News Center
News Center

Edwards Leads Ford Qualifiers For Sunday's Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race

·         After winning 10 of the first 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from 1993-2004, Ford Racing has managed only one victory since then in the last 15 races.
·         Greg Biffle owns that win as he captured the first race of the Chase in 2008. Biffle is the only active Ford driver to win a NSCS race at New Hampshire.
·         Mark Martin won the first NSCS pole in NHMS history in 1993 while driving the No. 6 Ford.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion, is looking to rebound after an 18th-place finish last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, due in part to a broken shock that needed to be fixed. Kenseth spoke about his expectations for this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before Friday’s practice session.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “We’re just gonna do the best we can this weekend. It’s been a track that has not been real good for us as far as performance and really finishing position, so we’ll work as hard as we can to get the best finish we can and see how it goes.”
WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF THE TRACK FOR YOU? “It’s kind of normal short track stuff, except for here it just seems like we struggle a lot to get the front end of our car to turn and still have any kind of rear grip so we can get it really loose in and off, but we just really struggle getting it to turn in the middle.”
DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING BRINGING YOUR RICHMOND CAR HERE? “No, it doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t have any special cars right now that I feel are a lot better than any other one, so it doesn’t really mean a lot to me.”
DOES LAST WEEK’S RESULT CHANGE HOW YOU LOOK AT THIS WEEK? DO YOU GAMBLE MORE, LESS, NOT AT ALL? “I don’t think it really changes a lot. I think you go out every week and do all the things you can do to try to win. I don’t think you really have to change that strategy a whole bunch. There are very few instances where that changes. If you can make it on fuel mileage because you think it might go green to the end, and you’re the only one that pits or something goofy like that, but, other than that, beside pit strategy gambles, I don’t think there’s anything different you do anyway.”
WOULD YOU BE MORE LIKELY TO GAMBLE PIT STRATEGY-WISE CONSIDERING YOUR SITUATION? “I don’t know. You always try to do the best you can with it with the idea of trying to win every week. I don’t think that ever changes. You never try to call a race or drive a race car or do any of that to lose or not get a better position, so I think you always try to get the best shot that you think you can for that particular day to get a win.”
LOOKING TO DOVER. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES THERE? “Dover has been one of our better tracks historically. It doesn’t mean anything for next time. We haven’t been really dominant there, but we’ve been able to get some top-fives there the last few times we’ve been there, which is good, but we still need to be a little better there too. The 48, I think, has been pretty dominant there these last two or three races, so we’ve got a little work to do there, but it’s definitely one of our better tracks.”
IS TALLADEGA ANOTHER PLACE YOU COULD POSSIBLY GAIN SOME GROUND? “Yeah, you hope so. Anything can happen at Talladega. Everybody views it as a wild card because you can crash and a lot of stuff can happen, but certainly the first three plate races we’ve been pretty dominant and hopefully we can do that again and get a finish.”
DO YOU HAVE A NUMBER YOU LOOK AT INTO THE CHASE AS FAR AS THE AVERAGE FINISH YOU’RE TARGETING? “Not at all. I know we’ve got to have something to talk about, but it’s impossible to predict. You’ve just got to be better than everybody else is and what it takes for the championship is to have more points than the other 11 guys, so it’s really dependent on what they do, so I think you just take it one week at a time. I think the whole Chase field is really competitive. Most of them are gonna be up in the top 10 or top 15 every week, so you’ve got to go out there and run hard and try to get the best finish you can.”
IS THIS PLACE A LITTLE MORE IMPORTANT TO QUALIFY WELL AT CONSIDERING IT’S SO HARD TO PASS HERE? “Yeah, I think that’s important. I’ve never really qualified well here, so I’m a bad one to ask, but certainly it is hard to pass and the closer you are to the front anytime you’re in a race, the better off you are.”
DENNY HAMLIN CALLED HIS SHOT AND SAID HE’S GOING TO WIN THIS WEEK. HAVE YOU EVER DONE SOMETHING LIKE THAT? “No, not at all. That works really good for some people and not as good for others. I’m one of those guys that really doesn’t like to make predictions, especially winning ones, because you either say, ‘Oh, OK he said that,’ or else it’s disappointment, so I’ve never been like that. Some people are like that and it works out really well for them, it builds confidence and all that. I’ve just never been like that. I like to try to do it first or else I just end up disappointed.”

