MATT KENSETH – No. 17 USG Sheetrock/DeWalt Ford Fusion (finished 2nd) – “It was pretty good. I thought we had a – most of the day – a fourth- to eighth-place car, and made some really good adjustments, got the car a lot better where we could run with them. It just seemed like the 48 and the 20 were in front of us and we couldn’t quite run with them guys, but other than that, we seemed to be able to break even with most of them, depending on what track position we had. So, overall it was a good day. It feels good to come home second. I had that one shot at him and I just couldn’t quite finish the pass. If I could’ve finished that pass on the re-start, I would’ve liked to have been in front of him and tried to hold him off – I don’t know if I could’ve or not, but I would’ve liked to like that chance. It was nice to be in clean air.”
THAT RUN THAT YOU HAD WITH TONY – HE MADE A PRETTY AGGRESSIVE MOVE UP GOING INTO TURN ONE THE FIRST TIME, AND YOU CROSSED OVER. “I got a really good re-start that time and cleared a lap car and had a huge run off two on the outside, and it was very, very close, so I hope someday if I go up there I get the same lift off the gas pedal a little bit. I had to get out of it a little bit because he closed the door and I hung a left and still got a good run down the backstretch – almost cleared him getting into three, I had such a huge run. But then we ran side-by-side for a couple of laps, and when you’re on the bottom and you’re racing for position, it’s hard to hang on to. If it’s early in the race, people will give you a little extra room to hang on to your car, but when it’s at the end for position you’re both racing as hard as you can. I stayed under him for about two laps and finally I went off into three, we went up in there side-by-side, and I got so loose I was afraid I was going to wipe us both out so I had to get back behind him. He probably had the superior car anyway, but on that one re-start it was fun to get in there. I wish I could finish the pass and see how much better the car would’ve been in clean air, and at least try to hold him off.”
“I think as group we’re all running better. I think Carl’s been the fastest car out of our shop for a month or two at least – New Hampshire, Michigan and here again. So, that’s good that him and Bob are getting everything going. And I think Jamie and Larry have been able to get going right away, off this year pretty strong. I know he had some trouble today, but they’ve been running much stronger and they’re right on the edge of making it in, and Greg’s getting used to Greg, so I think that overall we’re definitely running stronger. I still think that the Chevy teams – the 48, the 24 and the 20 and them guys – are still pretty tough. I feel like we’re still just a little bit off to be able to beat them every week, that’s how I feel myself, but we’re getting closer.”
ON HIS CONSISTENCY THIS YEAR. “I think our consistency is pretty good, but it’s a different day with the way the point system works. It’s great to finish and say I got a lot of points, but it would’ve been nice to have that win and that extra 10 going into the Chase because we’re pretty comfortable in the top 12, so we really need to be winning races if we could. We work as hard as we can every week to try to win, and you can only go as fast as you can get your race car to go. So, I do feel like our consistency is good. I think it’s always been fairly good. We’ve had a really good group of guys.
“Robbie’s been with me the whole time. There’s a lot of key guys in our shop to make it happen. To be consistent you’ve got to be running at the end of the day and the set-up has got to be right. We’ve got a bunch of great people working on it and put the stuff together where it doesn’t fall apart. And the Roush-Yates engines have been really reliable. So, it takes everything, and I’ve got a really good group making that happen.
YOU NOW HAVE THREE GREAT RUNS IN A ROW HERE. WHEN YOU GET HERE, HOW MUCH IS IT JUST PICKING UP FOR THE YEAR BEFORE AND HOW MUCH IS STARTING ALL OVER? “I think now it’s starting all over for everybody since we’ve got to rum them other things next year. These cars here we had some notes and know what the feel kind of needs to be like, and with them things it’s going to be totally different, it’s kind of like starting over. I really like coming here. You always have a little extra confidence when you’re kind of at you’re home track. I don’t know if I really have a home track, but this certainly is the closest to where I grew up – two or three hours from here – and I always have a lot of fans here and friends and family and bunch of people that we used to know. So, it feels good. It seems like we have more support here than any other track. That always gives you a little extra adrenaline and makes you want to win ever worse. You always race as hard as you can to win, but it hurts a little more when you don’t, when you’re in front of a home crowd.”
