Windstream Pole Night Notes

Brad Keselowski, Pole Sitter (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, 192.089 mph) – “It would be a cliché to say the car was awesome, but that is what it was. It’s an important weekend for us and for Penske Racing and really for our country. Memorial Day weekend is an important time for us. My foundation is doing some really cool things this weekend, too. The 600 is such a big race in NASCAR. It’s a race full of history and tradition. It’s very special to add my name to those who have won the pole. Now, we want to add our name to those who win a race here. We are doing a lot of things to make progress. My crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is making gains each week. We have a few steps to go, and this is one of them.”

A.J. Allmendinger (No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford, 191.693 mph) “I’m really happy with our race team and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports and our Ford in general. Our mile-and-a-half program has been our Achilles heel in the last year. We’ve been struggling with it. Running the (NASCAR Sprint) All-Star race last week was good for us. We’ve been working to get the right package. We went here today with a new package. For me, I got everything I could out of that lap. There wasn’t much more I could have gotten out of the car. I hope to have a good race on Sunday. To represent the Air Force on this weekend is a great thing. Every weekend I feel fortunate.”

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Scotts EZ Seed Ford, 191.686 mph) – “Our car was very good. Bob [crew chief Bob Osborne] and I were totally frustrated with our lap. But then I realized that was okay since we qualified third. The cars are fast. I think one of those Fords will be a threat to win on Sunday. So I hope it’s our Ford.” 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ninth Qualifier (top rookie, No. 21 Motorcraft Ford, 190.752 mph) – [Did that qualifying run exceed your expectations a little?] By a lot. I knew the car had it in it – all the Fords are fast – I just had to get it around the racetrack. It definitely had more in it. It was really, really comfortable. Now we’ve just got to get it comfortable in practice Saturday to make a good showing in the race. Our main goal this weekend is just making 600 miles. [What kind of advice were you getting prior to qualifying from the other drivers?] All the guys were running a lot faster, so I was wondering if they were driving it in harder or getting on the throttle faster or what. Anybody who walked by, I stopped them and asked for advice. [Who gave you the best advice?] Well, Carl [Edwards] told me what he was doing, and when I told him I had to make it in on time, he told me I’d better not do what he was doing. But Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton, they both gave me some great advice about how to get around the track.”