Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Tuesday October 23, 2012
Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Hollywood Casino 400 Cup Post Race (Kansas Speedway)
Sunday, October 21, 2012
FORD FINISHING RESULTS
1st Matt Kenseth
12th Marcos Ambrose
14th Carl Edwards
20th David Ragan
21st Trevor Bayne
22nd Timmy Hill
23rd David Gilliland
27th Greg Biffle
29th Aric Almirola
34th Scott Speed
37th Casey Mears
38th Kelly Bires
43rd Michael McDowell
KENSETH EARNS THIRD WIN OF THE YEAR, FIRST EVER AT KANSAS
· Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag for the 24th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with today’s win.
· It marks the first time Kenseth has won a Cup race at Kansas Speedway.
· The win is Kenseth’s third of the year.
· The win was the 130th all-time NSCS win for Roush Fenway Racing.
· The win marked the 611th career Cup victory for Ford.
MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – YOUR SECOND TIME WINNING IN THREE WEEKS, THAT WAS ONE WHALE OF A RIDE TODAY. “It was up and down and our Zest Ford was pretty darn good. It was pretty fast today. It surprised me. Jimmy and those guys made great adjustments overnight. I thought it was over when I got in the fence when Aric wrecked under Mark. I was watching them and trying to make sure I didn’t hit them and I flat sided it pretty bad. It ended up working in our favor. They fixed the body as good as it was when we started and we had to take less gas in that last pit stop and this pit crew put me out front.” AFTER THE ACCIDENT, WHAT DID JIMMY TELL YOU ABOUT THE DAMAGE AND HOW DID THE CAR FEEL THEN? “He didn’t say it but he was probably thinking I should stop whining about it. He said it was fine. I knew I hit it really hard but thought it was centered up in the door real good and we had a similar thing happen at Homestead last year. As soon as we got the fender back where it was supposed to be it was fine. I was happy as hard as I hit it that my steering wheel was still in the right place.” HOW ABOUT YOUR RESTARTS ON THE OUTSIDE LANE. YOU SEEMED TO GET GREAT RESTARTS. “Honestly I guess I kind of have to thank Jimmie Johnson for it because earlier in the race I drove under him and thought I would clear him and he stayed right on my door and had me so incredibly loose I couldn’t drive my car and I knew we were faster than him. As soon as that happened I knew that if we got the lead I would take the outside because I didn’t want to be that guy again. There was just no grip on the bottom when you didn’t have air on the car. If you were single file the bottom was the better but to get rolling I wanted the outside and our Yates horsepower, we had so much of it we could get going through the gears and clear them.”
GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M/Sherwin-Williams Ford Fusion – “I lost it man. It got away from me off of four there and we wrecked it.” ARE YOU SURPRISED THE AMOUNT OF CAUTIONS TODAY? “The hard tires contribute to that and the new pavement. I knew it was going to be like that and the Nationwide race was kind of like that but I didn’t plan on it being me. I don’t know what happened. That is the thing; they get away from you so quick. I had no indication, no little wiggle, no sideways anything. It just took off. It just got away from me and it killed our day.”
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 Black & Decker Ford Fusion – “I feel really good for my team. We have been through a lot the last five weeks. There is a ray of sunshine coming on us. We didn’t get the finish we wanted and crashed and tore the car up and fell back and still finished 12th. The team did a great job to get us back on the track and make us competitive. Mike Ford made some great calls on the box and we just have to keep going here and build for 2013.” WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF ALL THE CAUTIONS? “You knew it was coming but the track was pretty racey really and had a couple of grooves. It wasn’t single file. It was tough hard racing and the tire had a very aggressive slip angle on it and when it starts to slide it is hard to catch and that is what you saw today, guys sliding a lot.”
TREVOR BAYNE, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “If they wanted that kind of racing they got it. It was good racing I felt like but if you stepped out of the groove too much you were busting your butt and that is what everybody did. It was unfortunate for us because I felt like we had a decent run going and we were up to 17th with everyone crashing and could have finished top-10 I think but I guess everyone could say that because they were all crashing too. The 9 just got in on us and got a little loose but that is just racing. I hate that we tore it up and didn’t get the finish we were looking for.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Farmland Ford Fusion – WHAT HAPPENED THERE? “We blew another right front. It was a big hit and I lost my breath there for a minute so I had to collect my thoughts. I am disappointed. I have never in my entire life had a race car that good. It was so fast and so easy to drive. All the guys on this Farmland Ford Fusion did a great job and we just had a really great race car and we were here in Farmland’s headquarters and we were trying really hard to double their money to Harvesters Food Bank if we won but we were unable to do that, not from lack of effort. All the guys worked really hard all weekend and we had a spectacular car. I hate that it ends like this but I have always been told you have to give a few away before you can win one and I feel like we certainly gave one away today.”
