Ford Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Gander Outdoors 400 Advance (Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE.)
Friday, October 5, 2018
Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano are two of Ford’s seven drivers competing in the Round of 12 opener this weekend at Dover. Both drivers came into the infield media center before practice to talk about advancing and their hopes for this weekend.
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion – NASCAR announced the rules package for 2019. Can slower be better? “Yeah, it can be. I think it’s good. They adjusted it from the All-Star package. I thought the All-Star package was too slow, so it’s nice they added some horsepower back to the mile-and-a-halves, and then staying the same at the short tracks and road courses, so that’s nice, but we’ll see. I thought the All-Star package had some bright spots in it and I thought they could make some improvements to some things and I think they did that. I feel like the racing will be better than we even saw it at the All-Star Race because the teams can have more time with the cars and understand them more and NASCAR can test them and all sorts of things, so we’ll just see how it goes. I think it’s gonna be fine. You don’t bash anything. I think it’s gonna be fine, so I’m excited to see what it’s like. If we can get a couple tests here in the off-season, which I’m sure there will be, and then the first race with that package – it doesn’t have the ducts in them – is Atlanta, so we’lll see what comes of it. But I’m all for it. I know we talked about it a lot in the Driver Council deal and the RTA has been part of it, and I feel like we all kind of came to a conclusion and that’s what they went with. I’m behind it 100 percent, so we’ll see how it does.”
WHAT HAS THE LAST WEEK BEEN LIKE? “You do a few media things and you have fun Sunday night. It was nice to have the whole 12 team out and brought some really good business to this good bar I go to in Mooresville, so that was nice. But, honestly, on Monday we do our victory deal at the race shop with every single Team Penske employee, and then Tuesday and really even after that deal on Monday you’re already looking forward to Dover. It’s good to celebrate these wins, but then you’re focused on the next week, so there has just been a couple more things to do and you see everybody in the shop. They’re really excited, so it’s nice to see their faces, but you’re focused immediately on the next round, the next race and trying to do it again.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TALLADEGA NEXT WEEKEND? “I haven’t really put a ton of thought into it. It’s really kind of all been just this weekend at Dover, but I think the Penske cars and Ford in general has been really, really fast at speedways. Penske cars, for sure, over the past three or four years, it’s been fun to be a part of. Everything is up in the air there. Things can go wrong for you and it’s not your fault, but I think our cars have been really fast for us to be able to try and control most of the race. I feel like sometimes we’ve all been able to get three or four of our cars with the 21 car up there and kind of control everything, so that’s what you want. You want to be able to run your race and lead lanes and kind of make the lanes do what you want and if you show up there with a fast enough car, more than likely you’re gonna have a lot of help just because people want to go with a fast car. That’s been a luxury we’ve had here over the last few years and hopefully we can do it again. I don’t really see them slowing down, but I think all the Fords in general work really well with each other, so we’ll see what we can do. It’ll be just another Talladega. I don’t dislike the place.
“I personally enjoy speedway racing, so you just try to, like I said, be able to control the race by running up front. I think that’s the best spot to be to try to stay out of trouble and things like that, but you never know what could happen.”
DID YOU HAVE INPUT AS A YOUNG DRIVER WITH THE NEW RULES PACKAGE? “In our driver council meetings there is a mixture. There are a couple of us young ones – myself and William Byron is in it. Logano, you can count him as a young, middle-aged man (laughter), but Kyle Busch and Harvick and Keselowski, McMurray, Truex – people who have been around the sport for awhile – and I think that’s how they want it to be. You want a good mixture of experience and you give your input. My input might be a little bit less than let’s say a Kevin or Keselowski, but they listen to everybody and you can’t be afraid to voice your opinions. It’s not like they’re ever gonna look at you like you’re stupid because there’s no such thing as a dumb question or a dumb idea in that we’re all just spit-balling ways to try and make the sport better. Yeah, I might have a little bit less things to say than some other ones, but that’s just kind of how I’ve always been.”
YOU GUYS KNOW EVERY POINT IS CRUCIAL SO IS EVERYBODY EVEN MORE FOCUSED ON THAT COMING INTO THIS RACE? “You scrap for every point you can in every race. You look back on it and it’s pretty incredible that we’ve had three races in the first round and all those stage points that go into it and it came down to a three-way tie at the end. That’s pretty remarkable. I had no idea about that until a little bit after the race, but that just shows how important every spot is no matter if it’s at the end of the race or in stage one or stage two. There are so many spots to gain points nowadays or lose points in this system we’re in that every point definitely matters. Everyone obviously goes for as many points as they can in the stages and at the end of the race, but it just shows how close the competition is and how tight everything can be, and it shows that it can go from a really good day to a really bad day or vice versa. That’s why you see really hard racing in these Playoffs because of the stage points and how everything can play out. You just try to get everything you can. I think that’s why it’s really improved the excitement of racing, I think every week, but in the Playoffs for sure because every spot counts, obviously.”
