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OCT 23, 2018 | Ford Performance Staff

Ford Claims Three Top-5 Spots in Martinsville Qualifying

First Data 500

RIDGEWAY, Va. – Ford Performance has a good day at the track as they claim three of the top 5 spots in qualifying.


2nd Clint Bowyer
4th Ryan Blaney
5th Aric Almirola
7th Kurt Busch
8th Brad Keselowski
11th Joey Logano
13th Kevin Harvick
14th David Ragan
20th Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22nd Michael McDowell
27th Matt Kenseth
29th Matt DiBenedetto
39th Paul Menard

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion - Qualified 2nd

“Good God, after the way I have been qualifying lately it feels like I am sitting on four poles. We are on the front row man. I am terrible. You come to a track where you know you have a shot. When you won here in the spring you know you have a shot. It is cool weather, kind of the same conditions. Obviously it wasn’t the pole and Kyle (Busch) was faster. Kyle is really good at laying laps down. I like the Sunday afternoon drives.”

KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion - Qualified 7th

“We were so close. We were right there and I just slid the nose a fuzz on both ends in the third round. The second round I nailed it and I needed to duplicate that with older tires and I just had to go and let off the brake and slid the nose too much on both ends. That put us seventh. It is that tight for qualifying. I am kind of bummed. We had a shot at the and ended up seventh.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion - Qualified 5th

“It was a great effort for us. I am so proud of these guys. We just continue to get better and better and we are peaking and coming together at the right time. We spent all of the beginning of the year just learning each other and unloading and scratching our heads trying to get our feet under us. Now we are seeing all the benefits of building a notebook together. We are showing up at these places a second time and unloading really good cars. We are all much more on the same page and all the guys on this team and back at the shop are doing an awesome job of giving us really fast cars.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion - Qualified 11th

“That was really hard to drive. That was evil. Challenging getting the balance where we need to be able to control it to make the speed we needed and we just didn’t have it today, in qualifying trim at least. Hopefully we will have it in race trim, we will have to wait and see.”


CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion - Qualified 2nd -- IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE ON YOU BEING WITH SUCH A GOOD TEAM TO MAKE THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR? “Pressure is fun. It is fun to be in these situations. I was freaking out at the Roval. Literally, my wife was like, ‘Are you going to be alright?’ I was like, “Hell, I don't know. I haven’t eaten much today.’ It’s fun having the pressure of being in that environment and having that feeling. You are racing for something very prestigious. It is a meaningful thing. It is a big damn deal. It is fun to be competing for that and an honor. Something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It is neat to be back in the swing of that because of my team and the organization I am with.”

THERE WAS A TIME NOT LONG AGO A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT MAYBE YOU HAD LOST YOUR TOUCH A BIT. DO YOU FEEL LIKE NOW IN THIS POSITION YOU ARE IN, FIGHTING FOR A SPOT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR, THAT THE SHR FAITH IN YOU HAS PAID OFF AND YOU FOUND THAT PLACE AGAIN? “Definitely the faith that Stewart-Haas had in me is definitely paying off. It is paying off for myself. This year is what I thought we would have last year. That is no joke. When we didn’t have the success last year, then you start worrying. Then you start thinking that maybe your time has come and gone. This year has fixed all of that for me. Being able to go to victory lane here and go back to victory lane in Michigan and compete and be close at Dover and some of the other tracks. All of that came back. It took care of itself. You have to have the hot rod underneath you to get the job done. You have to have people around you that you work with. And you have to have guys like this next to me (Kyle Busch) to slow down a little bit.”

ALL FOUR SHR CARS ARE IN THE ROUND OF EIGHT. DO YOU BELIEVE ALL FOUR CARS HAVE A SHOT OF MAKING THE FINAL FOUR? “It is our time. I really think that. If you look back, last year the JGR cars were the cars to beat. That organization was - it was their time. The hard work and dedication was put into that and they were reaping the benefits big time. Domination. I don't think that we quite got to that domination that they had week in and week out but it certainly feels like it is our time. A race like Talladega was awesome. You have to be able to duplicate that and time and time again, especially when you have to rise to the occasion in the playoffs. It is neat to see everybody and their hard work. There is so much hard work that goes into all of this stuff behind the scenes that even I don't get a chance to always see and appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication. It really is rewarding when you get in the car and have a day like today.”

ARE YOU AN UNDERRATED DRIVER? “Hell, I don't know. I don't really care about that. Like I said earlier, I have to be having fun to be able to have success. I have found that within my race team and with our organization and my teammates and things like that, the playoffs are fun. The pressure is fun. It is fun to be nervous. As crazy as that is, it is fun. It is fun to be coming to the race track and have a good day. It is a good feeling and it keeps you sharp and keeps you focused, which is something that I am maybe not good at.”

SO IT DOESN'T BOTHER YOU WHEN PEOPLE SAY YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE EVEN MADE IT THIS FAR IN THE PLAYOFFS? “I don't care. It doesn't matter. All I know is the checks keep getting bigger.”