Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/19/14
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David Gilliland posted the second fastest lap time in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup practice prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500. Gilliland and other Ford Racing drivers talked about their final time on the track prior to the Great American Race and a myriad of other topics. DAVID GILLILAND, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion THAT WAS A FAST PRACTICE FOR YOU OUT THERE. “Yeah, really fast. We had some brake issues in the 150 that were hurting us a little bit and we also somehow got some damage on the left front fender of the nose. We had to fix that all up. Frank has our Love’s Travel Stop Ford really fast and we have had great speed. A lot of cars were having a problem hanging on. We did the other day and we had some other issues that we feel like contributed to that. We got back and we were the last car and able to hang onto the groove. We got out front and we were the lead car too and at times we were running times as fast as anybody leading a pack has run. I have a lot of confidence in our car. We have it driving a lot better than we were and I can’t wait until Sunday. I think we have as good a shot to win the Daytona 500 as anybody.” YOU HAVE HAD SUCCESS HERE BEFORE. HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES THAT GIVE YOU? “I think I finished second in the Bud Shootout here once and we have been on the pole and finished third and fourth in the 500. Hopefully we can get a win here. I feel like we can. I feel like our team is capable of doing it and obviously it is 500 miles at Daytona but it is a great feeling going into the race knowing that Bob Jenkins and everybody have really put a lot into our program over the winter. I feel like my teammates, David Ragan and Josh Wise, all of our cars are really fast and it is a great feeling.” YOU HAVE BEEN HERE A FEW WEEKS NOW. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT TOMORROW YET? “I think we have an idea yeah. I have a good idea I think. We will just have to wait and see. I think you will see a lot of green-flag racing and I feel like you can’t just get behind. In the past you could fall back and ride and stay out of trouble but now I think you risk that chance of getting a lap down and nobody wants that. Pit stops are going to play into it and hopefully your car is handling good enough that you don’t have to take tires and you can gain position by just taking fuel. We saw a lot of guys in the duels that came in and took tires or locked up their brakes getting in and had to take four tires and they would be half a track behind. Seeing all that, we can play our pit strategy and work at that.” BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion WOULD YOU HAVE HAD A DIFFICULT TIME SLEEPING TONIGHT HAD YOU NOT RUN IN PRACTICE TODAY? “If I had it my way we would run every day, every lap, every pack – go. You can’t win these races scared. You have to go out there and put it all out on the line. That is what I would do if I had the choice. Now obviously there is a lot of work that goes into it. When you are the guys that work on the cars they can probably be a little more prepared if I give them some time off to work on it. You have to kind of balance that and that is why you have a crew chief because he can balance it for me.” THERE ARE DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES AMONG DRIVERS REGARDING ROUTINE. WHAT IS ONE UNIQUE ROUTINE YOU LIKE TO DO INSIDE THE CAR? “I don’t do any weird stuff. I heard Jeff Burton has a pee bottle though. You should ask him about that. I have always heard that rumor. I don’t think I have any weird things. I just like to have a trail mix bar and a little bottle of water. That does me good. Simple is good.” ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion YOUR TEAM OWNER RICHARD PETTY HAS WON THIS RACE SEVEN TIMES. DO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF SPECTACLE WHEN YOU COME DOWN HERE? “Yeah, I do. First and foremost I grew up two hours from here so I sat in those grandstands quite a few times and watched the Daytona 500 and the Firecracker 400. I watched a lot of races here and always dreamed of what it would be like to drive a race car around here. Now I get to drive the 43 car in the Daytona 500. I am so excited to have Smithfield on board for this weekend. We are excited about this weekend and feel like we have a good car and we got it driving good in that last practice session. The guys are getting it ready for the 500.” CAN THE KING GIVE YOU ANY SOLID ADVICE YOU CAN USE DURING THE RACE? “He gives me a lot of advice. He has done it for so long and been around the sport so long and seen so many different scenarios and things play out that he is just a book of knowledge. When he speaks you listen. We went to dinner last night. We had a sponsor dinner and I sat next to him and he was bending on my ear pretty good about what I need to work on for tomorrow.” JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion HOW HAS SPEEDWEEKS BEEN WITH THE TRANSITION FROM GIBBS TO PENSKE? “It has gone really smooth. I couldn’t really come to a better race track for your first race. Believe it or not it is kind of a light schedule with a lot of time to debrief with your guys and it is kind of a good warmup for next week at Phoenix when we will be thrashing through the whole practice. Today we did a couple runs just to make sure things were good. It changes up a bunch for next week.” HAVE YOU MADE PROGRESS ON YOUR CAR FOR TOMORROW? “Yeah I think our Shell Pennzoil Fusion is ready to go. We changed the motor last night and went out there to make sure there were no vibrations and that we could get on and off pit road good. We put some fresh Pennzoil in her, loaded her up and locked her down. We are ready to go.” WILL IT BE TOUGH FOR YOU TO FIND YOUR PIT BOARD AFTER FIVE YEARS OF LOOKING FOR AN ORANGE SIGN? “It is funny your brought that up. I was looking at it in the shop and told them to make it bigger so I could see it. I always laugh because the 55 has the biggest pit sign I have ever seen. I want that one. I am pushing for an even bigger one. In this case, bigger is better.” DAVID RAGAN, No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion DOES THIS FALL INTO YOUR DRIVING STYLE TOMORROW? “I don’t know if it does or not. I think everyone is still trying to learn what your limits are and how aggressive you can be. The crew chiefs are still learning what strategies will be best – no tires or how long you can run. I think it is a learning process that will go all the way through the end of the Daytona 500. Our Detail Doctor Ford is pretty fast. We didn’t run many laps today and I didn’t even break a sweat this afternoon. We are ready for the race.” WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU TOMORROW? “I think just managing your expectations throughout the day. I think you will have to be conservative at times but aggressive at the end or maybe right before a pit stop try to get some track position. It looks like track position will be very important. Our crew chiefs will have to be on top of it to make the right calls at the end of the race. You have to kind of work the race backwards and plan for the final 30 laps. That is what will be the most important part. We are ready. We will sleep good tonight. It will be a great 500.” -Ford Racing PR
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