TALLADEGA, Ala. - Michael McDowell’s eighth-place finish led the way for Ford at Talladega Sunday, one of two top-10 Mustangs in what was otherwise a tough-luck day for the Blue Oval.
Kevin Harvick joined McDowell inside the top-10 in 10th while Ryan Blaney (11th) and Aric Almirola (13th) finished just outside.
Reigning Daytona 500 champion Austin Cindric was the next Ford in 21st while six-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski finished 23rd.
Six different Ford’s were collected in accidents throughout the day, including Chase Briscoe and Chris Buescher at the conclusion of Stage 1 and Joey Logano on lap 89 in a multicar crash on a Stage 2 restart which thinned the field of contenders. Logano’s No. 22 Ford was shuffled out of line into the outside retaining wall, bouncing back into traffic and collecting several others.
The NASCAR Cup Series’ next race is scheduled for Sunday, May 1 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Dover Motor Speedway.
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st – Ross Chastain
2nd - Austin Dillon
3rd - Kyle Busch
4th - Kyle Larson
5th - Martin Truex Jr.
6th - Erik Jones
7th - Chase Elliott
8th - Michael McDowell
9th - Alex Bowman
10th - Kevin Harvick
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th - Ryan Blaney
3th - Aric Almirola
21st - Austin Cindric
23rd - Brad Keselowski
24th - David Ragan
25th - JJ Yeley
26th - BJ McLeod
27th - Todd Gilliland
28th - Cody Ware
29th - Cole Custer
32nd - Joey Logano
34th - Harrison Burton
37th - Chase Briscoe
38th - Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang -- Finished 8th
“Unfortunately it wasn’t a great day for us but we salvaged a good finish out of it. We really struggled with just handling today which you wouldn’t think at Talladega. But at the same time, we got ourselves in position there at the end when it counted. I thought with three to go that something was going to happen so I repositioned myself and built a run and was able to weave through there on the last lap. It is just so hard to pass today. It was hard to make moves from sixth or seventh to the lead. In the front row, everybody was just kind of jammed up. It is just a different style of racing even more so here than it was at Daytona with this NextGen car. I have a lot to study and go back and learn and figure out how to make the moves. I am proud of everyone. Coming out of here with a top-10 is a great day. I wish we could have had a shot at it but we just weren’t there at the end.”
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang -- Finished 10th
“We had a good Ford Mustang. We just got a little behind on that last pit sequence and lost some track position. I just would kind of get up halfway and fall back, get up, and fell back. That was just kind of how the day went for us and we made it to the finish.”
Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Wurth Ford Mustang -- Finished 11th
“You can’t pass anybody here anymore. It is hard to pass everywhere but it is the same thing at speedways now. You can’t really make a third lane. I don't know what the problem is with it. I thought we had a decent shot at going but we got stuck when someone jammed it in there three-wide and shuffled us out toward the end and we just couldn’t get it back up there.”
Harrison Burton, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang -- (Involved in lap 89 accident)
“Unfortunately we were just kind of a victim there. I tried to be smart all race and bailed out of a pack for like the first time in my superspeedway career but still found a way to crash. That is frustrating because I always want to try to learn to get better but I don't know what I could have done differently there.”
HOW DIFFERENT WAS THIS FROM DAYTONA?
“Quite a bit different. The top wasn’t quite as fast as it was at Daytona. I felt like when I got out in front at Daytona I wanted to maintain the outside. Here it was like the bottom was chugging along pretty good. It was hard to get runs. The bottom had about 10-15 cars lined up and it was hard to leapfrog all those guys. It was pretty different but at the end, I think it is going to be pretty racey for these guys.”
Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang -- (Involved in lap 89 accident)
WHAT DID YOU FEEL BEHIND THE WHEEL?
“I felt a lot of things that didn’t feel good, I will tell you that much. The car got banged up pretty good there. We were getting pushed back and forth and I was the one that got shuffled to the right and hit the wall and came back in front of the field. That is superspeedway racing.”
WHAT WAS THE INTENSITY LIKE AS FAR AS THE PUSHING?
“Yeah, it is going to happen again. It keeps happening every week and every time we come to a superspeedway and it is going to happen again here in a little bit. Hopefully everyone stays okay.”
Chris Buescher, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang -- (Involved in lap 57 accident)
“That is speedway racing I guess. We were running there at the tail end of that lead group and it felt like we had time to react. I saw a car hit the apron and I am not exactly sure what happened. The last I saw they were straight and I didn’t expect anything. I don't really know what happened as we were going by. Someone got clipped and I think we hit the 14 really hard. I am glad to see him out here walking. I am not even sure who the other car was. That is a bummer to be out that early for something as goofy as that.”
HOW WAS THE STABILITY FOR YOU GUYS?
“The car bounced a little bit and the ride qualifying is a little rough but our group did a really good job of getting a good balance in the race car. We had a lot of speed, we were just trying to find a way to go and trying to be patient and trying to work with Brad some and some of the other Fords to try to find our way and learn. We weren’t being aggressive at all yet, so it is definitely a bummer.”
Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang -- (Involved in lap 57 accident)
“Just towards the end of the stage and we were trying to get stage points because at the end of this deal you never know what can happen. That is not normally the mentality I would go with. I normally try to ride around and wait until the end. It seems like we always get so desperate towards the end of the stages. I felt like if I could ge to the bottom I could get to eighth or ninth if I was lucky. Looking back that obviously wasn’t the right decision. The 16, I don't know what happened to him. I know I got into the back of somebody and then the 16, I saw him on the apron and he kind of landed in my lap when I came back across the race track. It was a hard hit but I feel a lot better than I thought I was going to when I saw the hit coming. All good. Unfortunate to kind of have a huge hole points-wise now. I guess we go to Dover next week and see if we can have a better result.”
IT LOOKED LIKE A “GETTY-UP” RACE TRACK OUT THERE:
“Yeah, it was going to be fun I thought. I felt like the cars were way more stable than Daytona so you could get way more aggressive. It was weird, you couldn’t build runs. I was hitting the rev limiter anytime I had a run at all. It was going to be really hard to develop a huge run.”
In the Xfinity NASCAR Series, Ryan Sieg finished 4th to lead Ford. Riley Herbst (7th) and Joe Graff Jr. (8th) made it three Mustangs in the top-10. Ford is 3rd in the manufacturer’s standings, trailing 2nd-place Toyota by 19 points. The Xfinity Series resumes next Saturday (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Dover Motor Speedway.