Ford Racing press release
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion
“We had some engine issues. We’ve been so reliable all year. We haven’t had a DNF, so to come down to the last race and maybe not finish is gonna be pretty gut-wrenching, but we’re gonna see if we can get it back out there and maybe just do one more lap. It’s a bad way to finish the season, but we’ve had a great year and really wanted to finish on a high note.”
HAS THIS SEASON BEEN A SUCCESS IN YOUR MIND? “Oh, yeah. You can’t reflect on one race and feel bad about this season. We’ve had a great year and I’m looking forward to 2012 and making it better.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ENGINE? “It’s just engine trouble. The guys at Roush Yates do a great job and that was probably just pushing the issue. We are here racing for a win and had a fast car and that is our fourth engine failure of the year. You can’t make the Chase, and you can’t go for a championship having problems like that. They do a great job; we just pushed the envelope too much and were being a little aggressive on our car with not a whole lot to lose. We were trying to find a little horsepower and it didn’t work out."
DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING? “No we were cruising around and made that green flag pit stop and our car had been real free for most of the race. We had a good car I think, no warning, just broke something big going down the back straightaway."
THE 9 CAR LOOKS LIKE IT DROPPED A CYLINDER. IS THIS SOMETHING CARL NEEDS TO WORRY ABOUT? “I don’t think so. I think Carl probably has a real conservative piece. I doubt they will have any issues. Myself, Marcos and even Greg and AJ, not being in the Chase, we have a little R&D going on. We just got the short straw.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
“The engine just gave up. It’s really weird the symptoms we’re having because the oil temperature, water temperature, everything is good. We’re not revving them that high, so there must be something weird going on with them. They make great power and we’ve had good engines all year."
WHAT HAPPENED? “It looked like maybe we had a valve problem or something like that. It’s kind of odd because we’re not revving them that high and the temperatures were really, really good. It must be something with the parts because we’ve had three of them break that I know of and that’s really unusual for our engines. Our engines run really good, really reliable and make really good power. I know Doug and all the guys have worked really hard on durability on this FR9, so this is an unusual problem for us."
DAVID RAGAN SAID THEY WERE TRYING SOME R&D STUFF. WERE YOU? “I don’t know all the specifics. We could have possibly been trying something for next year. It made good power, it just didn’t quite make it far enough.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion
“It looked like he (Jimmie Johnson) got loose up high and gathered it up, and then it was like he made a hard left like he was gonna come down pit road and I just got in the back of him. We had just got a break there and got back on the lead lap. We were working on the car and even though it wasn’t where we wanted it, we were working hard to try and get it there. We just came up a little short.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – PIT ROAD INTERVIEW
“I just have to say congratulations to Tony. Those guys earned it. They won half the races in the Chase and he is the champion and did a good job. My guys did a great job. We pushed him to the end and that is all I got. That is as hard as I can drive. I think it is really important to give Tony the credit. Those guys did a good job. That is everything I’ve got. I will go home and work harder for next year and be back and make it just as hard on them, hopefully harder. I am proud of Ford, Aflac and our fans. Thank you for making this fun."
THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING CHAMPIONSHIP FINISHES THE SPORT HAS EVER SEEN. WHAT IS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW? “Let me thank my sponsors, Aflac, Ford, Kellogg’s, Subway, Scott’s and all the fans. This night is about Tony Stewart. They beat us fair and square. I gave them everything we’ve got and my guys did a really good job. We came here and sat on the pole and led the most laps and Tony still managed to do a good job with their strategy, come out in front of us and that was all I had at the end. That is as hard as I can drive. I told my wife, ‘If I can’t win this thing, I am going to be the best loser NASCAR has ever had and I am going to try really hard to keep my head up and know we will be just as hard to beat next year and the year after that.’ I just hope everybody is proud of the way we performed and our effort. I appreciate everyone’s support. I wish so bad we had that trophy, it just wasn’t meant to be tonight."
