Marcos Ambrose led the way for the Ford Racing drivers by qualifying 5th for the Finger Lakes 355 At The Glen from Watkins Glen International. The next highest Ford driver was Michael McDowell in 11th place, a great run for a team that normally parks races. Greg Biffle (15th) and Carl Edwards (18th) were the only other Ford drivers in the top 20. Below is reactions from those Ford Racing drivers and others.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “It wasn’t very good. We’ve just been off from our teammates quite a bit and just kind of missed the balance there. We were really loose and couldn’t get any more speed out of it than that.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I got loose down in the carousel and a little bit loose off of one. There were just little bits and pieces everywhere that cost me probably a half-second. That’s slower than we went in practice, but other guys still have to do it and it’s warming up, so we’ll see.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “I made a mistake in turn six and just didn’t quite have enough rear grip there. That’s OK. We’ve got a great race car and we’ll just play the strategy game and see what comes out of it. I feel great about tomorrow. I feel really good about it.” ANYTHING CARRY OVER FROM LAST YEAR? “Yeah, quite a lot. We’re not too far from where we were last year. Obviously, they’ve changed the rules some on the rear roll bar and side skirts, so we’ve made some adjustments to it, but we were still too free there for that hot track.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “I like driving here a lot. I just screwed up and got loose in qualifying, but I love racing here. It’s really fun and I’m excited about both races.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Scorpion Coatings/Al’s Liners Ford Fusion – “I have a blast at these road courses. I wish we had a little bit more practice and we as a smaller team could go and test a little bit more. I feel like the more laps I run the better I get throughout the weekend. That qualifying run was our best lap so far, but it’s still off to what we need to be running. We have to have a little different mentality at the road courses and try to stay on the track all day, try to take care of my brakes, transmission and engine. We’re not gonna have the pure speed to go up there and battle for the win, so we’ve got to race with a little different strategy. I’m having a good time. You always wish you could go faster, but that was a pretty smooth lap even though I left a little bit on the table.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Mod Space Ford Fusion – “We’ve struggled with brake issues all weekend and didn’t have a chance to change them before qualifying, so that got us. We’ve got all new stuff to put on for the race and hopefully it will be better. The car is good. The balance is good, but part of road racing is stopping and we can’t stop right now. Hopefully, we can make it better.”
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “Coming road course racing my expectations are a moving target. I think coming here my qualifying lap I tried to make no mistakes. I know it’s easy to overdrive some of the corners and make mistakes and give up a lot of time, so I was probably a little under-aggressive and that probably hurt our lap time.”
CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “We ended up too loose. We’ve been marginal with rear grip anyway but we’ve been making it through OK. I think this morning with the cool conditions the track had enough grip in it to where the rear end was holding pretty well. With the track getting a little warmer this afternoon we just didn’t have enough rear grip. I’m pretty proud of the guys. We’re in the hunt. I know if we would have had the balance right we would have been right where we needed to be. I’m not really happy with the qualifying run, but we know we have better potential. At least I didn’t get out of the car and say, ‘That’s all we have.’ There is definitely a lot more there if we would have been tighter, so I’m excited about our chances this weekend.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 TRAQM Ford Fusion – “I know there are a lot of good cars to go still, but that was a very good effort. I made a tiny mistake, which is why I’m a little bit bummed, but everybody worked hard on the 98 car. This is not a road-course particular car. It’s a short-track car that we converted over, so it’s a really good effort for us.”
SCOTT SPEED – No. 95 TWD Ford Fusion – “It’s what we can do. I wish I could push harder, but you’ve just got to be smart about it. I think our race car is really good, though. I’m really excited for tomorrow, but qualifying is always depressing for us when we leave because I know I can’t quite give it 100 percent. In any case, I’m happy with the car.” IS IT NICE TO HAVE 43 CARS HERE AND NO STRESS OF MAKING THE RACE? “Yes, and normally that would be the case, but if I wreck the car you still have to change things and you still don’t win. I guess you could make a bigger mistake, but you still have to be smart about it.”
JOSH WISE – No. 26 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “I definitely enjoy road racing. I wish I could get a little more seat time to get really good at it, but that wasn’t too bad. I didn’t get to make a mock run in practice and only got five laps, so I didn’t really have any kind of rhythm. We just put some stickers on and went out and went as hard as I could. I knew I would make some little mistakes and I definitely did, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
FORD QUALIFYING RESULTS:
5th – Marcos Ambrose
11th – Michael McDowell
15th – Greg Biffle
18th – Carl Edwards
21st – Scott Speed
24th – Matt Kenseth
25th – Boris Said
29th – Aric Almirola
30th – Casey Mears
32nd – David Ragan
34th – David Gilliland
38th – Josh Wise
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