Ford Sweeps Top Three Spots in Phoenix QualifyingCarl Edwards, No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 9th) "That was a good lap for us. It depends on this clouds. I think someone will hit it and be really fast but I think it can be a top-10 spot and that is all we need. We had a good solid run, practiced well and a solid qualifying lap. We have to keep on moving." WERE YOU HOLDING BACK AT ALL WITH HOW CRAZY IT IS OUT THERE? "Yeah, it is definitely slower. It was pretty exciting out there. I saw David Gilliland, I was most impressed with him. He almost hit the fence, went all the way back and almost did it again. This is pretty neat. If it were like this tomorrow it would be a really fun race. I think it is going to cool off tomorrow and be a lock down high speed race track. Now it is up to the crew chiefs."
Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 DeWalt Ford (Qualified 3rd) "It felt horrible, treacherous and nasty. I hope the sun comes out. I think we will start in the first half of the field. If you can beat the championship leader it is pretty cool. I tell you what though, I am really thankful for DeWalt, Stanley and Ford and everyone else that supports me. Our team is getting better and better each week. We have had a good couple of months and I am looking forward to 2012."
AJ Allmendinger, No. 43 WIX Filters Ford (Qualified 2nd) "That was insane. The track is way different than what we had yesterday and the Wix Filters Ford was fast. Greg Irwin and everyone at RPM did a good job. Marcos put a good lap up and explained to us what the track was going to be like. I am not sure that will hold up, it wasn't a great lap by any means but it will be a good starting spot at least."
Travis Kvapil, No. 55 Aloft Hotels Ford (Qualified 37th) - "It is a whole different race track than yesterday. Even in practice yesterday at noon the track had a lot more grip. I guess it is just a little warmer and greasier obviously. That is the slowest lap we ran all weekend and I can't belive it made the race because it was horrible and really slippery with the back end of the car. We squeaked it in so I am happy. We worked hard yesterday and had good speed."
IF CONDITIONS MIRROR THIS TOMORROW, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? "The thing is I think it seems like the tire is really hard and the groove is really narrow, it is only like one and a half lanes. It is hard enough to get around in this heat by yourself slipping and sliding, let alone to try and run two or three cars wide through a one-and-a-half groove track. There are going to be a lot of wrecks tomorrow, I really think so unfortunately. It might spice up that championship battle."
JJ Yeley, No. 38 Vampt Ford (Qualified 44th) "It was a slippery lap. There was too much Ford horsepower. I think we may have missed the boat. Yesterday as the evening went on it seemed like scuffs were the way to go but now the sun is out and the track is very slick. I am not so sure that we may have needed to be on stickers. The beauty of this weekend is the No. 38 Ford Fusion is locked in on speed and there was no need to put ourselves in jeopardy. We will work hard on getting a good lap and put ourselves in position for a good finish Sunday."
David Gilliland, No. 34 Aloft Hotels Ford (Qualified 46th) "Our car was really good last night we felt like and it felt like there was no grip today at all. Something with our car didn't like the sun at all. Hopefully it is sunny and not raining tomorrow and we get a race. We have some work to do but I think the guys will figure it out."
AJ ALLMENDINGER PRESS CONFERENCE
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE TODAY? "You kinda watch everybody out there to see how quick the race track is going to be and it was a lot different than yesterday. After being on a race track that had so much grip. I messed my first lap up and just tried to basically back my second lap down to get a clean lap in and see where that put me. I definitely knew there was a chance of it getting beat. I was surprised it held up as long as it did with the guys that were behind me. It is really cool to have Ford with the first three cars and I am excited about tomorrow. I think our car will be really quick. We were good in race trim and more than anything we have to see how the track plays out now."
WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE DEGREE THE TRACK CHANGED AND WAS IT A MATTER OF GUESSING RIGHT ON THE SET UP? "It was definitely a huge surprise. Obviously the sun is out and it is warmer but for as much grip as the track had yesterday you would think maybe it would be a little slower. At night last night I think the quick time was like a 25.50 by Carl so to be almost a second slower was a huge surprise. I was in the hauler watching the first 10 or 15 cars run and you see Jimmie go sailing off and almost get in the wall. Every car seemed to get looser and looser. At that point you have what you have. We tightened it up from yesterday. Marcos put up a good lap and fed back what the track was like so I went in there with an expectation and my first lap was worse than even I expected. It was definitely a lot different than yesterday."
