home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 15, 2017

Bud Denker

Paul Wolfe

Lincoln, Alabama

THE MODERATOR: We will continue on with today's post‑race media availability for the Alabama 500, and we are joined by the winning crew chief Paul Wolfe of the No.2 Miller Lite Ford for Team Penske, and Team Penske president Bud Denker. Paul, I'm going to start with you. Ford, no surprise, having a lot of power here at superspeedways. Ford has now swept the superspeedways in 2017, and Team Penske once again coming into Victory Lane here at Talladega. What was the key that got you there today?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, to your point there, Ford sweeping the speedway races, hats off to Doug and all the guys at Roush Yates. They continue to work hard and bring us great power, and these Fords aerodynamically are great on these speedway races. Individually all the different teams are able to get a lot of speed out of these things. Hats off to our guys back at Team Penske for continuing to push on the speedway program and getting more because as we've been so good, you need to continue to find more as you move forward, and qualifying I think showed that we've been able to keep up with the progress that other teams have made with having our cars up towards the front in qualifying. The 22 was obviously very strong qualifying, and we were sixth.
Just a lot of effort on these speedway programs, and we're trying to capitalize when we can.
THE MODERATOR: With the unpredictability that goes into speedway racing here at Talladega, how nervous were you in those final laps watching the Blue Deuce trying to bring it home?
BUD DENKER: Well, I watch the races in the top of the grandstands, so I was up there in the very top, which is what took me so long to get down here. But that was really something. It was so impressive, also, what Joey did, to come from the adversity he faced today and to come back and make it all the way to Brad to help push him across the finish line.
Ryan Blaney did a great job today, too. Those stage points, you see now how important they are. They really are, after his mishap, and then I think he had 18 and then Brad almostran the table today.
But Joey did a great job today, and every car was fast out of our shop today. But Paul and the team, despite the adversity they faced, they had an antenna get chopped off from debris ‑ that's a first for us, right, Paul? They overcame with no communication for many, many laps, and then came in and made the call, and the call obviously worked and now we're advancing to the next stage of the round with Brad and the team. We can kind of going to Kansas, can't we Paul, and kind of learn from it, so well‑done.

Q. Paul, with the broken antenna, how did you communicate with Brad, and how did you get him in to pit?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, it was tough, obviously. He was coming in and out, and obviously when he would come down the front stretch close to the pit box, he could hear a little bit of what we were saying, and I could hear him a little bit. It was breaking up really bad. But it was kind of‑‑ the first couple opportunities we had to come down pit road, I kind of left it up to him because I couldn't tell how much he could hear or not. We didn't really need to hear what he had to say, but it was important for him to be able to hear the spotter.
Those first few cautions I was kind of leaving it up to him, and as it went on, I could tell by a couple of the runs there where we were losing all this track position, I really felt like it had to be because he wasn't sure, he was trying to clear himself through his mirrors, and it's almost impossible to do that at a place like this. So it got to the point where I was like, to win this race, we're going to need the spotter. It's that important, and you hate to give up the track position, but I really felt like to win the race that's what it was going to take.
Obviously you put yourself in jeopardy when you lose that track position of getting caught up in the big one, and we were fortunate today to miss that and get through it, but ultimately I knew we were going to need the spotter to win this race.

Q. I know that every team comes to the racetrack intending to win. Brad got his first career Cup victory at Talladega in 2014. He was in a must‑win situation and he got the win here. Do you ever feel like in these situations with Brad that you don't need to worry, that he'll figure this out?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, as I looked at the playoffs as we tried to understand what we need to do in each round and look at our strengths and weaknesses, it's no surprise we know we're off a little bit to the Toyotas on the mile‑and‑a‑half, the downforce stuff. But I looked at Talladega and this round as an opportunity. Obviously there's a chance you get caught up in it, but I told Brad, I've told the guys all along, that this was going to be our path to make it to Homestead, and that was going to be winning Talladega. And I told Brad that again after the race at Charlotte last week on pit road when we didn't have the results we wanted. We ran very poorly for what was expected out of us at Charlotte. And I told him, you know, we've got to go to Talladega and win.
You know, to your point when he gets in these situations you're going to get the most out of him that he's got. Like I said, you've got to have a little bit of help, a little lucky breaks, whatever you want to call them, along the way, but I knew if we had that, our cars have been fast enough, and he's talented enough at these tracks that I knew we could get it done today.

Q. Brad said he didn't want to pit, and he felt he was fine. How did you convince him otherwise that he needed to pit and you needed to address the situation?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, I mean, obviously he had the track position, and it's very tough decision to give that up. But gosh, there's so many moves that happened that I felt like he doesn't know about or can't tell through his mirrors, and I know how important that spotter is to help with that.
Like I said, I saw a couple moves, and honestly I haven't had the opportunity to discuss this with Brad, but we were up front, and then I saw us going backwards really fast, and I thought something was wrong with the car at first, but as it happened a few times, I started to believe that it had to have been just because he wasn't 100 percent confident in a move because he couldn't tell just by the mirrors. I knew we weren't in a good position without the spotter, and ultimately, like I said, I knew our car was fast. All the Fords were fast today, so I felt like it was worth the risk to give up the track position and come down and fix it right.

Q. How in the world do you tell somebody that Talladega is a must‑win situation? That doesn't seem like that's very good odds.
PAUL WOLFE: No, and like I said, you do have to have a little luck. But we haven't been lucky four times, or I guess we've won here four times. Brad has won one once with Finch. You don't just get lucky four times. That's having fast race cars, like I said, a guy that's very talented at these style racetracks. I had confidence. Obviously I knew there was an opportunity we could come here and get caught up in the big one, as we saw our teammates had issues, the 21 was very strong and he had issues, but ultimately you've got to have confidence and know what your strengths are, and I knew this was our strength right now. You've got to believe you can do it and hope for the rest.

Q. Do you tell him when he gets up here that Martinsville is a must‑win situation?
PAUL WOLFE: Absolutely. I think I've told my team that. We've looked at it. You've got to be realistic about where you're at right now, where our cars are at speed‑wise, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and you've got to do your best to capitalize when you can. Absolutely I look at Martinsville as we need to go there and win, and if we can do that, we'll race for a championship.

Q. When did you lose the antenna, and could you have won this race without Joey's help there at the end?
PAUL WOLFE: Like I said, obviously it's hard to say if we could have won it or not. I think we broke it there kind of lose track now, everything happened so fast, but somewhere there after‑‑ right before‑‑ it was after the second stage, I believe, before we were pitting there for the last time. I don't know, it's really hard to say if we could have won without it, but I knew we could win with it, so I felt like that was the decision we needed to make there to give ourselves the best chance.

Q. We know that Roush Yates engines are very strong here at superspeedways. How do you feel going forward to the Martinsville, Texas, tracks like that, with Roush Yates horsepower?
PAUL WOLFE: I feel good about it. Those guys have been working hard. You know, they're very open to feedback from the teams, and whether it's from our team or Roush or Stewart‑Haas, it's good to have Stewart‑Haas in the mix now, they've got some input and some ideas, and I think Ford as a whole, we all try to work together and all pull in the same direction, and the engine shop is no different on that. Speedways have always been a strength and something Doug really focuses on. But they've been bringing us really good stuff to the other racetracks. Just seems like the short tracks are obviously a little less aero dependent, and we've been able to be a little more competitive at those, so that's where I look at Martinsville as the next opportunity.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297