Ford Performance NASCAR: Five Mustangs Finish Top 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Menards/Quaker State Ford Mustang – YOUR MUSTANG SEEMED TO COME TO LIFE IN THE LAST STAGE.  “It came to life.  We had to do a little CPR there early.  We were struggling pretty bad.  We were pretty loose to start the race and I’m just proud of the effort from the guys on the 2 car, being able to make the right adjustments and get us out of a hole there.  We went from not being able to go full throttle by myself on the racetrack to being able to run close behind other guys wide-open, so I’m proud of that effort and proud of a top-three finish.  I felt like we deserved to be up there by the end of the race after we established track position.  It was a solid day.  I wish we could have gotten the Quaker State Ford in victory lane in the Quaker State 400, but a top-three is pretty good.” HOW DID THE RACING COMPARE TO MARCH?  “Well, I finished.  That’s an improvement.  I don’t know if it’s because I felt like our car was a little better or I ran more up front, but I definitely feel like the racing at least made more sense.  Handling seemed to come into play and you could pick and choose your battles by how good you were versus kind of just being stuck.  I enjoyed today’s race more than I did the spring.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang – “We were OK.  We just lacked a little speed.  We were decent, but we kind of lost track position there when some guys only did fuel and it was hard to get back up.  Luckily, we ended up with a decent finish.  We’ll go on to next week.  We survived it and now we’ll get out of here.” IT SOUNDED LIKE YOU WERE AN ADJUSTMENT AWAY ALL DAY.  “It was a pretty good day.  We got back in traffic there a little bit and it was just hard to make it back up.  You just can’t go anywhere.  It gets two-wide and you’re just stuck and you can’t really go anywhere, unless you were the 9 and you were the fastest car out there by a mile.  It was pretty easy for him to go wherever he wanted.  That looked fun, but, I’m just happy to end up decent.  This race is just like a survival race pretty much.  That’s what you’re gonna get when you’re speedway racing on a mile-and-a-half, so luckily we were able to survive it and get out of here with an OK finish.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Ford Pro Ford Mustang – “We just didn’t have the speed we needed to go up and compete.  That one restart where I was leading the bottom lane we didn’t have what we needed to keep up.  Our car was pretty good.  We got it driving good there at the end, but we couldn’t muster up the speed we needed to go hang with those Chevrolets.  The Chevrolets were really, really fast.” THOUGHTS ON HOW THIS RACE WAS COMPARED TO THE FIRST ONE IN THE SPRING?  “I didn’t think it was better racing.  I thought the racetrack was a little more narrow.  We couldn’t run the top up against the fence like we could in the spring.  That kind of limited the options and kind of choked everybody down to two-wide.”

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang – “I just couldn’t do anything in traffic.  The car was really tight in traffic, which made it hard to race close to anybody.  When they were side-by-side I would lose the nose really bad.  We hung around and finished the race.  Sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do at these places.” CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang – “I felt like balance was definitely more of an issue than the first race, for sure, with the hotter temperatures.  I felt like we got it to where we were pretty decent and I was able to start working the wall a little more than a couple other guys.  I went to pass the 10 and as soon as I did I guess I just got too high and got to where it was dirty still and killed the right-rear quarter panel and everything else so that kind of affected the rest of our day.  I’m happy we were able to somewhat salvage a 16th, but I felt like if we didn’t have the damage, it would have been a lot better day.  We’ll go on to New Hampshire next week and see if we can improve on it.” COLE CUSTER, No. 41 Ford Mustang – “We got the car way better.  The guys worked really hard and made great adjustments throughout the day.  By the end, I thought we were just as good as anybody.  We could have had a shot to win there.  I think we were running in the top five on the last lap, but somebody wrecked in front of us and we got knocked back a little bit, but overall it was a good day of hopefully finding a direction and I think it was nice to go up there and run with those guys and show that we can have some speed.” CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang – “It’s a different racetrack.  It’s not the Atlanta that I grew up loving, but BJ came over and apologized already.  I think coming off of trun two it flattens out a little bit and it took off on him.  While we all checked up and spun out we made just a little bit of contact with him while we were sliding and it sounds like it may have been enough to bend a right-front component and ultimately ended up blowing a tire.” A TOUGH BREAK FROM THE GOOD RUNS YOU’VE HAD OF LATE?  “Yeah, it is.  RFK has done a terrific job at making a lot of progress and finding a lot of speed.  We’re gonna put this one behind us real quick because this is not an indicator of what we’ve been able to accomplish here lately.  I guess it’s similar to superpeedways where there’s a lot of luck involved in this style of racing.  We’ll regroup and be ready to hit the ground running again.  I’m real excited for these next couple coming up.”   FORD FINISHING RESULTS 3rd – Austin Cindric 5th – Ryan Blaney 8th – Aric Almirola 9th – Cole Custer 10th – Harrison Burton 12th – Kevin Harvick 15th – Michael McDowell 16th – Chase Briscoe 17th – Todd Gilliland 18th – Brad Keselowski 23rd – Cody Ware 26th – Joey Logano 27th – Garrett Smithley 33rd – Chris Buescher 36th – BJ McLeod

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Volume 2022, Issue 7, Posted 8:00 PM, 07.10.2022