MARCOS AMBROSE PRESS CONFERENCE
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE. "It was pretty sketchy. I was pleased to get through it really. It was a lot slicker than yesterday with a brand new surface and tire I don't think anyone knew what to expect. I was pleased with my lap. We used our scuffs. I think the front two used sticker tires out there. All things considered I think we took a conservative approach to it and it paid off."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR TOMORROW? "It depends what the weather does. We have some rain forecast and it might clean that rubber off and we have to start again, who knows? We have to really watch the weather. It seems there is a lot of grip here when the sun is down. It felt great yesterday afternoon. The track was fast and we were and today with the sun out it was a disaster. It was really slick. I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. If it is cloudy then you can expect fast speeds and happy drivers. If the sun is out like this then it could be a handful."
MATT KENSETH POLE PRESS CONFERENCE
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE TODAY. "It was good. We watched everyone else and obviously there were a lot of people low on grip and it looked like the track and cars were a lot looser than yesterday. Everyone had a different strategy. Jimmy (Fennig) had a strategy to go fast in the first practice to go out late. Even though we knew the temperature would be hotter he thought the track could be faster with more cars having run on it. A lot of people chose the opposite strategy and worked on race setup in the first practice and did their qualifying stuff in the second practice to go out early. He had a plan and made the right adjustments. He thought it would be looser today. I didn't get all there was to get out of the car. It was just that good. They made all the right choices there."
WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE TOMORROW? HAVE YOU SEEN A GROOVE COME IN? "You know, it has been kind of a moving target, at least for me it has. The first practice yesterday I thought the track was different than the last practice when it was almost dark. Condiitons were different today being in the middle of the day and warmer. It is a moving target I think. It depends if it rains tonight and a lot of things. There is still basically one good groove and it has widened out center of one and two and off. You can run side by side there. The middle of three and four is getting wide but I don't think you can run side by side all the way around at a competitive race. Hopefully after the Nationwide race when cars are forced to run out there with two-wide restarts and lap and traffic and things like that, hopefully it will come in."
BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN SO FAR, DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE GUYS THAT HIT IT AND GUYS THAT MISS BASED ON THE TRACK CHANGING SO MUCH? "I am not really sure to be honest with you. I didn't expect qualifying to be as all over the place as it was today. That surprised me a little bit how different the speeds were and everything. You always have that risk at a new track that a couple guys will hit it. The biggest keys to this race are going to be I think you start with qualifying and then after that it is pit stops and restart strategy. The tires don't fall off at all. They don't really drop off in speed at all. It is going to be who can figure out how to keep their car up front. Who can be in the bottom on restarts and get good restarts and take advantage of the restarts when someone is in a bad position. I think that is going to be a big deal. I caught cars yesterday. You get two or three car lengths behind them and you just can't do anything more. Hopefully that will change if the track widens out."
HOW MUCH OF A FAVOR DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE FOR CARL BUMPING HIM FROM THE OUTSIDE LANE TO THE INSIDE ON THE START? "I have no idea where Carl qualified. That was my plan. I thought man if we can sit on the pole, that will really help him. (laughter) I have enough problems to worry about. I can't really worry about his. The bottom is probably going to be an advantage to get started but it is still 300 miles and I think at some point in the race every car is going to be in the top groove for a little bit."
AS IT TURNED OUT, YOUR QUALIFYING RUN PUT TONY (STEWART) ON THE OUTSIDE AND CARL ON THE INSIDE. "Yeah, I planned that. I am that good." (laughter)
IS THIS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT MAKES YOU THINK MAYBE YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO SNEAK BACK INTO THIS THING? "I don't know. It feels good to sit on the pole and qualify that good. We have won three poles and I think that is more than half of my career total I think. Jimmy and the guys have been giving me really fast cars and in a way that is encouraging but in a way, I hate to say is disappointing, but if you look at Martinsville and how I self-destructed there and Talladega with David breaking on the last restart. All that stuff happened and knowing our stuff is fast enough to be in the hunt but we aren't in the hunt which I feel is my own fault. It is frustrating yet it is fun to have fast cars every week. Each week we have had a car capable of running top five and we haven't done that ever since the Chase has been implemented, especially with this car. One lap is going to be different that 300 or whatever it is tomorrow. Hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow. They still have to have a problem. If they have a problem and we run in the top three then you can say we maybe have a chance. If neither of them have a problem and run like they have the last 10 weeks then we are out of it."
I KNOW YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ON TWITTER MUCH THIS WEEK. KASEY KAHNE ASKED IF YOU ARE TAKING THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE TOMORROW. "Kasey tweeted me before Martinsville and we were going to try to hook up as drafting partners at Martinsville. I am going to surprise all you guys tomorrow. I will let you know on the one to go lap. I can't let my strategy go til then."
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