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February 25, 2017
Daytona Beach, Florida
THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll into our final post‑race media availability for today's 36th annual PowerShares QQQ 300, and we have the winning race team with us now. We have race winner Ryan Reed, driver of the No.16 Lilly Diabetes Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
We have crew chief Phil Gould, and we have team owner Jack Roush.
Ryan, you've got a knack of navigating this place. Walk through the race from your perspective and how you made it to victory lane.
RYAN REED: Well, I mean, it was a lot of very aggressive driving I felt like, and by myself at parts. Once I kind of got shuffled out early trying to be aggressive, I took a step back and felt like, okay, you know what, let's just calm it down, get to the end of this thing.
Felt like everyone was being really aggressive, hanging people out, myself included. Talked to crew chief and spotter and just decided let's just get through this first segment. Not going to get any points, but let's just get through it. And then that huge wreck happened right after we decided to do that, and so got through that.
And then moving on to the middle part of the race still just a lot of very aggressive driving. Early on I think it was the format changes. I think last night in the Truck Series we saw it, and then again tonight.
And so survival‑‑ I knew I had to position myself towards the front to have a shot, but also, too, you had to keep yourself out of trouble. And then we got in that last wreck and went to the grass for the second time. Really am over sliding through that little area of grass down there in Turn 3.
But we came out of there again, survived it, and we went back out there and kind of felt it out. And next thing I know, we were up inside the top 3 and took the lead like we shot out of a cannon.
After that I knew how strong our race car was, and so it was up to me to get it out front, and if I get it out front, do whatever I have to do to deep it there. You don't get race cars like that very often, and when you do you really have to try and capitalize. Persevered through a lot of adversity today, but I felt like this race team has done that a lot over the last couple years. Lilly has stuck with us.
We've just really never gave up, and I try and emulate that in a lot of areas of my life, whether it's diabetes or driving race cars or anything else. It really seems to pay off, so glad to be back here.
THE MODERATOR: Phil, how nervous were you at the top of that pit box there those final few laps?
PHIL GOULD: Real nervous. I couldn't even hardly watch. Still hasn't really sunk in yet.
THE MODERATOR: Mr.Roush, welcome back here to the media center and the winning press conference. Has to be good to be back in Victory Lane with Roush Fenway Racing.
Just talk about the thrill of the victory that you have tonight.
JACK ROUSH: I've been to early press conferences, and I'll tell you, I like the later ones better. So I'm glad to be here with these guys. I was on the radio listening tonight, like a lot of people were. Herman did a fantastic job telling him what was moving, who was coming, who was going and what he might do and whether they were pushing on the center of his bumper or right or left side.
He's the unsung hero in terms of giving him the input he needed, and I couldn't imagine anybody else doing a better job.
I'm glad to be here with Ryan, and of course with Lilly and of course with the American Diabetes Association, all the things that are involved with that.
Ryan is a fabulous role model for people that have got a ‑‑ I'm not going to say a disease, but got a distraction in their lives.
Ryan has overcome that, and he'll make a Cup driver one day if I can find sponsorship for him. I'm sure I'll be able to do that.
RYAN REED: Everyone wrote that down, right? I'm going to quote him on Monday, so...
THE MODERATOR: That will be in the transcript.
Q. Tonight it just seemed like you knew what you were doing, and you were focused and determined. I was just wondering how determined were you to win tonight to prove that the win in 2015 wasn't a fluke?
RYAN REED: Yeah, I mean, I think‑‑ I've studied a lot of race footage and obviously been in a few of these now. I've made a lot of mistakes. Even tonight, early on, you know, I did some things and I thought about it, and I was like, Man, if I could go back I'd undo that or redo it.
Like Jack said, my spotter, Herm, he's been with me for two years now and we worked a little bit in ARCA a few years ago. He does such an awesome job. If you listen to my radio after the race, I gave him a lot of credit because he did such an awesome job.
He really makes me aware of the things I do right but the things I do wrong. Having that as a driver, you got to be able to have someone that holds your feet to the fire.
And so, you know, I tried to remember the things that I did right and then the things that I do wrong, not do them anymore. So the last few laps I just do everything I can, and when we got in that position, just do whatever I had to hold onto it.
You know, you don't want to say go wreck a racecar, but I was willing to put myself in position where we might wreck to get in Victory Lane, because you don't get too many chances around here to stand in Victory Lane.
And to do it twice in three years is pretty unbelievable. I try to learn from this and continue to be a better restrictor plate driver.
Q. Ryan, kind of piggy‑backing off that, your radio tonight, you sounded a lot more calm, very focused. You kept mentioning the team, about winning. You were focused on that goal. It just seemed a little bit different from what I've heard from you in the past. Was that the case, or are you normally that focused and kind of eye on the prize?
RYAN REED: Well, I think having some continuity from last off‑season, or last season, I'm sorry, me and Phil I felt like were really starting to gel the last half of the year, and we started to‑‑ obviously if you look at our stats, we just had better stats, too.
But we started to communicate better. We started to understand each other better. Correct me if I'm wrong. He may have a different point of view.
