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March 5, 2017

Roger Penske

Paul Wolfe

Hampton, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We will continue on with our Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series post‑race media availability for the 58th annual Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. We are now joined by the crew chief of the No.2 Autotrader Ford for Team Penske, Paul Wolfe, and the team owner Roger Penske.
Paul, we'll start with you; it seemed like you folks had a really good car. That 4 was the class of the field, but you guys had a lot of speed in that Blue Deuce today. Talk about the final restart and what powered you to victory.
PAUL WOLFE: Yeah, well, it was definitely a long day, and we had our fair share of issues and adversity we had to overcome with the tire trouble there mid‑part of the race with the right front coming apart, and then we had to come back down at one point for some lug nuts on the left rear. But Brad just drove a smart race.
I mean, it's all about managing your tires and taking care of your car. It's such a long race here, and it's easy to get down when we have issues like we did, but he stayed focused all day and was able to get us back in position there at the end, and the 4 was definitely strong, but we felt like we weren't far behind, and when he had his issue there at the end, we were able to capitalize on it.
It's just a perfect example of never give up, and we didn't do that today, and this team deserves the victory.
THE MODERATOR: Roger, this is the second consecutive victory for Ford performance here in 2017. It has to give you a really good feeling going into the rest of the 2017 season.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, as you know, we made the move to Ford several years ago, and they said they were going to bring on Stewart‑Haas and we said that's great because we really get some teammates, we've got benchmark, and certainly today my heart goes out to Kevin, certainly as he led the race, controlled it and then had that issue.
But it's interesting when you go back and you think about the stop where Brad actually beat him out. I think that had him on a little bit of an edge there on that last‑‑ when he had to go out on his last pit stop. That's why he maybe stepped on it a little bit more. But for Ford it's terrific that we kick off the season certainly with Kurt's win last week and the win this week for us. It's a great start to be in the Chase. To win a race here in Atlanta, this is a long race, it's a tough race, you can see it, some great cars had trouble. But at the end of the day we're thrilled with the weekend we had. We had a good run yesterday with XFINITY, which we were kind of weak last year. So we think that we kept some momentum we had at the end of the year with Joey and we brought it in here this weekend, and I guess it's the Ford One Team Penske this weekend, so we'll take this one and go home quick.

Q. Paul, when you have a day where you've got the problem at lap 118 with the tire issue and then the loose lug nuts later in the race, I heard Brad, and this race felt different because he was so calm with you guys on the radio all day. On a day like this where you have to rally and still get the win, what do you have to keep telling him and/or yourself during the course of the race to make sure you guys don't lose that focus and keep shooting towards the goal?
PAUL WOLFF: Well, it can be tough. It can be frustrating at times for sure, and I think that's where when we get in a race like we were today, that's where Brad really shines, when he's got to be a leader and keep everyone focused and not get down on anyone, and he did that. He kept the guys motivated and showed that he wasn't going to give up on it. You know, the guys didn't either towards the end as we had plenty more pit stops after that. The guys did a great job, just a solid team effort, and you know, it's all about staying focused.

Q. This is also for Paul: In theory, you only need three lug nuts tight to keep the tire on, but we've seen in the past that just one loose lug nut can be a problem. What was your reasoning behind bringing him in if only one lug nut was loose? Did you decide you had to have all five or was there more than one that was loose?
PAUL WOLFF: No, we felt like we weren't confident that there was more than one loose. Our pit department does a great job of trying to monitor that and all the teams have these great cameras these days. You can see when these guys are hitting lug nuts, and we try to do the best we can to understand if someone has missed lug nuts, we have an idea of what we feel like we need to be tight, to not have a loose wheel, and we were in a point where we felt like it was best just to come down and make sure they were tight, and we felt like there was still enough time to recover and give us our best finish.

Q. Paul, any idea why there were so many guys speeding on pit road? Were you guys doing anything conservatively to make sure that you didn't?
PAUL WOLFF: Honestly, we played it like we normally do. You know, the timing segments any more are really short. I don't know if that catches guys off because you don't have a lot of time to give back, I guess, if you will, with the short segments. So I don't know if it was related to that or guys have just‑‑ trying to step it up a little bit. But we definitely saw a lot of them, but we kind of ran our numbers what we felt, and we didn't have an issue. So I'm not really 100 percent sure on that.

Q. Roger, you've experienced so many victories, I'm sure it's hard to remember every single victory that you've experienced, but when you get a victory where a team has struggled all day and they never give up, does that stand out special for you?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think that's the DNA of our team. We've had a lot of adversities over the years and we've had some wins. But I think if somebody were listening to the radio, Brad said after we had came into the pits, he said, hey, we're all one team, we're going to go here, and he said that on the radio to the guys, and I think that was key.
I think if you watched him during the race, he was managing his tires. He knew that he could hurt the right front, and I think at the end there when he had to go, he still had something left.
Now, could we have caught the 4, probably not. But that's a special win for us. And that's what we have to be because you end up‑‑ you lose more than you win in this sport, so I think that makes you tougher and stronger.

Q. Roger, Ford obviously starts 2017 now two for two and so strong with the addition of Stewart‑Haas Racing. You mentioned benchmarking. I know that you guys prefer to have the unfair advantage, but are you working a little bit more with the SHR teams, or is it the benchmarking that you guys are each pushing each other to do more to start this year?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think obviously worked with Roush last year, they weren't quite as competitive as maybe we were, but we knew coming in with Stewart‑Haas that they were going to be guys that could set a bar for us. In fact, we built some chassis for them before Daytona, some center sections, and we had our cars in the wind tunnel and compared them. So we know what they have and they know what we have. Then it's up to guys like Paul and certainly the SHR guys to set the cars up and we race them. But I felt that the camaraderie at Daytona was something we haven't had for a number of years because we pretty much played by ourselves, and I think that that's made us much stronger.
But from a comparison standpoint, I think that we need that because if they're better than we are, we've got to figure out why and vice versa, and we'll shoot it out on the track there in the last lap or the last 10 laps. I think that's what happened today. But it was good from a Ford perspective, when you see two or three or four cars in the top 5 or six, you know how strong the Toyotas have been and the Chevys have been. This gives us at least a chance to say we're on par with these guys. Now with a couple of wins I'd have to say we might be an inch or two ahead.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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