4 Fords Finish Top 10 In Darlington

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 43rd) – YOU HAD A DOMINANT CAR.  “It is really frustrating, but, you know what, I’ve just come accustomed to expecting it because it’s just week after week it’s something.  Something breaks.  Something falls off.  We’ve got wheels loose.  We had wheels loose twice tonight.  I don’t know.  I know everybody is trying their hardest.  The guys are digging their hearts out, but the fact of the matter is in this sport – in this day and age – you cannot leave the wheels loose – not at a place this fast.  Somebody is gonna get hurt, and another mechanical issue.  I’m not sure what happened yet, but it seems like it’s in the carburetor to me because it doesn’t want to run.  They said there’s oil underneath it, so I’m not sure what happened.  It’s just real frustrating.  I give it 110 percent as a driver all the time and you just want your equipment to last and be able to win these races.  They’re so hard to win these days.  You can deal with a flat tire or something like that, but when it’s self-induced it makes it even harder.  It makes it so hard to swallow when it’s self-induced like that.” 

 SO THE ENGINE BLEW UP TOO?  “Yeah.  Multiple things have happened per race and, lucky enough, we’ve been able to slip through there by the skin of our teeth.  At Texas we weren’t able to and tonight we just weren’t able to.  I’m not sure what happened, but I’m sure the guys will get back and look at it.  The engine shop, they build great engines.  They build lots of power.  Obviously, the car was really fast tonight, but we just don’t know what happened.  We’ll have to get back and see what happened.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd) – “First of all, my hat’s off to Kyle.  Man, I wanted to beat him bad.  I wanted to beat him so bad.  Now we’re tied for wins.  I wanted to keep him down a little bit, but he did a great job.  This Claritin Fusion was good.  I tore it up just a little bit on the left-front, but I definitely had a good time – a lot better time than last night.  The new surface is growing on me.  It’s alright.”  HOW DID THE SURFACE EVOLVE DURING THE RACE?  “It was a lot better than I thought it was gonna be.  I was a little nervous to begin with.  I didn’t like it too much in practice.  We were 43rd on the sheet, so I’m really proud of my guys – all the pit stops.  I don’t know if I’ll go see that Indiana Jones movie or not, but I definitely had a good time racing tonight.”  IS WANTING TO BEAT KYLE A FUNCTION OF HOW GOOD THAT TEAM IS NOW?  “Oh yeah.  Anytime you see somebody running that well, that Gibbs bunch is running really well and you want to beat ‘em.  A lot of times this year we’ve had some good battles and they do a great job, so my hat’s off to ‘em.  They earned this win, that’s for sure.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 5th) – “That’s an awesome run.  Whether we were at Daytona, Talladega or Richmond or Bristol, that would be great but to do it at Darlington is just something special.  Darlington is an awesome track.  You’re running laps out there and you think about the guys that made this place famous like Cale Yarborough and Elliott and David Pearson and people like that.  It just makes you realize how fortunate we are to come out here and race at such a cool track.  It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the circuit.  We had a lot fun.  Our pit crew did an awesome job today.  We picked up spots everytime and it was an overall great run.  We’re getting this deal somewhat figured out.  We’ve had some good race cars, we just have to fine tune a little bit to try and win one of these things.” 

 IS THIS THE BEST RACE OF YOUR CUP CAREER?  “Yeah, because we maintained good track position all race.  I made a couple of mistakes.  Richmond was a great race and Talladega this year was a great race, but anytime you can qualify decent and run in the top 15 and the top 10 all race and not make a ton of mistakes – I made a couple of mistakes tonight like overshooting pit road that one time and I had to come back down.  Fortunately, we had a good stop and we had a fast enough car to where we didn’t lose much, so that was a lot of fun.  Five hundred miles here is a long race.  I’m glad we have some lights because it would be tough to do it during the heat of the day, but it was a lot of fun.  I’ve just got to thank my AAA pit crew for getting me in and out of the pits and I had a lot of fun.” 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TRYING TO BE PATIENT?  “I think my spotter and crew chief probably wore out two radios today just telling me to race the race track and hang out.  It’s tough.  I made a couple of mistakes, though.” 

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO RUN SO MANY LAPS HERE?  “I thought I’d been running all night and I looked up and it was like only 100 laps, but what an awesome race track.  Mentally, this is the toughest track we go to.  I can think of a few more tracks that’s physically tougher, but mentally this place is tough.  I’ve got to give it to all those guys growing up and winning races here, the Burtons and Cale Yarboroughs and Allisons and stuff like that.  It’s been a lot of fun watching those guys race and to finally have a good race here means a lot.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 6th) – HOW DID YOU KEEP YOUR CAR OUT OF THE WALL?  “It wasn’t as hard for us today as it was for some of them.  It was hard for us yesterday, but I don’t think I even hit it once today, so that was a good day but it was a little treacherous.” 

DID YOU HAVE ANY WHEEL PROBLEMS LIKE SOME OF YOUR TEAMMATES?  “No, I didn’t have any problems.  I don’t know what that would have been.”  WHAT ABOUT KYLE’S HOT STREAK?  “I don’t know if it’s a bit of a tear, I think it’s a big one.  He’s been the guy to beat in all three series all year long.  Everybody knew Kyle was really talented and when you get him with a group of people where the mix is right, he’s gonna be pretty hard to beat.” 

A SIGH OF RELIEF?  “Yeah, I was really happy for our finish.  We’ve been running so terrible and having such bad luck, so I was happy for our finish.  The only little thing frustrating is the racing was kind of weird at the end.  Everybody is riding around half-throttle and when you have a hard tire and a little fuel cell everybody is trying to stretch that last five laps, so that was kind of weird.  But, other than that, it was good.  It was a great finish for us and we ran pretty good.” 

THAT WAS A TYPICAL 17 TEAM FINISH.  YOU START TOWARD THE BACK BUT THERE YOU ARE LATE IN THE RACE IN THE TOP 10.  “Yeah, it just took us that long to get our car right and we had it really good that last run.  We actually had it pretty good before then, but we got the fender knocked in on pit road and had to give up all that track position, but everything pretty much went right for a change.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY – No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Finished 11th) – “I made the comment on Friday that we would be three laps down when this was over because our car drove so bad, but we didn’t really change anything and it drove pretty good all night.  I could go really fast on new tires and when we had those runs where we didn’t have long runs, we gained a lot of track position, but those long runs hurt us.  I kept getting real tight off four and when I was trying to pass a guy I’d end up getting passed by two, but it was a pretty good night.  We haven’t run that good this year, so that was nice.” 

YOU HAD A TIRE ISSUE.  “Yeah, it felt like my left-front was loose and they said other guys were complaining and I was just positive that we had a tire loose.  And then they put the next set on and it felt like the rears were loose, so I don’t know.  At the end I was just barely giving it any gas because I was scared the tire was gonna blow out.” 

ANY SURPRISE WE HAD FEWER CAUTIONS THAN MANY THOUGHT?  “Yeah.  You know what, though, it was just like the old Darlington.  You had to drive the track the same and you had to race guys the same way.  You couldn’t race people, you had to just race the track.  So even though it was fast, it was still kind of the same old Darlington.”

BILL ELLIOTT – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Finished 30th) – “Once everybody kind of got spread out it was just another race.  The problem is it seems like after everybody runs a little bit, you had the cars that were super-fast and then you had a big group of everybody else.  We fought tight there early in the race and lost a couple of laps and then we had a little problem in the pits and just kept digging through it.  All in all, I think we learned a lot.  At times we ran good and that’s what we need to do is keep working on a baseline and continue to expand on that because it’s just tough right now.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Lafayette Ford Fusion (Finished 8th) – “I think we had a top-five car, but we just got behind on our adjustment in the middle part of the race and fell back.  We got it right there towards the end, but we were just too far back.  We had a super-fast car, but were just too far in the back of the pack.” 

SURPRISED THERE WEREN’T MORE CAUTIONS?  “Somewhat.  I think everybody kind of knew what they were in for, so they kind of kept their nose clean and tried to stay out of trouble and take it easy.  I think everybody had the mental thoughts of racing the race track and staying out of trouble.” 

