Fords Pepsi 500 Qualifying Quotes

Jamie McMurray was the fastest Ford qualifier for Sunday's Pepsi 500 at California Speedway as he clocked in with the 13th-fastest time.

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Qualified 22nd) – “It wasn’t too bad.  Our AAA Ford was a little tight in practice and we made some pretty big changes.  It was close, but still not perfect.  I think we spent a little more time in race trim today than we normally do, so if that could wind up in the top 15, that would be a comfortable starting spot for us.  Obviously, this place is pretty easy to pass if you have a good car, so I feel like our car is good.  It unloaded good and we’ve still got a few more practices before they drop the green flag.” 

CAN YOU TRANSLATE ANYTHING FROM MICHIGAN TO HERE?  “A little bit.  The temperature is so drastic.  This place is very temperature sensitive and loses a lot of grip during the day, whereas Michigan somewhat stays about the same and we race in the day.  So we can maybe transfer a few things, but Michigan is a little smoother.  This is a fun track.  I think you’ll see the groove be from right on the wall to right down on the white line, so it’s always fun to come out here a couple times a year and I’m looking forward to a nice 500-mile race in our AAA Insurance Ford this weekend.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Hitachi Power Tools Ford Fusion (Qualified 34th) – THE TRACK LOOKS PRETTY BUMPY.  WHAT’S IT LIKE IN THE CAR?  “It’s really rough, but that’s what makes 500 miles here so fun is you’re not just gonna be pinned on the bottom, you’re gonna be moving around two or three different lanes at least.  I’m disappointed with our qualifying lap, but I’m encouraged that I know I kind of messed up turn one and two.  I got in too high and just kind of blew the lap a little bit, but encouraged that the changes we made from practice made the car feel quite a bit better and I’m optimistic about tomorrow and Sunday night.  Qualifying is always so close that if you miss it a little bit, you’re gonna give up a bunch of positions.  I feel all right.  We’re gonna be starting towards the back, but it’s a long race and you can pass here.  Like at Michigan and some of the other places we’ve had good cars we’ve been able to drive our way through there, so I’m looking for more of the same on Sunday.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY – No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 13th) – “I think that will be 15th or 20th, but we’ve got a pretty good car and this seems to be a really good track for me.  I don’t know that starting position here is as important as it is at other places.  We started in the back at Bristol and our car was pretty good, so I hope that holds up for about 15th or 20th because it’s a long night on Sunday.” 

HOW HAS THIS HEAT ALTERED THE TRACK SURFACE, IF AT ALL?  “It’s hard to explain to people how slick the race track is and it’s almost like a Darlington it’s so slick.  Tires make a big difference, so you really have to move around.  It’s so wide that you’ll find guys that will really run the top and make that work and there will be some guys that are right on the bottom, so it’s one of the most fun race tracks that we come to each year.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 15th) – “I thought the splitter would have had more scuff marks on it than it does and it seems like maybe we’re still not down on the track enough.  We’re just fighting to get total grip.  It just seemed like the car was on top of the track, so we’ll keep working on it.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion (Qualified 40th) – “It’s fine.  We’re in the race.  That’s all that matters.  We had a bad practice.  It was just really tough for me to get up to speed here and the guys overcompensated for me trying to tighten the car up.  I didn’t want to lift coming off of turn four.  I knew I had to stay in it to try and get the lap completed and I hit the fence, and then I had to lift, so I did a pretty bad job there.  But we’re in the race and that’s all that counts.  I’m real excited about it.” 

 HOW HARD ARE THE WOOD BROTHERS WORKING TO GET THIS TEAM BACK WHERE IT BELONGS?  “I’ve got the highest respect for the Wood Brothers.  They’re down with their team, but they’re building themselves back.  It’s just great to be part of it because they’re really putting some stuff together and I’m excited for them.”

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