But I feel like we came into this and everyone was just calm and very focused. We knew what we needed to do, and when I feel like I have a team behind me like I do that has my back, that's willing to‑‑ when I make a mistake, pat me on the back and say, Come on, buddy; you're our guy, it gives a driver a lot of confidence.
So I had a lot of confidence. I knew that I had a race team that would stick with me throughout the entire race, whether I made a mistake or not, which I did make mistakes, but you know, they kept at it. Just, you know, I have a lot of confidence right now.
I think whether we go to Atlanta and win and whether we go to Atlanta and say, Okay, I need to be better, I am still going to have that confidence. I am still going to know we have the best race team behind me that I can have.
Q. Ryan, you obviously had a very strong Ford out there tonight, but there was also another pretty strong car that didn't get to finish. Talking about the 1 car of Elliott Sadler. How much of a problem do you anticipate he would have been had he stayed in, and could you have pulled it off?
RYAN REED: He was fast. I'd have done everything I can to hold him off. You know, I mean, you've got to be there. There's plenty of races where I felt like‑‑ last year at Talladega I felt like I had the fastest race car. Wrecked and didn't have a chance to go down there at the end of the race and show it.
I think he was very fast. He's obviously a great restrictor plate racer. I was learning from him throughout the race. He was bump drafting me, and he can push as good as anyone. But, man, you'd better hold on, because it's not easy when he's bump drafting you. You're going to pick up a lot of speed, and you'd better be able to manhandle that race car.
I learned from him. Learned how to be smooth when someone is pushing me which helped me at the end of the race when Brad got to me and he pushed me.
So I think he obviously would have been really tough, but I had Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski and a lot of other tough guys that I had to hold back, too. We had a fast Ford Mustang, and proud to get Jack and Lilly and everybody back in Victory Lane, like I said so many times.
Q. Ryan, for you and also Jack, you said earlier that a stage win wasn't worth wrecking out for, but what was going through your mind when all the crashing was going on around you and you were trying to hold off other very aggressive drivers on the track? And Jack, what were you thinking with the war of attrition out there?
RYAN REED: You know, I think there was a time where I was just trying to stay out front. Like we talked about it, and we all felt like the safest place was out front.
Really tonight wasn't a much different race. It wasn't. You say a lot of good race cars wrecking up front, which is usually abnormal. If you're inside the top 10 to 15, you know you have the stages, you know you're going to‑‑ you're not going to go a lap down or anything.
And then after the second stage, it was go time. I figured, you've got to stick it out. You can't drop back. There's no for sure caution. I just tried to keep my track, which ultimately didn't happen, because when the 1 wrecked we slid through the grass again.
But man, we could maneuver traffic tonight and we could work lanes. We could make runs, and even by ourselves, ad a single car, I could do things that I have never been able to do at a speedway before.
Thanks to Jack and Phil for giving me a race car that could do all those.
JACK ROUSH: He obviously was on his game tonight, and he had a fast race car under him. I don't understand why the car was much faster than it seems like the car we had the last time we were here, but it was a great car, and we'll try to figure it out when we get back to the shop if there's enough left of it.
But Ryan was not to be denied tonight. He was on his game, and it was real clear that he was on a mission, and as long as he didn't get caught up in one of those wrecks and lose sheet metal, I felt like he was going to be okay.
Q. Ryan and Mr.Roush, I spoke to Bubba Wallace after he got out of the medical center today, and he said performance‑wise, all of Speedweeks that Roush has been fairly strong, so I was hoping to get your take on it considering you won the race, also, and how do you sustain that for the rest of the season?
RYAN REED: Well, I've never come down to a restrictor plate race with Roush Fenway and not been really confident. There's been areas that we've struggled in, areas we've been good in, and consistently, and I haven't been here for too terribly long, obviously not as long as Jack has been around, but we've always been really good here, and I think that the guys take pride in it, and we know we can come down here and win if the driver does his part and keeps it out of trouble.
I've always‑‑ I've never had any doubt in my mind that we could come to any restrictor plate race and win.
JACK ROUSH: They rubbed on the cars real good over the winter, and of course Doug Yates gave us great engines for all of our Fords, and it sure looked like that we'd made a move on the field and got better than we were in relation to last year.
Q. Ryan, you talked earlier about confidence; how has it been for you over the last two years since your last win? How do you maintain that confidence and still be able to pull off what you did tonight even considering during the race you were tested at times by getting involved in accidents?
RYAN REED: I just keep my head down. You know, I put my blinders on to the people who don't have good things to say and surround myself with people who believe in me, which are the guys sitting to my left and my right. I think I touched on it earlier; having a race team that believes in you is half the battle in my opinion. If you show up to the racetrack and you've got your guys questioning you, you're already beat, and I don't have that, and I haven't the last two years, and we've been able to build.
I've been able to get better as a race car driver. We've been able to get the things that I need in the race car to continue to get better, and hopefully I'm giving the right feedback to continue to get better.