YOU WERE PLAYFULLY MIFFED THAT A MEDIA OUTLET DIDN’T HAVE YOU GOING ON TO THE ROUND OF 12. DOES THE WIN STAMP YOU AS MORE OF A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER? “Yeah, to be honest with you I had a few to drink that night when I said that. I saw that and it rubbed me the wrong way and I was just messing around. I don’t know if it really ups us a being a championship favorite. Just because you win a race, and the circumstances that we won the race in we weren’t the best race car that weekend, last week, but I don’t really think it elevates us or hurts us winning that race as far as the outside kind of sees. I feel like it’s more of a confidence-builder inside the 12 team and inside our whole group that really gets everyone fired up, and big momentum for our team. I wouldn’t say we’re a championship favorite. I’d say we’re in the hunt and honestly we’ve been in the hunt all year.
“I feel like we’ve kind of been on the cusp of being right there where we need to be just finding that little bit more from the speed standpoint of the race car and myself, but I think we’re close. I don’t think we’re a favorite, but I think we’re getting close to where we need to be, which is nice to see the progress that we’ve had throughout the year. It’s really been fun to be a part of and witness in person.”
WHERE ON THE TRACK ARE YOU FINDING THE MOST SPEED IN YOUR CARS? “I think everywhere. You find little things all the time from a little bit in the wind tunnel to new mechanical grip that you find as far as just new parts and pieces that maybe are lighter or do their job a little bit better. I think it’s everything. You never really find huge chunks of speed throughout the year. It’s just always a little bit here and there, but a little bit goes a really long way when you’re going that fast and when you’re that aero dependent and things like that. I can’t really point out anything specifically, it’s just little things all over the place from aero to mechanical grip and we find horsepower too. Roush Yates constantly finds a little bit more, a little bit more horsepower, whether it’s strictly power or maybe they save a little bit of weight somewhere in their block or something like that. It’s everything, so you’re just constantly searching for ways. It’s a little bit of everything.”
HOW HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JOSH WILLIAMS EVOLVED? “I got running with Josh in 2015. He was AJ Allmendinger’s spotter in 2014 and he was looking to do something different and 2015 is when I was gonna run like 15 races on the Cup side, so Joey Meier used to spot for me in XFINITY and Trucks and obviously that wasn’t gonna work anymore if I was doing that many Cup races and you want someone who you can try to build the relationship with, so I sat down with Josh and I didn’t really know him at all. We had lunch together and he seemed like a really calm guy. His dad has been around this sport for a long time and it just kind of clicked and has been really fun to work with him pretty much my whole Cup career. He’s a great person who understands this sport, is a heck of a golfer for those who don’t know. He tried to teach me and I’m unteachable on that side of it, but it’s been a lot of fun to get to know him and get to work with him both years. I really don’t plan on doing anything different as far as the spotter aspect. That’s going well.”
HOW MUCH MONEY HAS HE TAKEN FROM YOU ON THE GOLF COURSE? “Zero, because I’m not stupid enough to bet with a pro, pretty much. He was a pro golfer.”
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THIS NEXT ROUND? “I think just being consistent. We had a pretty good run at this track earlier this year. We’ve always run decent here, we haven’t really led a lot of laps here, but we’ve kind of been running in that fifth to eighth range here for the last year or so, and we did that in the first race here. I think we ran eighth or something, but I think it’s just trying to be consistent throughout the whole race. I think that’s really important in these Playoffs and the reason why you want to be consistent is obviously the stage points and you want to be able to get stage points in every round or every stage, I should say, and finish the race where you should up towards the front of the field. The same thing goes at Talladega.
“People focus on just not getting in the big one, and that’s a big part of it, but you’ve got to get stage points at that place. You can’t go to Talladega or these speedways and not get any stage points. That’s a killer to your day. We did that a couple times. We didn’t get any stage points at Richmond and we finished 19th and that was a brutal hit to the points that we were in in the first round, so you really can’t have that and especially when you start moving on in the rounds and the championship field gets smaller and smaller. You’ve got to get stage points and finish well, so I think just being consistent is the biggest thing we have to do and obviously staying out of trouble.”