Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Watkins Glen: Q &A With Ford Drivers Ambrose, Edwards & Kenseth:

Marcos Ambrose is the 7-to-2 favorite to win at Watkins Glen (Getty)
This weekend marks the second and final road course race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the circuit heads to Watkins Glen International. This Week in Ford Racing chatted with Ford drivers Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth to discuss this weekend’s race and what it takes to be successful throughout the remainder of the series.

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion — YOU HAVE FINISHES OF 3RD-2ND-3RD AT WGI. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND? “There are no guarantees of success, so we just have to go there and apply ourselves. We’ve got what I think is a really good car. We’ve tested for the track and we feel good about it. There’s not much we can do aside from turning up and putting our best foot forward. It’s been good to me in the past. I know what I need to feel to run fast there. I’m optimistic and confident.”

HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE INFINEON AND WATKINS GLEN? “I’d say Sonoma is like a rock ‘n roll concert and Watkins Glen is like the opera. You’ve got to be really flowing and smooth at Watkins Glen and carry a lot of momentum and a lot of speed. Sonoma is just about pounding curves and abusing the car to get around the place, so I think Watkins Glen suits my style. I’ve got a good feel for the place, but the speed really sorts out the field. Anyone can bust off a lap, but can you do it for 10 laps in a row? That’s what really spreads the field out there is the ability to look out for your tires, yet carry the momentum.”

YOU’VE COMPETED ON A NUMBER OF ROAD COURSES AROUND THE WORLD. WHERE DOES WATKINS GLEN RANK? “It’s a famous road course, no doubt. I’d love to run the full track just because it’s got more character and more corners and it’s the old F1 track, but the course we run is a lot of fun. It rates up there as far as exhilaration for sure. I’ve done a lot of road racing around the world and I always look forward to going to Watkins Glen.”

THE RACES ARE DWINDLING TOWARD THE CHASE CUTOFF, SO THIS WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE A GOOD PLACE TO WIN AND GET IN CONTENTION. “Yeah, we need a win and we need to run well. We’ve got ourselves a good chance coming up and we’ve got to make the most of it.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion — HOW DO YOU RATE WATKINS GLEN? “Watkins Glen is tough. It’s really fun, though. It’s become one of my favorite race tracks. We were fortunate enough to get the pole there last year. It was a huge moment for me. That’s the biggest success I’ve had in the Cup Series at a road course and hopefully, we can take what I’ve learned there in years past and apply it and win the race. I’ve been really close. I was running second to Tony one time and I whaled it down in there into the second-to-last corner. I ran off the track, hit the fence and went through the gravel. I’ve been so close to having that breakthrough Cup win on a road course that I’d really love to get it this weekend.”

WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INFINEON AND WATKINS GLEN? “Sonoma is like ballet and the Glen is like a mosh pit. You go hard and fast at the Glen and you can be so much more aggressive. You can really use a car up there, where Sonoma is a lot more finesse. I know it didn’t look like it the last time we were there with everybody running into each other, but the pure driving the car fast on the race track is very different.”

FUEL MILEAGE AND PIT STRATEGY HAVE DOMINATED THE LAST FEW RACES. CAN YOU GAMBLE AT WATKINS GLEN LIKE YOU DO AT OVALS? “Everybody tries to stretch their fuel mileage at the road course. Guys will pit as early as they can and hope that they get the right amount of cautions so they can save enough fuel to the end. It’s always a factor there, but everybody goes into it thinking that way, so you can’t really catch people off guard. But if you look at what’s going on in the sport right now, even at a place like the Brickyard so many people are gambling on fuel that pretty soon that’s gonna be the norm.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – “Watkins Glen and Sears Point are a little different than most oval track races, except for maybe Pocono and some of these places where you don’t lose a lap when you pit. Watkins Glen, with that new tire they’re bringing, I think everybody is gonna be on the same strategy. You’re gonna try to do it on a two-stop race. As soon as you get your window to the end, maybe a couple laps before that, hope for a couple cautions. I think everybody is gonna be on pit road and hope for that quick caution to get some track position, so it’s not like it used to be on road courses, where there were a few guys that tried to outsmart everybody. It seems like everybody is on basically the same strategy. I don’t think tires are gonna matter much at Watkins Glen, so I think everybody is gonna be on the two-stop strategy and get the best track position you can.”

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL THERE? “Everybody groups the road courses together, but Watkins Glen is a night-and-day difference from Sears Point. Watkins Glen is much more high-speed, much more momentum and a lot different than Sears Point is. You need a car that handles good like every track, but getting up through the esses is always really important and, of course, the two main passing zones, getting in the chicane and getting into one are very important braking zones and you’ve got to have momentum getting to both of those zones to not get passed all day, so those are probably the biggest things to work on.”

- PCGCampbell for Ford Racing, Press Release

No comments: