just wants a clean lap. The sun wasn’t poking in or out – no one was thinking that way. Everyone was just, ‘OK, what do we have to do to get out there and make a clean lap,’ and run the fastest you can that way, so I don’t think that came into play.”
Carl Edwards – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “I’m OK with that. Obviously, we want to be better, but that’s pretty good. That’s far better than my average here, so I’m happy.” YOU GOT OUT THERE ONE MORE TIME AT THE END. “Yeah, that was futile but definitely fun. If I would have run a little better I think we could have been top four or five if I would have had a perfect first lap in the second round but that’s OK. That’s good.”
Greg Biffle – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “We’ve run really good here with a bunch of top-10s in a row, so that’s a good start to it. Although last year we qualified 32nd and ran all the way to the front. Hopefully, we don’t qualify at the front and run at the back, but we’ve got a decent car. We cut a lap there in the first round. I got in and it rotated really good and went right back in the gas, so I got a pretty good lap there. Now we’ve got our work cut out for us in race trim to get it driving good and get it fast and consistent.”
Aric Almirola – No. 43 STP Ford Fusion – “The car was really loose in practice and we got too tight there in qualifying. We’re starting 20th, but the starting position here at Martinsville is not that big of a deal. The race pace falls off a lot and if your car can hold on and stay consistent throughout the run, you can pass a lot of cars here so I’m not really concerned. Obviously, we wanted to qualify better than that. I think we’ve got the best appearing car for sure, so we’ll go get them for Sunday.”
Marcos Ambrose – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “I had some pretty crazy axle hop going into three there, but we were a little bit desperate. We were on the bubble of making it by about a half-tenth from the top 12, and started off into three there. We’ve got some small springs and new stuff here for Martinsville and something either coil bound or I applied the brake getting into three and got a lot of axle hop and couldn’t stop it. I took it all the way to the fence, but we’re in the top 20. We’ve got a decent car. We’re gonna make the most of it here and see if we can make it a winning car in tomorrow’s practice.”