AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion
"As Kurt said, he put up a great lap, especially as early as he went. Nobody could really get near him until the track cooled down a little bit. I knew it was gonna be tight there. In qualifying practice we were really good and I just felt like I wanted to go out there and put a solid lap in. I felt like I got everything I could out of the race car there, and I knew Carl was gonna be tough there at the end. I feel good about what everybody is doing on the race team, it's such a tough time here, so I'm just happy and proud of the guys back at the shop and here at the race track. Having Insignia back on the race car is really cool, so it's a good starting spot and now we've just got to put in a good race on Sunday."
"No matter what happens I'm just proud of everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. There's no secret of what we're going through right now and it's a tough time. All the crew guys here and all the guys at the shop listening and watching, they're amazing people because it could easily tear this team apart. Everybody could be fighting with each other and not want to be here, but everybody is sticking together and fighting hard to go out there and perform. We've shown that, no matter what, it's not gonna get us off our game. We're just gonna keep getting better as a race team. I thank everybody at Insignia and Best Buy, Valvolina, PVA, everybody at Ford Racing and Doug Yates for building such great horsepower and everybody for building great race cars. That's all we can do, just go out there and drive."
IS THIS MORE MOTIVATION? "It's such a cut-throat sport. There's no secret to that. This is a tough sport and in tough times like that, we could easily give up or we could start fighting each other and it's not more motivation. We don't need anymore motivation than what we have, but it's just a tough time and these guys are fighting hard. I'm just going out there and trying to drive the wheels off this thing every weekend. These guys are stepping their game up and I'm proud of them. I'm proud to be here. We know The King and Robbie Loomis, all the guys, they're doing what they can to resolve these problems and we're just gonna put our heads down and do our jobs."
HOW HARD IS IT FOR THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW? "There's no secret right now with what our race team is going through right now. I think it shows my crew guys here and back at the shop and everybody at RPM that there's really two scenarios that can happen in a situation like this - you can try to band together and be stronger and come to the race track more focused, or you can let things start tearing you apart. It's wearing on everybody. It wears on me, but with that said, everybody inside the race team doesn't let it effect each other. Everybody is working well together. With everything they're still having to go through, to build great race cars, Doug Yates and everybody at Ford is still giving us great horsepower. It's a tough thing, but once we get to the race track our cars are here and it's pretty simple, we focus on the job at hand. That's all you can do. You just put your head down and keep working hard and that makes it a lot easier to go out there and run up front and try to sell the race team than struggling and trying to sell the race team. That's all we can do."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK YOU SEEM TO LIKE? "It's more Mike Shiplett and the guys. He's got a good setup here. This is a track initially when I came here in '07 that I hated, I struggled here. It's the same thing, it's kind of like Loudon where once you get a good setup there, it makes it easier. For us to go out there in qualifying trim especially we had a really good setup. It's something that we need to work on in race trim. We struggled a little bit in the race here in the spring. In race trim today we were OK, we weren't great, so we definitely have to keep working on it, but once you have a good setup you can start building off of it, instead of just trying to start from scratch and showing up each weekend with a different setup."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT NEXT YEAR? "No, honestly we're taking it day-to-day. It's not something I can really focus on and help do anything with. My job is to get in the race car and run strong. We know Richard and everybody there is doing the best they can to go out there and figure out this situation and that's all we ask, so we just focus on day-to-day - just getting to the race track. These next two weeks are really important. We've got Insignia back on the car for the last two races and they've been a huge supporter of this race team throughout the year, and next week we have a huge Ford promotion with 43 Ford Fiestas and have a chance to go out there and win 43 fans a Ford Fiesta, so those are the things I'm focused on. Next year is something that as we go into the off-season we have to learn more about what's happening with the race team, but, honestly, no matter what, I can't do anything about it. I've just got to go out there and do my job and try to make Best Buy and everybody happy and just focus on that."
ARIC ALMIROLA - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
That was a respectable lap time because I thought that was gonna be extremely slow. I was actually surprised at how fast it went for how bad it drove, to be honest. I'm proud of Kenny and all the guys on this Budweiser team. They've done a good job."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE PART OF THIS TEAM NOW AFTER THREE OR FOUR WEEKS BEHIND THE WHEEL? "Yeah, I really do. Kenny Francis and all the guys on this team do a good job of making me feel welcome, and I've had a lot of fun with it. That's the biggest thing I've noticed is how much fun I'm having. I don't have a whole lot of pressure involved with it, so it's been a good time."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Paralyzed Veterans of America Ford Fusion
I was a little disappointed. I didn't make a good lap. I didn't get through three and four like I needed to. My car was a little tight and I tried to run across the apron to loosen it up and got it a little bit too loose. That's definitely not the lap we wanted or needed, so we've got a lot of work to do on Sunday. We'll race hard and see where it takes us."
Credit - Ford Racing