There's a lot of perseverance, a lot of adversity in this sport, and when you can block out all the negative, which there's plenty of it, there's plenty of it in all sports, you're going to find success. If you want it bad enough, you're willing to put in the hours, and God knows Roush Fenway is and myself, and Lilly Diabetes and everyone else and Ford and Roush Yates and everyone who touches that race car, they're committed to winning, so when we come down here and do it, it's not a surprise to us because we worked hard to do it.
Q. Ryan, I assume you were probably more comfortable today than you were two years ago, and I'm curious if that would be because of the fact that you won two years ago or the fact that you were in the playoffs last year and were in so many pressure situations at the end of last year.
RYAN REED: It's a culmination for sure. I think when you've won at a place, you immediately know you can do it again. You've obviously done it once, so you can do it again. So there's that side of things. Obviously the end of last year we had a ton of momentum. We were faced with pressure situations and answered those and moved on and did the right things.
Even though we ultimately came up a little bit short, we still had a lot to be proud of.
And then also, too, Jack let me run that Cup race last year at Talladega. I learned a ton. So those guys, you know, they step it up even another notch, and so I just tried to keep my nose clean and not make anyone too mad out there and learn from them, and I think that helped me a lot. So I think it was a lot of things that led to tonight, and it wasn't the same. Like last race‑‑ the first race that I won, I felt like I just stayed up front, didn't make any mistakes and just put myself in the right position at the end. Today, there was a lot more I had to make it happen. It wasn't just, oh, I've got a run on the leader at the last lap at the right time. I had to position myself there and then I had to defend a lot of runs from a lot of really good guys.
I don't think that I was in a place two years ago to do it, but that's not always the way you win here. Tonight, though, I did learn all those things, and I have been in those positions enough times to where I was ready to answer those questions and hold off the things I need to hold off.
Q. Jack, after a couple of nights of racing, do you have any thoughts about either the stage system or the idea that these cars after they crash if they don't meet the five‑minute rule they leave the race?
JACK ROUSH: I like saving the money of not having to do all that crash what‑if work and haul the stuff around that you seldom need and then only improve yourself a spot or two. So I think NASCAR provided some real good leadership in helping us protect ourselves with the crash policy.
As far as the cars are concerned, it's hard to say how the Cup race is going to work out, but the wind tunnel time that was provided by Ford Motor Company has been applied very well, and we had aerodynamically a very competitive car, had good horsepower, and that bodes well for, I think, the rest of the season or for these XFINITY cars and hopefully the Cup cars, as well.
Q. Ryan, Austin Dillon specifically, but I think there were a couple other cars up there that had some significant crash damage on them but were still really fast. I know you got behind them at least a couple of times. I know you were laser focused anyway, but did you have to focus extra hard knowing you're hitting a car from behind that doesn't have the most complete rear bumper as it did when it started the race?
RYAN REED: Well, that was my exact thoughts at first was, all right, I'm going to line up behind the 2 car here and obviously he's got some damage, so what's it going to do. So I just asked my spotter, and I said, Hey, man, what's going to happen here, can I push on him. Obviously he's up here, so he's still got some speed, but how hard can I lean on him, and he said, Get after it. Don't push him through the travel, but I feel like I pretty much don't do that anyways.
These cars are very durable. They do a good job patching them up, and obviously we only have five minutes to do it now, but these guys can do a lot in five minutes. I think we've seen that the last two nights, and that 2 car was capable of winning.
You know, I certainly think that‑‑ my car wasn't‑‑ I mean, it wasn't perfect by any means, so you've just got to battle through all that, and as long as that thing still has four wheels and can roll forward, you're probably not completely out of it.
Q. Phil and Jack, first of all, where do you think you guys have seen the most improvement out of Ryan in the past couple of years as a driver, and as good as the team has been at times, why do you think it's taken so long to get back to Victory Lane?
JACK ROUSH: You know what, Ryan has gotten better as a driver. He's got to the point he can ask for what he wants. I often look at the simulation that we use to solve problems in the computer for the car. If you don't ask the right question, you don't get an answer that means anything, and if you're a driver and if you don't want the things that make your car go fast, if you want something that makes it feel good that doesn't have speed in it, well, then you've got a problem. You can't ever make it fast.
But Ryan has now got enough experience with the cars. He knows where the speed is. With Phil, he's able to communicate that well, and they're able to make changes on the race car.
This change I don't think manifests itself in the cars we've had at Daytona here, but for the cars that we're going to take to Atlanta and for the rest of the schedule, we've got our cars from a kinematics point of view and geometry and structural point of view more like our Cup cars that we've had in the past, and I think that's going to pay dividends as we keep going.
But the main improvement or the fact that we're able to close the deal with Ryan now has to do with Ryan's maturity and the fact that he's maintained his focus, and we've got a good spotter behind him and Phil Gould doing what he needs to do to give him what he asks for.
PHIL GOULD: I think Ryan touched on it earlier. It's just maturity and confidence in one another, and Ryan and I have got our communication down. There's no uneasiness. We know we both have each other's back, and Mike Herman, our spotter, too, two years in a row with him. Just having the communication and faith in one another to do it. I think that really is what helps us.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on winning here at Daytona, and best of luck next week in Atlanta.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports