Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/1/14
CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING THE POLE AND QUALIFYING FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE NEXT YEAR. TALK ABOUT THAT LAP OUT THERE TODAY. “I was about to start lobbying to see if you would let me drive the pace car or something in that race. That is like our third or fourth pole of the season and it is nice to finally get my picture taken with Miss Coors Light. First I have to thank the guys that put that car together. We have been working very hard as a team, as a group, from Jack Roush and everybody we have been working hard. Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse, the guys at RPM and even the guys at Penske. We have been trying to figure out how to turn the corner with these Ford Fusions and make them faster. This weekend Doug Yates and the guys at Roush Yates engines have turned a corner. We have really great horsepower and I can’t wait to race this race car. It is a big day. I spent a lot of time at Ford yesterday and Edsel Ford actually let me drive Sweepstakes, the car that Henry Ford won Ford Racing’s first race with in 1901. They say only eight or nine people have driven that car in 100 years and that was really neat and inspiring and hopefully we can get their 1,000th win on Sunday. It is a big weekend and hopefully we can pull all the way through and get a win.” WHAT THINGS DID YOU GUYS DO TO IMPROVE ON THE SPEED? “One week ago we talked about at Roush Fenway things we needed to do better as a group and working with the folks at Penske and we just started this ball rolling. We just talked yesterday about it up at Ford World Headquarters. This is one lap and it is good. I am really happy. The process that is going to put us out in front of Hendrick Motorsports and the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing and the rest of these guys every Sunday, that process is just starting. We can use this, these positive things like pole position and hopefully a win and Greg’s run last week, we can use these things to move forward and gain faith in a better process and I think that is going to be great. The engine is a big part of it and today the engine group came through huge. You can’t hide a bad engine out there on that racetrack. That is a big racetrack where big power means something and same thing with the aero program. We have to keep moving forward but that is cool. There is not a faster car in the place than our car today and that is a big deal.” IS THERE ANYTHING FROM TODAY THAT WILL CARRY OVER TO SUNDAY? “We ran race trim for the first couple of runs today and we learned a little bit but I think that it is going to be a lot different in the race. That is why today is great and I am celebrating today but we have some work to do and I think tomorrow you will see a lot of guys pick up a lot of time. This new car is so fast here and has so much grip. When you pull the tape off the cars you have to really make the car work. Having that tape on there with all that downforce can make the car feel really good and make it go for a lap but it will be a tough race. I think if it goes long green flag then none of us know how the tire will act and you have to be able to adjust on your car as well. The race will be different and hopefully we can master that whole problem and go to victory lane. That would be huge.” DO YOU SENSE THAT DESPITE THE ROUSH ORGANIZATION NOT BEING DOMINANT HERE RECENTLY THAT MAYBE THE SWITCH IS ABOUT TO FLIP AND YOU GUYS GET THAT BACK HERE? “The first couple of laps in practice today were the most competitive first few laps of practice I have had in a long time at a big racetrack. I think that is good. But you just never know. Until the race starts you really don’t know what you’ve got. I think tomorrow we will know more at the end of the day. If we are a tenth faster or if Greg is a tenth faster then we will feel really good. Until then you just don’t know. A real positive for us was Greg’s second place run last week. That was huge. We led a couple laps at the beginning and then fell back but to watch Greg be able to go by guys, I don’t know if anyone had something for the 48 but to me, Greg’s run last week says more about our organization and ability than even this pole position here. That is something that got me real excited. He was able to just drive up and drive by those guys, especially on the restarts. At a place like Pocono you have to have your stuff together and your car has to be really good to do that.” TELL US ABOUT SWEEPSTAKES AND WHERE YOU TOOK IT, WHAT YOU GOT IT UP TO AND IF YOU HAD ANY PROBLEMS OR GOT CROSSED UP AT ALL. “Let me tell you about Sweepstakes. If you guys get a change to go over there to the Henry Ford and the museum they have at Greenfield Village is amazing. The way I understand it, Henry Ford was living with his dad and had a failed automobile business when this race came about. It was a 10-lap race on a one-mile dirt oval. They built this car which is just amazing. We got it up to maybe 20 or 25 miles per hour driving on the road there and they said it would go 73 miles per hour in 1901. It was scarier driving that thing 25 miles per hour than it was driving the corner here at 205. Those guys were brave. The neatest thing about that which I didn’t know until I talked with Edsel Ford and the guys there is that if it weren’t for winning that race, Ford Motor Company as we know it might not exist. For him to risk everything and build this race car and go out and race it and win and be able to put together investors for Ford Motor Company was huge. We talk about racing and Ford, they have been racing since day one and racing is what got the company started. It was an educational experience, it was inspiring and humbling to sit in that driver’s seat and think of Henry Ford racing that thing with basically everything in his life hinging on if he won. It is pretty amazing.” WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT RACING HERE? “There are a few things I like about racing at Michigan. The first is that it is the site of my first Sprint Cup start, a huge day for me personally. I will never forget when they said ‘Gentlemen start your engines.’ That was one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever had in a race car. That is really big for me. The second thing is that every win we have here is special. It is really special to stand in victory lane here with Jack Roush. A lot of you guys know him personally and if you don’t you should take a moment and talk with him because he is a true American hero. He is a guy that has risked everything and built his company and provided a living for thousands of people. This is his backyard and there is a lot of pride when he wins here. It means a lot to him. To be part of those wins with Jack is huge. And for Ford, Ford puts a lot into this. Mr. Mulally, Jim Farley, Edsel Ford, a lot of those guys will be here on Sunday and they like to win. If you can do that for them it is very special. Not to mention the new track is super fun to race on. The pavement seems like it has aged more in a year than a lot of new track surfaces have and hopefully we can keep developing a Goodyear tire and keep making it softer and softer to where it becomes the old Michigan here in a year or two. I think that is going to be awesome.” JIMMY FENNIG MENTIONED A RUN YOU TOOK BEFORE QUALIFYING. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? “Yeah, so I went to go for a run and I hadn’t done this in a long time but as soon as I shut the door on the rental car I realized I locked the keys in it. So I realized I had about an hour and twenty minutes to get back to the track before qualifying. I called Randy and he came to pick me up. Randy, he has what we call “Fuller Dust”, he can fix anything. We pull out of the parking lot and we have someone arranged to come with a tow truck and it will cost 80 bucks to get this car unlocked. He is like, “Ah, if we can just find a police officer, they have slim-jims’. Then we drove by a used car lot and I thought for sure those guys could get into the car. Randy went in and the guy came out with a crowbar and some coat hangers and so we went and broke into this car. We got the keys and made it back. It was good. It kept my mind off the stress of qualifying. It was a little adventure. Jimmy says I should go running more often. If he had known how close I was to not making it back I don’t think he would say that.” IS THERE ANY VIDEO OF YOU WITH SWEEPSTAKES? “We filmed the Sweepstakes and when I got to find it. I am not sure where it will be. I think it will be on FordRacing.com. It was really neat. It was really very cool.” WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU LOCKED THE KEYS IN THE CAR? “Just up the road. I would rather not say exactly where we got the keys out, I mean I don’t want to call the guy out, I mean he did use a crowbar to break into the car. I didn’t ask him now he knew how to do that so well.” I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOCK KEYS IN A CAR NOWADAYS? “That is what I thought too. It even had the little pad on the side but the rental car company did not know the code to get in it. They didn’t have a spare key either. So I was kinda stuck. I am just furthering the belief that drivers can’t take care of themselves. I have people coming to help me all the time, so that isn’t good. Randy says that is job security.” -Ford Racing PR
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