FOR 40 LAPS YOU WERE LOOKING AT THE TARGET AHEAD OF YOU, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? “It was good because I could see what Tony was doing and I tried all sorts of stuff and that is as hard as I can drive that race car and that is it. I said before this thing started that I would give my best performance and I would be happy with that. I am not quite happy with it, but this is what we’ve got. We will make the most of it. I can tell you one thing, if we are in this position again next year those guys better watch out because that was a lot of work to stay calm and focused and perform the best we can, I learned a ton."
DID YOU KNOW YOUR FATE DURING THE LAST 20 LAPS? “No, I don’t every quit. I was waiting for his car to run out of fuel coming to the finish line. The only good thing about tonight is that we didn’t make any mistakes, we didn’t mess up and we didn’t beat ourselves. We made Tony and those guys come out and beat us and they did. Congratulations to him. He is the champion and he earned it. I learned a ton, a lot about myself and competition at this level and I will be ready to battle it out just like this every year if I get the opportunity."
HOW TOUGH IS THIS MOMENT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW? “This moment is pretty tough but not nearly as tough as it could have been if we had a mistake or a problem. We just got out-raced tonight. They did their jobs and came back from adversity and did a good job."
WHAT DID YOU JUST TELL TONY AT HIS CAR? “I told him I hope we do the same thing next year, it will be fun. That is a good racer. He did a good job. His team did a good job. My guys did really well too. We aren’t going to walk away here feeling like we didn’t give our best performance. We did well and I stand behind all my guys and we will have that same group if I can do anything about it next year and they are going to have to beat us.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
“It was a good run for us. I kind of hit the wall early and this Crown Royal team did a great job getting it fixed up and keeping it really competitive. I just wasn’t as good as the top two. The 56 was better at times and I was a little better than him at times, but the 99 and 14 just had us all night. I don’t know what I would change to make it better. We had the balance pretty good. We had great stops. We did all that stuff, we just didn’t have the grip and the speed they had."
NICE RUN. “It was. It was pretty good. The Crown Royal guys did a great job. They made great adjustments after we kind of got off and hit the wall a little bit early. We had the car pretty good, we just weren’t as good as the 99 and the 14 and the 56 at the end. Those guys were just a little quicker, but, overall, we had a good car and had a good day."
HOW MUCH FUN WAS IT TO RACE ON THIS TRACK WITH SO MANY OPTIONS? “It’s a fun track. Before the red flag I hit the wall right in front of Martin and they were laughing at me at the red flag, so I was following him there at the end and he was leaving himself a good half-inch to the wall, so I was kind of waiting for him to return the favor so I could get back around him, but he’s really good at that and he just hung it out right next to the fence and I just couldn’t get by him."
THE 14 AND 99 DOMINATED THE LAST THREE RACES. WHAT’S IT LIKE AS A COMPETITOR TO SEE A TITLE BATTLE GO DOWN LIKE THAT? “It’s crazy. I don’t know how Carl could have put together a better 10 races. They took bad days and turned them into good days and did all they could, but Tony got on that tear and won all those races on different style race tracks. I’m not sure how he made it there at the end on fuel, but he did. I thought it was Carl’s, to be honest with you. He had tires and Tony didn’t and I thought he was gonna run him down, but he just couldn’t quite catch him.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
“It’s a little bit sad. We accomplished our goal being top 15 in points, but I want so much more though. It’s one of those things that they deserve a little bit more and I wish I’d given it to them. We’ve got some stuff to work on in the winter. We know that. I love working with Greg because he’s helped me so much. I know I still have a ways to go. We’re making steps and we know the areas we need to work on. I wish I could have won for them, but we’ll get them next year.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion
“We were awesome until the rain came the first time. I guess they saw where our rear-end housing was leaking a little bit, I guess where I got in the wall and knocked a bolt loose, so the first half of the race I was pumped. We were coming and we got to 11th and I thought we were gonna be really good and then that happened and put us back in the field. Then I got in the wall a couple times and then when they crashed on the backstretch we lost our left-front fender when the tire blew, so it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for at the end, but it was really fast and I just wish I could have got a better finish for these guys. I enjoyed working with them all year long and, hopefully, I’ll get to do it again next year because it’s been a great group of people to work with.”