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APR 12, 2019 | FORD PERFORMANCE STAFF

Harvick Puts Mustang on Pole at Richmond

Toyota Owners 400

RICHMOND, Va. - Kevin Harvick wins the Busch Pole and will start in the front-row this Saturday for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. 

FORD QUALIFYING RESULTS
1st - Kevin Harvick
4th - Joey Logano
9th - Daniel Suarez
12th - Brad Keselowski
13th - Paul Menard
15th - Aric Almirola
16th - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
20th - Matt Tifft
21st - Clint Bowyer
22nd - David Ragan
25th - Michael McDowell
29th -- Ryan Blaney
31st -- Ryan Newman
34th -- Jeb Burton

POLE WINNER PRESS CONFERENCE

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang 
LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME YOU WERE THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG THREE. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE GOTTEN TO THE POINT TO GET BACK IN VICTORY LANE? “Not sure. We are doing all we can.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE WITH THE SPEED YOU SHOWED LAST WEEK AT BRISTOL AND TODAY THAT YOU GUYS HAVE TURNED A CORNER TO SOME EXTENT? “We haven’t raced yet, so we will find out tomorrow.”

TALK ABOUT THE QUALIFYING AND WHAT LED TO YOU FEELING LIKE YOU NAILED THE POLE? “For me, all three rounds went really good. We had a good race practice for a 30-lap run there at the beginning of practice. Obviously it rained out the second practice. They did a good job with the car and I didn’t really know but the second lap ended up being our fastest lap. I just over drove the car probably the second and third lap. The first lap was probably the smoothest lap for me. I felt like I needed to roll a little more speed and wound up rolling too much speed and it wound up being too much brake. The cars had a little fall off from a time standpoint and I think it was really just managing the fall off and be consistent with the laps. Stickers were definitely faster in the first round than they were the second and third round.”

DID YOU LIKE THE FIVE MINUTE ROUNDS? “I just race by whatever they tell me we are supposed to do.”

ARE YOU OKAY WITH REALLY JUST ONE RUN PER ROUND? IS THAT OKAY WITH YOU? “It doesn't matter if it is okay by me or not because I don't make the rules.”

DID YOU FEEL A DIFFERENT SENSE OF URGENCY WITH THIS FORMAT? “It was really just more congestion. I think when you come to a place like this with everyone running three or four laps, it is hard to get 40 cars going in the first round, or however many cars are here, 35 or 40 or whatever it is. To get those cars to run three or four laps, you run into traffic and it becomes more congested than it probably needs to be in the first round. The second and third rounds were fine.”

DID YOU LEARN ENOUGH WITH JUST ONE PRACTICE FOR RACE CONDITIONS TOMORROW NIGHT? “I hope so. We will find out tomorrow. As you look at this place, this is really one of those places where you kind of have to go off of what happened last time. New tire, so you don't really know exactly what the cars are going to do deep into runs as far as how bad they will push, will the get looser. What conditions will you be fighting? We wind up guessing a number of times when they change the tires like this because you don't know what to anticipate. A lot of the changes you see in the sport, once you get done changing the rules on the cars come from Goodyear because of the fact that they change the tires all the time from a compound, construction and sidewalls. This is one of the places they change them a lot. I really don't know exactly what we are shooting for so you kind of go off past knowledge of what you think you need to do with the car from a balance standpoint. You really don't know until you get 50-60 laps into the first run and hopefully have an idea of where to go and that it isn’t so bad that you can’t adjust on your car.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO TALLADEGA BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTIES WITH THE DIFFERENT PACKAGE -- “I am at Richmond, I have no comments on Talladega. I have no idea. You just show up and see how it develops. That is really all you can do is show up for a weekend and see how it develops and go from there but right now we are just worried about Richmond.”

POST RACE QUOTES

MATT TIFFT, No. 36 The Pete Store Ford Mustang - Qualified 20th
“That is our first time this year we have made the second round. That was big for us. We feel like we unloaded decent today. We got to loose in the second round to get the time we needed there. I feel like we could have been a little better there if we had gotten more grip. It has been pretty decent so far. We ran well at Phoenix, another flat track, so hoping to build on that and have another good weekend here.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang - Qualified 16th
“We all knew that the track was going to be really fast to start. There was no rubber on it. Every time at Richmond in practice if you are the first 10 cars out you are always fast. Luckily we had a good draw for the first run out and that really helped us and benefited us to be in the top-five in the first round. The second round we just missed it. We weren’t great in practice. I knew at some point we would slide back a little. We were hoping to make the final round but we just missed it a little bit. We were a little too tight.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang - Qualified 4th
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE FIVE MINUTE CLOCK?
“It was short. I think here it is not really a necessary thing because cars wanted to go out early and it doesn't allow teams to cool off and go back out in the same round to improve their time. I think you actually kind of lose a little bit of the drama of a car going back out and can that car knock the car that is on the bubble out. There is no time to cool off and do that. By the time you run two or three laps you have killed maybe two minutes. You come in and cool off and it takes two or three-minutes and you are out of time. It doesn't add up to do that. I thought it was okay. It didn’t bother us.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE FOR THE RACE? “I think we are good. I think we are pretty good. I think we have something to race with. Not much practice on the long runs but from what I felt, I think we are close.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang -Qualified 9th
“I felt like that went okay. I felt like the car is a little faster than what we just showed. We just got a little too tight there at the end and loose on exit which is normal. Everyone is chasing something different. I feel like the speed of the car is pretty good so far today and I feel like we are a little better. Hopefully we can show that tomorrow night.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Get Grilling Ford Mustang - Qualified 15th
“I don't think it was any more frantic. Obviously it was a little bit more compact and not as much of an opportunity to get spread out and get a clean lap. There were definitely a lot of cars on the race track at one time. Obviously we still run by ourselves here. It is a short track and we want clean air and we want to be able to get a clean lap. I thought this was pretty status quo as far as qualifying is concerned.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang - Qualified 13th
“The way the sport used to be you would do one lap and you either made it or you didn’t. You screwed up the one lap or you didn’t. The five-minute rounds, it is nice having it like that again and having that one opportunity to go out. You have to make sure you hit all your marks. There are no redo’s. I thought it was cool.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang - Qualified 12th
“I had no problem with the format. It is going to have strengths and weaknesses. Tracks where it is good and tracks where it is bad. It is hard to put a one-size fits all package on this, that is for sure and optimize it. I thought today went pretty well though. I think this can work on short tracks. It seems good.”  

DID YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES WITH CARS IN THE WAY? “No. it was a little crowded but not bad.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang - Qualified 29th
“No grip. That was the biggest thing. The race track had no rubber on it from all the rain and we waited to be one of the last cars out and that didn’t work out too well. That is the way it goes. I thought the race car was good today. Hopefully we can drive up through the field and get a win for MoneyLion and Ford.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Roush Performance Ford Mustang - Qualified 31st
WAS IT SPEED OR DID YOU NOT GET A CLEAN LAP?
“Little bit of both. It actually drove pretty good and we typically lack some short run speed here. At least I do with the setup that we run. We will take the Roush Performance Ford and go back to the trailer and look at where we were and see how we can get better compared to the other cars. It isn’t really going to change anything. It is what it is for now. I think I should have just stayed in my bus.”