“I think the track’s just normal, it’s aged a little bit and is a little different, wearing out a little bit from what it was, which is a good thing for side-by-side racing. Really, all year and even last year, I think it’s the tire most likely, but all of the tracks have been pretty wide – even when we go to tracks with new pavement. These tires are so hard they don’t really marbles and the tracks stays pretty clean. They’re so hard there’s not a lot of grip and you keep moving up the race track looking for grip. I think all the race tracks, overall, have been much wider than I remember them being three or four years ago. Three or four years ago we had a lot more one-groove tracks. Now we don’t have hardly any of them.”
ARE THESE CLOSE FINISHES HERE GETTING FRUSTRATING? “It really frustrates you when you lose and you have the best car and I don’t feel like we had the best cart today. I don’t feel like we gave it away today, I don’t think we had anything taken away from us. I think my team did a great job to get us home second. But I do know from past experiences when you do more than you know you can do, the outcome is not going to be good. I was running as hard as I could all day. I ran as hard as I could under Tony there and I couldn’t clear him. If I would’ve run into the corner two feet farther, I probably would’ve wrecked us both and would’ve lost my car. You can only go as fast your race car can carry you, and I feel we got everything out of it today. We had good pit stops and feel like we got evevrything out of it on the track. Overall, it was a great weekend for us.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (finished 3rd) – “I just had a lot of fun. I felt like I worked really hard today, I did the best job I could do. We’d work up there and then we’d have a couple of bad pit stops that really set us back. In the end, I don’t know if that really affected our day or not because we took four tires there at the end and that was kind of our strategy anyway. We thought that the four tires would be enough to win the race. There at the end we needed about 20 more laps for the tires to really work. I think Tony had a dominant, I think his car was faster than ours, but we had a little better tires so we were one little increment faster than him there at the end and we needed a lot of time to catch him. I got to race with Matt there at the end; that was pretty cool. I should’ve stayed to the high side, I think I would’ve gotten him. I tried to slide job him and that didn’t work out, but I did have a good time today.”
YOU HAD TO PASS KEVIN HARVICK ON THE RE-START FOR THIRD. WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THAT AT ALL? AND, CAN YOU SUPPLY BACKGROUND ON HIS COMMENTS YESTERDAY THAT YOU HAD BEEN TRASH TALKING IN THE BUSCH SERIES? “Alright, I will give you a little story on that. I never trash talked. When Kevin won at New Hampshire, he made a couple of comments, a couple of little jabs, so I was asked about that the other day, and I just said that I would really enjoy beating him this week in the Busch race – and just like it always happens it backfired and he ended up winning. So he was just taking another little jab at me. We’re just joking around. No, I wasn’t worried about passing him. We’ve got a really good relationship, actually some of the best races I ever had were with Kevin. We just kind of had a little fun.”
IT SEEMS LIKE THE REST OF THE ROUSH FENWAY TEAMS ARE CATCHING UP TO WHAT MATT KENSETH HAS BEEN DOING ALL SEASON. “Matt and Robby, those guys just run well everywhere. They’re the model team at Roush Fenway Racing, so I know I get a lot of help from them, our team and our engineering and our pit crew, everyone gets a lot of help from them. But I do feel like, as we go along, we’re getting better and better, but I feel we’re all getting better, too. But, yeah, Matt and those guys, they’re awesome, and sometimes he gives me good advice.”
ROUSH FENWAY WON LAST WEEK AND FINISHED 2-3 THIS WEEK. HENDRICK HAD JUST ONE CAR IN THE TOP FIVE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THINGS ARE STARTING TO EVEN OUT A LITTLE BIT? WITH SEVEN RACES BEFORE THE CHASE, IS THE RACE A LITTLE MORE WIDE OPEN? “Obviously, the Hendrick cars and the Chevys got off to an unbelievable start. I think we’ve been working really hard and we’ve been gaining a little ground. I feel like we had a car that could win the last five races, or something, which is way better than the beginning of the season – I didn’t feel like that. So, hopefully it continues and by 10 races to go we’ll be even better.”
HOW DO YOU THINK THE TRACK IS MATURING? “I hit the wall both last year and the year before, so I didn’t get to race much of the race. It seemed like the same. The bottom looked kind of wore out, the top would come in and then it would kind of wear out and go back to the bottom.”
ON FORD NOT WINNING YET AT CHICAGO. “Statistically, I think there are more competitive Chevrolet teams, isn’t that correct? We only race here once a year, so it’s hit and miss, and Matt could’ve won the race last year. I felt like we’ve had a fast car every time. I think it’s just one of those things that’s happened. I feel great about our car on the mile-and-a-halves, but just like Matt said, I think sometimes you get to feeling they’re just a tick stronger, but maybe next year it’ll be different. I don’t know.”