Non-Penske Ford teams still struggling
Team Penske's Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano took the front row for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, giving Ford the top two spots -- which is all the Blue Oval had to cheer about.
The next highest-qualifying Ford was Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (in photo) in 21st, immediately followed by Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in 24th. Marcos Ambrose was 27th, Davd Ragan 36th, and David Gilliland 41st.
Richard Petty Motorsports driver Almirola expressed his frustration. “We haven’t had the speed we need. We can change the balance of the car – loose and tight – we just can’t go any faster. We’re frustrated, but it’s not from a lack of effort. All the guys on this Eckrich team will continue to work hard and we’ll try and get our Ford Fusion faster for tomorrow night.”
Similarly Roush-Fenway driver Carl Edwards, the most recent winner on the circuit, said that qualifying is what it is, and it's time to move on. “I think we got everything we could out of it for qualifying and we just have to go to work right now. Jimmy [Fennig, the crew chief] and the guys have the right attitude. There’s nothing we can do about qualifying. We just have to work hard to try to make it the best we can for tomorrow night. Anything can happen. We know it. They’ve got some ideas they want to try and hopefully it works.”
Snce the Ford engines are doled out from Roush-Yates without respect to team, clearly Penske has something figured out regarding handling that the other Ford teams haven't. And they haven't shared that information? "I don't expect them to," Roush driver Biffle told Motorsport.com. "We're still competitors."
Logano, starting second, said that it isn't as easy as it looks, though. “Obviously everyone’s cars are getting better and I think everyone is getting closer and the field is getting closer. I feel like we’ve just done a good job when it comes to strategy that goes into qualifying and what we’ve got to do and then our adjustments throughout qualifying. I feel like we’ve done a good job there and I feel like the 2 car gets faster every single session and they do that consistently. For the 22 car we’re faster to get going and then we don’t pick up as much and we always feel like we can get better as a team. We lean on each other a lot and when your teammate is doing a really good job qualifying and racing, it’s easier to lean on him and see what they’re doing and learn from each other.”