5th – Carl Edwards
13th – Greg Biffle
19th – Aric Almirola
21st – Marcos Ambrose
25th – Matt Kenseth
26th – David Ragan
27th – Scott Speed
31st – Michael McDowell
37th – David Gilliland
38th – Kelly Bires
46th – Mike Olsen
47th – Josh Wise (DNQ)
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We had a pretty good lap with our Aflac Fusion, which is very good, and now we just go race. We’ll tune in the race car tomorrow in practice, but the track is very fast right now. We’re hoping that holds up for a top-five, but there are some guys that are really, really fast, so the race is gonna be a hard battle.” WITH PASSING BEING SO TOUGH HERE HOW PLEASED ARE YOU TO BE STARTING UP FRONT? “That’s good. I think I could have done a little better job on the second lap. I just about wrecked into turn three. I got real excited and went in too deep, so it’s not a bad qualifying effort for us. We’ve had some bad ones here and this is pretty good. I’m proud of all the guys. They did a good job.”
CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “We had some issues in practice with a small wire connection we had a really hard time finding. We missed about an hour of practice, so we only got the last 20-25 minutes. That kind of threw us a little bit of a curve ball today, but the guys did a good job. We definitely have a better car than we had here last time. We brought a little bit different concept and they did a really good job.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “We made a little progress in practice, but it’s still not where we want to be or need to be. This is probably one of the more difficult tracks for me and just getting the balance that I need to go fast here is what we’ve struggled with, so that’s what we’re still working on.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Shriner’s Hospital for Children Ford Fusion – “We had a decent qualifying effort and race in the spring until we had an engine let go late in the race, so we didn’t get a finish that we deserved. So far this time we’ve had some decent speed. We’ve worked on it a little bit trying to help the balance, but the car has been OK. We picked up a little bit in qualifying and I’m looking forward to a fun race on Sunday.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion – “That’s about how we usually do in qualifying. In practice we had a couple of race runs where it seemed like the car was a little bit better than what we’ve been, but we’re just slow. We didn’t work on qualifying a lot, but on our first qualifying run we were too loose and slow, and then on the second one we were pretty neutral and not very fast. Then we were a little too tight and we were about the same speed in the high twenties, so it’s just been a struggle.”
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Trim Fit Ford Fusion – “We were just a little bit too loose right there. We were a little bit tight in practice, so we tried to free it up and we freed it up a little bit too much. That’s all right. We’ll work on it in race trim tomorrow and get a good car for Sunday. Todd Parrott and all the guys on this Trim Fit Ford Fusion have worked really hard and I think our car is pretty good.”
JOSH WISE – No. 26 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “That run was pretty good. We tried some different stuff with the car this time and I think we found something, so it’s good to be able to find new things that can help our teammates. We might have a little something here, so we’ll just see how race practice goes tomorrow. It will be fun.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford Fusion – “I’m always glad to make a race. It’s a tight go-or-go home field here at New Hampshire with 47 cars, so only a couple tenths, give or take, and you’re in or out. We put in a solid lap. I overdrove the second lap a little bit, but once I was locked in on that first lap I got excited and thought I could get a little bit more. Gene Nead and all the guys on this Phil Parsons 98 car do a great job every weekend and to constantly be one of the quickest go-or-go homers is very important to us and something we strive for.”
SCOTT SPEED – No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales Ford Fusion – “We have to have our own little race and that’s qualifying for us, but we came here and unloaded really well, and we were able to make it better. Practice worked out for us. When you have races like this where you only have an hour of practice, sometimes you hit it and sometimes you won’t, and it just seemed like everything we did in practice was a positive, so that turns into a good qualifying effort.”