Friday, August 19, 2011

Biffle and Kenseth On Front Row For Roush at Michigan

Greg Biffle headlined an all Roush front row at Michigan
BROOKLYN, MICH. (Aug. 19, 2011) – Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle covered the two-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway in 37.83 seconds (109.345 mph) to capture the pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup race. He will be joined on the front row by Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth, who finished runner up in the Cup race earlier this year at MIS. David Ragan qualified seventh for the race and Carl Edwards will roll out 22nd on Sunday.

“I don’t think that could have gone any better,” said Biffle “ I tell you what. This team has needed it. We have great cars and I can’t say enough for (crew chief) Matt Puccia and this 16 team. They work really hard and I am proud of them. All of a sudden Matt (Kenseth) is becoming a hell of a qualifier. He makes fun of himself when he gets up there and says that the throttle sticks. What a great job for the whole Ford camp. I want to thank Ford for all of their support and I know this means a lot to them here in Michigan to have this thing on the front.”

The pole is Roush Fenway’s second in the Cup Series at MIS and its seventh overall in NASCAR action at the track. Biffle will look for his third Sprint Cup win at MIS on Sunday, while Roush Fenway looks for its 12 Cup win at Michigan and its 22nd overall victory at the track.

The pole is Roush Fenway’s sixth in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011.

Ryan Newman (189.573) will start third followed by Denny Hamlin (189.294) and Mark Martin (189.190).

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Brad Keselowski (189.006) who will start from sixth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (188.669) eighth, Jeff Gordon (188.600) ninth and Jamie McMurray (188.462) will start from tenth.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #7 driven by Johnny Sauter, the #46 driven by Erik Darnell and the #50 driven by TJ Bell.

The teams will return to the track Saturday morning for their 10:10 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT) scheduled final practice session, and then return on Sunday for the 1:20 PM (approximate) start of the Pure Michigan 400.

Pure Michigan 400 Starting Lineup


Kenseth is using his winning Texas car this week (Getty)
MATT KENSETH QUALIFIED 2ND: “I think that I would have had a shot at the pole if I wouldn’t have looked up at the big screen down there and watched Greg’s lap. I saw his lap time and saw that it was really fast. I got loose here in the green and overdrove turn one to make sure I kept the car tight enough and overdrove it a little bit. I was pretty far over my head. I was glad to get a lap that good that had a ton of speed. I want to thank Kroger for sponsoring our car, I am pretty excited about that. It has flames on it so DW should be happy. All Roush front row, so it was a good lap for us and I look forward to Sunday.”

CARL EDWARDS QUALIFIED 22ND: “We were a little bit loose, just a little bit. We leaned on Matt Kenseth quite a bit and that helped us a ton. We picked up a lot of time. I really appreciate his help there. We have to be able to put the throttle down come Sunday and not be so loose. The good part about this race track is that if we are fast we will be able to pass people and we will be good. I am excited about it. I love racing here. Even if we start 30th it is okay because you can still win here if you are fast.”

TREVOR BAYNE QUALIFIED 20TH: “That was a pretty good qualifying run. I think we will sit pretty good and it could be a good weekend for us. I am so excited to be driving this race car designed by seven-year-old Katie. She designed it herself and we got to make her dreams come true by putting it on the real race car and bringing it out to the race. It is an awesome weekend for us. I think we will have something come Sunday. It was better for qualifying this time than last time and I think we can learn for the race trim with that. Our race trim is totally different but we will wait and see about practice tomorrow. I think our car is really fast and it ran good at Charlotte with Stenhouse driving it, so I think it will run good here.”

MARCOS AMBROSE QUALIFIED 16TH: “I did the same thing here in the spring. I got loose getting up to speed coming to the green flag and I just spooked myself and pinched it off into three and I did the same bloody thing this time. I am mad at myself. We had another half a tenth or so in the car. I will take that because it will be a decent spot.”

Ragan looks sharp in quest for win No. 2 to make Chase
DAVID RAGAN QUALIFIED 7TH: “I would give myself probably an A- on that lap. It could have been a little better. It looks like we will wind up in the top five or six. We have a good car here and it is good to see our Roush teammates fast. I can’t wait for the race on Sunday.”

RYAN NEWMAN QUALIFIED 3RD: “Well, I didn’t know what to expect. The guys said the race track was a little bit warmer, and the guys were going a little bit quicker, but that doesn’t always mean everything. Our WIX Filters Chevrolet was good today. I felt like we had a really good balance, and a pretty good lap, good enough for third, obviously. Just proud of the effort, the guys on the team, Tony Gibson and everybody, coming off the truck. Spent the entire qualifying session in qualifying practice. Hopefully, the 14 got a little bit of help from that, and then him, in turn, being in race trim will help us out tomorrow. So, look forward to the rest of the practice session and the race, and it’s nice to have a good starting spot, as well as pit selection.”

NEWMAN ON HOW CLOSE HIS CAR IS TO STEWART'S: “Honestly, today, I have no idea where his car is at compared to mine. He spent 90 percent of qualifying practice in race trim. I think he did one, maybe two runs in qualifying trim. We’ll sit down tonight and look through those things from our end, as well as from his end to make sure that we’re both putting the ideal package under each driver.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON QUALIFIED 19th: “Qualifying has been tough for us and I don’t know where that has gone, but we’re working very hard to get it right. Sundays have been much more productive and better, but it sure helps when you qualify well, so I hope that time holds up.”

“Over the course of the weekend when the car is fast is good, but the truth of the matter is that track position is everything. It doesn’t matter where you are or what track you’re on. Pit road pick has a lot to do with it anymore too, now. So, those two elements are the truth and there is a small mental component, but the other two far outweigh that.”

TONY STEWART QUALIFIED 18th: “That’s the best we’ve been here in a while. I’m pretty happy with it so far. Darian (Grubb) and all the guys on this Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy have done an awesome job. We struggled with balance here last time but I’m really happy with the way it’s been all day. It’s not been perfect yet, but it’s been a much, much easier car to drive than what we’ve had here. So I’m pretty happy with it. That’s the best balance that we’ve had all weekend so far. But you always want to be better than what you are (laughs).”

Junior looking to snap 115 race winless streak (Getty)
DALE EARNHARDT JR. QUALIFIED 8th, ON RUNNING A DIFFERENT LINE FROM EVERYONE ELSE: “I don’t know; I just like running down there. But it wasn’t a perfect lap. I think there’s another tenth or two out there. I’m sure some of them guys up there will find it. But I’m pretty happy. We’ve struggled in qualifying all year long, so this was definitely better today. The car drove good. It wasn’t the perfect lap. It was a good team effort today. I’m really happy with that.”

“It’s a brand new car. It took a little bit of adjusting, but we have a great team and the guys did a good job.”

MARK MARTIN QUALIFIED 5th: “Well, all it says is that our car is faster than it’s been. It’s a real privilege to drive the CARQUEST Auto Parts/ Chevrolet and I want to give a shout out to everybody that works so hard at Hendrick Motorsports. They give us big horsepower under the hood and a very nice race car. Lance McGrew and the crew have done a fabulous job making a fast race car. We’ve been making progress at Indy and Pocono and hope to be building on that here.”

DENNY HAMLIN QUALIFIED 4TH, ON HIS HIS NEW TRD ENGINE: “It’s good. It’s so tough to say really until you get into race conditions what differences you can feel. I just can’t say enough for everyone at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and Joe Gibbs Racing for putting this deal together. This is going to be a long compilation of engineering and things. We’re going to bring a lot to the table to them as well as they’re going to bring it to us. I can’t say enough for them and their efforts to get this in here in such short notice.”

HAMLIN ON HOW HE'S FEELING AFTER THE HARD CRASH AT WATKINS GLEN: “I feel good. I felt better. Today is better than yesterday. Wednesday was the worst, by far. It’s a little tough to sit down right down — my tailbone is hurting me pretty good. But, other than that it’s good to be back at a race track and obviously being competitive.”

DAVID REUTIMANN QUALIFIED 12TH: “Problem is — we still have a lot of fast cars to go. It’s a decent lap. Hopefully, it will hold up good, give us a good starting position and a good pit selection for the Aaron’s Dream Machine. I’m glad to be here and glad to be away from Watkins Glen. It’s a cool race track. It just wasn’t good to me the other day.”

“We were a little bit free. I’m not sure if that is going to be enough to get the job done. Hopefully, it will hold up for a decent starting position and see what it gives us on Sunday. The main deal is getting is a good pit selection. Starting position is one thing — pit selection is something that can help you all day. So, we have to qualify well to get that.”

KASEY KAHNE QUALIFIED 14TH: “Everything felt pretty good there. I missed turn three a little bit. On my entry I screwed up and got loose-in, which I did by myself. But, the car was — I probably should have run a .15 or .20, and I ran a .28. I made a mistake, but it felt better than practice. It’s good changes.”

KAHNE ON KEY TO SUCCESS AT MICHIGAN: “Probably momentum. It’s a big part of it — to keep your momentum up. I just feel like this track is all about momentum. And you slow that down — you get passed from behind by someone who is keeping their momentum up. It’s a cool track to race. But, you have to keep your momentum going.”

Truex Jr had two runner-up finishes while with DEI (Getty)
MARTIN TRUEX JR. QUALIFIED 15TH, ON WHAT JIMMIE JOHNSON ASKED HIM BEFORE QUALIFYING: “He was just getting a few pointers. No, I’m just kidding. He was just wondering if I thought my lap was decent because he thought his was not pretty decent. We beat him by about a tenth. I thought it was okay. I left a little out there. The car wasn’t perfect, but a good lap. We picked up from practice for our NAPA Toyota. These guys are doing an awesome job for me and I love working with them. We’ll see how long it stays up there — hopefully it will be a good starting spot for us.”

TRUEX JR ON WHAT HIS TEAM WILL WORK ON IN PRACTICE SATURDAY: What will you work on in practice tomorrow? “Long runs — it goes green a long time here and got to have a good race car on the long runs. We had a good car here in the spring race. I had a little trouble on pit road towards the end. Started were we were there (in the spring), hopefully get it even better and see if we can’t go out and win one of these things.”

KYLE BUSCH QUALIFIED 17TH: “Our Interstate Batteries Camry wasn’t bad. I got through (turns) one and two perfectly and got a good run down the back. But, when I got to turn three, we were way too tight through that end of the track. Wish we would have had a better lap, but we will work on it tomorrow in race trim and hope we can run like we did here in June and have a shot to win.”

Keselowski is going for third win of the season (Getty)
BRAD KESELOWSKI QUALIFIED 6TH: “A decent lap for sure. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but a pretty good lap. It’s something for a good start. I don’t think I’ve ever had a great qualifying effort here at Michigan, but this car is good. We’ve got a little work to do tomorrow, but we’re not too far off. Sunday, we’ve just got to go fast all day and try to bring home a win.

This car is very fast; I’m proud of the speed we had. This is by far the best race car I’ve ever had here, so I’m excited about Sunday. We’re on the upswing right now, just riding the wave and enjoying it.”

KURT BUSCH QUALIFIED 13TH: “We had to change quite a bit after practice with the hot temperatures, sliding around a lot; the car was tight and we qualified tight. Luckily, we picked up some speed. It’s disappointing when you get the pole here in the first race and barely hang on to a top 15 in the second one.


- From Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota and Roush-Fenway Press Releases

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