WHAT WAS THE MOOD WHEN YOU WERE FIFTH AND THEN FOURTH?  “It was just really exciting.  I really thought we had a chance to win there for awhile, but, like I said, we got behind with the adjustments.  We didn’t make many adjustments and everybody else got better and we got tighter as it cooled off.  It took us two or three more stops to get the car right, but by then we had fallen back outside the top 10 and just had to really race hard to get our way back up in there.” 

THIS IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS.  DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH RUNNING SO WELL?  “I think there is a lot of mental game in racing and when you go to a track excited to go there, knowing you’ve got a chance to run good I think you always perform better.”

CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE – “First of all, I’m definitely disappointed to finish second and not with the thing, but our whole crew did a great job.  I mean, we were 43rd on the sheet when we came here the first practice.  I was down in the dumps.  I was feeling terrible.  I didn’t like the new surface and I was frustrated and to come out of here with a second-place finish, I mean, Kyle had the fastest car.  He was pretty unbeatable tonight.  To finish second and beat the rest of the field, that’s pretty good from where we came from coming here, so I’m very proud of my guys for rebounding on pit road.  They did a great job and it’s good.  I’m not so frustrated with the surface anymore.  I was terrible on Thursday.” 

THERE WEREN’T A TON OF CAUTIONS.  HOW DO YOU THINK THE RACING WAS TONIGHT?  “I thought it would be a lot worse than it was, but there was a lot of give-and-take.  That was pretty cool.  I was just thinking, boy, they should just invite people from all over South Carolina here to come and drive on this race track all year round, every day as much as they want, try to get this surface worn out a little bit.  I think it would be a great promotion and definitely get this thing to where it wears out tires because I think that was one part that was missing just a little bit.  Track position seemed to be important, where before it seemed like tires were huge, but I was impressed with everyone.  I thought on Thursday this was gonna be a disaster and it was for me yesterday, but today went pretty well.” 

KYLE HAS THIS EMBELLISHED BOW.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?  “I didn’t see it.  People are gonna do whatever they’re gonna do.  His brother did the snow angel thing.  Hey, here’s the deal, it’s just entertainment.  When you win the race, you’re the winner.  You can get out and do whatever you want and it’s OK because you won.  People can say whatever they want, but you’re still the winner so I’m cool with whatever people want to do.  I think it’s cool when Kyle gets the smoke going and then all of a sudden he jumps out of the car like David Copperfield or something.  That’s pretty neat.  Hey, where in the hell is Harrison Ford.  He can’t even come to the race?  His face is on the car, you know what I mean.  The guy could have showed up.  I wanted to talk to him a little bit (joking).” 

HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT FOR YOU TO FINISH SECOND AT A TRACK THIS TOUGH?  “I like this track and the reason I like it so much is because it seems like the driver can make a pretty big difference. I was a little nervous about the surface because I felt like that took a little bit of it away, but I still felt like you could make some things happen out there and I think with some age it’ll be just the same.  It’s still my favorite race track.  I’m real excited about getting a little age on the surface though because it was great before they put this surface on.  I hope it gets there.” 

CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW TOUGH IT IS TO MAKE 500 MILES AROUND HERE?  “It’s a pretty grueling race.  This kind of tests you, I think, your car and your concentration going into turn three especially.  That’s part of it and I think that’s one of the dimensions of this that makes it fun.” 

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FEELING KYLE MUST BE FEELING RIGHT NOW?  “I don’t know how he feels.  He can answer that one.  I want to say one other thing, though.  I would say thanks to David Pearson.  It was really cool the time I did get to spend with him.  I’m glad you brought that up.  He was over here on Thursday and, like you said, the history here.  For David Pearson to be able to stand in the garage and tell me, ‘Hey man, if you get into turn three and it’s a little tight, it’s gonna be OK in turns one and two.’  All of that stuff, so that was pretty cool.  Along the lines with what Jeff said, that was a very neat experience and I hope we can keep this track on the schedule, that’s for sure.” 

AND YOU SPENT SOME TIME WITH HIM LAST MONTH AS WELL.  “Oh yeah.  We had a good time.  That man is wild.”