Almirola is the best qualified for Ford at Chicagoland

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 3rd) -- ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT LAP? “I was happy from the aspect that I got everything we could get out of it for today. I think there is two or three-tenths out there if someone gets their balance just right.

I thought it was good strategy by Jimmy (Fennig) to try to go fast in the second practice, not in the first one, to go out earlier although I don’t think there will be a big difference today. I feel like I got a good lap but I think there is some more speed out there.”

Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Farmland Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) -- “I am happy with that. I think we will get beat but it was a good lap and the car felt really solid. Todd Parrott and all the boys have given me a really good car this weekend. I have been really happy with it.”

SPEAKING OF THAT, YOU HAVE A WHOLE NEW CREW THIS WEEK. WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE? “It is going really good. We unloaded with a really good car, a really stable car. It drove really nice right off the truck so we have just been fine tuning it. He has made some changes just trying to get an idea of what I like.

We are going through a little bit of that of trying to understand each other and he is trying to understand how I want my race cars to drive. It helps when they unload right off the truck and are really fast. We have had a good car all weekend.”

Carl Edwards, No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion (Qualified 5th) -- “It was a very good lap. That is a very fast race car. My lap wasn’t perfect but the speed was there. I am happy with it. I think it is really good. I don’t know yet about race trim tomorrow. We are working on it still and hopefully it will be good. That is a good lap though.”

Trevor Bayne, No. 21 Good Sam/Camping World Ford Fusion (Qualified 14th) – “The car was just too hard to go to the gas wide open. I needed to hustle it a little more. It felt like a pole run to be honest. The car was solid and felt good and I thought we would have a shot at it today.

I am a little disappointed to qualify 14th but on the other hand we are in the show and can race from there and have a good race trim car. As good as the car drove and felt I thought they were going to come over the radio and say it was a 50.

I guess it is just that little bit of speed you get when you can go wide open and hustle the throttle like you need to. If I could go back and do it again I would try it. I would probably run the same time.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING LAP “We wanted to go out a little earlier in the day when we thought the track would be a little cooler and that was Jimmy’s strategy and we took advantage of that and got a decent lap and a good starting spot.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Farmland Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN “Our car has been really good. The Farmland Fusion has been fast from the time we unloaded and drove really comfortable. I am just excited. Todd Parrott brought me a really good car this weekend.

It was good in race trim and as soon as we swapped over to qualifying trim it felt just as good. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. We have a good starting spot and I am looking forward to turning our season around.”

A LOT OF TIMES A CREW CHIEF SWAP WILL IGNITE A TEAM. DO YOU FEEL THAT IS THE CASE WITH YOU GUYS? “Absolutely. There are a lot of people motivated right now at Richard Petty Motorsports for sure. Todd Parrott and his whole crew coming over to our car has been great.

This week there has been a lot of work going on in the shop and a lot of people with a lot to prove, myself included. It has been a great week.”

YOU HAVE QUALIFIED WELL A FEW TIMES THIS YEAR BUT NOT MATCHED IT WITH THE FINISH. WHY SHOULD THIS BE ANY DIFFERENT TODAY? “I hope it is different. I think a lot of it has to do with learning. I can figure out how to go fast for a lap but I have to figure out how to go fast for 400 or 500 miles too.

A lot of that too is just getting your car handling the way you want it to so that it stays for a longer time than just one lap. I would like to say that Todd Parrott and all the guys that are on our Farmland car this weekend have given me a car that stays consistent and will run fast lap times for a long time and not just one lap.”

YOU OFTEN HAVE JOKED ABOUT NOT BEING A GREAT QUALIFIER BUT DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENT ON RACE DAY WHEN YOU DO START UP FRONT? ALSO, DID YOU EVER GET YOUR HOT DOG FROM PETE PISTONE? “No, he still owes me that. It is past lunch time on Saturday. He missed lunch yesterday and today and I am not real happy about it to be honest with you. Qualifying usually hasn’t been our strong suit but it has been better the last couple years.

I think our average starting spot last year was the best it’s ever been. For whatever we seem to be doing better at that lately. This track has been – I think we were on the pole actually last year. This has been a great place for us. We don’t have many great finishes to show for how good we have run here.

I think qualifying has been better and it does matter more where you qualify than it did back in the day just because everyone is closer to the same speed and it is more difficult to pass so track position is more important. I think it is probably more important than it used to be.”

Source: Ford Racing NSCS

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Trevor Bayne , Richard Petty , Carl Edwards , Aric Almirola
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports
Article type Qualifying report
Tags almirola, edwards, ford fusion, kenseth, nascar-cup