There are four Ford drivers competing for spots in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards (2nd) has already clinched while Greg Biffle (6th) just has to start in order...
There are four Ford drivers competing for spots in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards (2nd) has already clinched while Greg Biffle (6th) just has to start in order to lock up his position. Matt Kenseth (9th) and David Ragan (13th) are also trying to secure a spot. All four drivers held Q&A sessions Friday at the speedway.
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE? "Certainly we're excited to be in this opportunity to have a shot for the chase. That's what our goals were at the beginning of the year, just to be able to have a shot at Richmond to make the chase. It would be great if we were in the top 12 locked in, but we're not. We're outside trying to fight our way in and 17 points is better than 25 points, but it's not as good as five points, so it should be an exciting race tomorrow night. If I had to pick any track to go to, Richmond would probably be in the top two or three choices, so it's a perfect situation for us to go out and try to be the heroes of the weekend. If we make the chase, it'll be great, but if we don't make the chase, we've still got 10 races to go to try win some races and finish up strong in points. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's race and I think so far, so good. Our AAA Ford was pretty good. We unloaded fast and we'll see what happens here in qualifying."
DO YOU AGREE THAT CLINT AND KASEY HAVE MORE PRESSURE THAN YOU IN THIS RACE? "Yes, some of that is accurate. I'd say that we are definitely just happy to be in this position, but we have put some pressure on ourselves to try to make some good things happen. I put a lot of pressure on myself last week to try to run a little better than we did, but I think the pressure is probably on Clint more than anybody because it's his spot to lose and it's ours to gain. We all have a lot of pressure on us to go out and get the job done and try to get in the chase, but, yeah, I can imagine that there's probably a little more pressure on Clint not to mess up. We can go out and just race as hard as we can and whatever happens happens."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE KICKER NOBODY WANTS TO TALK TO WITH TWO SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME? "Yes and no. It's a deal where it's certainly riding on our shoulders, but it's not to that point yet. If you were to ask me that question before I sat down in the car before tomorrow's green flag run and started to go, it might be a little different, but we've still got a lot of racing with the Nationwide race tonight and qualifying and 400 laps tomorrow. I've tried not to put a lot of pressure on myself. Certainly, if we make the chase it's not gonna be because we had a good race at Richmond, it's gonna be because we were pretty solid all year. If we don't make the chase, it's gonna be because we made some mistakes throughout the year. So Richmond, it's an important race, but it's not the only race of the year we're gonna look at and say, 'Hey, this is the race whether we're in or out.' I'm just trying to go out and not put a lot of pressure on myself. Certainly we'll be a little more cautious at times and pay attention to the details, but I'm not putting that kind of pressure on just this one race."
ARE YOU GOING TO WEATHER.COM? "I just left my motorhome and that's what was on the internet, so I was watching it before coming back here. I pay attention to what's going on and trying to be aware of what's happening so I can make a better plan, but, ultimately, it's the same situation for everybody. We all had the same amount of practice this afternoon. We're all gonna have the same opportunity to qualify, whether it rains or not, and we're all gonna have the same ideas going into tomorrow night, but I think just from my limited knowledge and studying the internet radar, I think we'll be fine. Maybe not for qualifying, but definitely for tomorrow night."
WOULD YOU BENEFIT MORE FOR NEXT YEAR BY NOT MAKING THE CHASE AND HAVING THOSE LAST 10 RACES TO PROGRESS? "I think where we're at, we're not a championship-caliber team now. No matter how good we run tonight, and if we make the chase, no matter how excited we are, the bottom line at the end of the day you can't win the championship without winning some races and you can't win without getting a lot of top fives and leading a lot of laps and we're not quite there yet and I think we know that. We've still got a ways to go and I think that would be the mentality we would take in the chase. We wouldn't necessarily be looking at that championship role and I think it's a little far-fetched from where we stand today. Now a lot of things can happen between now and the end of the year and then we'd say, 'Yeah, I think we've got a shot at the championship,' but as we stand right here today, we've got a top 10 to a top 12 to 14 team and that's what we've got.
"We've still got to win some races and we've got to slowly progress into a better more consistent faster team, but I don't think the championship -- it would be in the back of our minds, but it wouldn't be the main objective out of these last 10 races."
IN A SENSE WHAT HAPPENS DEPENDS ON HOW IT GOES -- EITHER CONSISTENCY OR WINNING. "Yeah, I agree with you. You look at our team over the last month and a half and we've been really consistently a top 10 car, and I think that's what gets you in the chase. Certainly we'd all like to think that the Sprint Cup champion is gonna be a person that can go out and win some races this final 10 stretch, and looking at the way Carl and Kyle are kind of not necessarily in a league of their own, but running pretty good with each other -- head and shoulders above everybody just about -- I think that they're gonna win some races and it's gonna be a battle. But as you pointed out, guys that were consistently fast and didn't have that one bad race can win and, like I said, it would be in the back of our minds, but we would just try to keep the same mindset -- trying to get top 10s and that's how we learned to get experience, but it's real important to try to win one of these things this year, too."
HOW MUCH HAS JIMMY FENNIG HELPED YOU STAY CALM? "I think it's our personalities. I don't want to say we're laid back, but we want to act like we belong here. If we were to show up at Richmond and be so excited and talking a big game like we've never been here before, that wouldn't be the right direction to head, and certainly Jimmy does have experience. He's been here and done this several times, so he knows what to expect around the next corner. We've got a fairly young team -- our AAA group that's over the wall and our team crew -- we're all pretty young so this is the first time we've experienced anything like this and we just all want to act like we deserve to be here and it's just another race weekend with a little more importance and a little more photographers around the car and just try to go out and do the best we can."
WHAT ADVICE HAS JIMMY GIVEN YOU ABOUT THE RACE? "Still be pretty aggressive. We hadn't talked specifically about our game plan and what we have to do, but he made it clear that we're not gonna go out and just take it easy all night trying not to do anything stupid. We're gonna be aggressive and run like this is the first race of the chase running as hard as we can trying to win the thing, so I think he just wanted to make it clear to the guys that he's not gonna be passive with the setup. We're gonna be aggressive with everything, trying to get all we can get, but we want to make sure we don't lay down a little bit too much because I feel the other two cars are gonna go out and do the same thing -- be as aggressive as they can be. This is a deal where one race is determining everything, but you don't want to leave this race at Richmond and Sunday morning you say, 'Man, if I could have been a little more aggressive here. If we would have had this in, we might have had a better result.' So we want to give all we can give and at the end of the night we'll say we did the best we could do and that's all there is to say about it."
-credit: ford racing