MATT KENSETH RACE WINNER PRESS CONFERENCE
MATT KENSETH – Driver, No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion -- TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE RACE. “Well, drivers and teams, we don't really like repaves. We complain about them. I was thinking, man, this has to be entertaining for everybody to watch. There was a lot of wild stuff happening. It was tricky especially when you were on the bottom and you didn't have a lot of air. Our race went pretty good. Our car wasn't bad from the start. We made some great adjustments from the first pit stop. We were pretty good until I got into the wall and we had to come and fix it. Actually it turned out to be some good fortune because it didn't slow the car down and we had more fuel than anybody. They had to wait to fill their tanks up and we got our tank full faster, plus we had a really good pit stop so we were able to pass all those guys. That put me out front and gave us a chance.”
THIS IS YOUR 24TH VICTORY. THIS MOVES YOU INTO A TIE FOR 26TH ON THE ALL‑TIME SERIES WIN LIST. THIS IS YOUR THIRD VICTORY OF 2012, YOUR SECOND WIN IN THE CHASE. TALK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU HERE TODAY. “Well, it's not something I've really put any thought into but I will say you never know when or if your next win is. Like I always am, especially as you get older, you really appreciate it more. I'm really thankful and humble to be sitting up here honestly. It's just a pleasure to drive that stuff. We still have some races left we want to win. I just think it says a lot about these guys sitting here, Robbie, everybody else, how hard they work to give me the best stuff and give me a chance to win every week.”
JACK ROUSH, Co-Owner, No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford -- TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT THAT WEEKEND HERE AT KANSAS HAS MEANT TO YOU. “I don't think I've ever strung two races together and had so many surprises, certainly not surprises that worked out in my favor. It was a great race track to race on as it turned out for us. It was surprising, as many people lost their grip on the track, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, all three spinning by themselves. The 43 and the 9 maybe as well, but it was pretty amazing the race track had that surprise for the guys. I'm sure it made it a real exciting race for the fans. We don't look forward to having the race tracks repaved because it really makes all of the notes we have not useful to us. It was an amazing jump ball for both the race yesterday and today and fuel wound up being more of a factor more yesterday than today. It was pretty interesting that the cars that got damaged were able to come back and run as well as they did. A number of cars hit the wall and it really didn't seem they were impacted that much by it. I'm proud to be here with Jimmy Fennig. He's the man. He's led this team to championships. He's really done a nice job. We appreciate Jimmy and everything that he does. Of course, Matt has had 14 years with us and I'm very proud and happy about that, as well.”
JIMMY FENNIG, crew chief, No. 17 Ford -- TALK ABOUT THE STRATEGY YOU USED TO GET TO VICTORY LANE TODAY. “It ended up being a little bit of fuel mileage, too. We worked hard and the track opened up a few days early so we could go test. We looked at a lot of different things. One thing is that we put a lot of adjustability in the car this morning so if the track changed, we could get in and out. The guys did a great job on all that stuff this week.”
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED -- MATT, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DODGING ALL THE MAYHEM ON THE TRACK, WHAT YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO. HOW DID THE SURFACE PLAY OUT FOR YOU? “Some of the stuff we dodged was good fortune, not being around it. That one wreck where I guess Kyle spun out; we were pretty close to that one. I think it was Kyle, first time he spun was really close to that one and got through it. Then, of course, when Aric was kind of running the mark, I knew he was going to spin before he knew he was going to spin. I saw that thing going around. That's what gave us the damage, which was still my fault. I got in the fence. I was trying to watch him and squeeze it up the track a little bit. I didn't want to let off the gas unless he let off and came back across the track. I got in Mark's wake a little bit and the car moved right, I pancaked it pretty good. That was our closest one because we actually got some damage there. It was tricky. Early in the race, Jimmie Johnson helped me. He didn't know he helped me but he did. We ran him down fast, got underneath him and he held me really tight. My car was so loose I could hardly control it. I honestly thought I was going to wipe him out four or five times. We ran ten laps like that and finally he got by me and couldn't get a pass. That taught me a lot about how hard it was going to drive underneath cars, where I wanted to be on restarts, which was outside, kind of what to expect.”
THE REPAVED TRACK ITSELF? “Well, I mean, I think as it gets older, it will be a little bit more driver friendly, a little less treacherous. I don't know if you could have much more of an entertaining or unpredictable race today or even yesterday for that matter. As far as a quality job, awesome facility, they did a nice job on the repave. You couldn't come to a nicer place.”
YOU TALK ABOUT HOW ENTERTAINING THE RACE WAS. WAS IT FUN FOR YOU OR IS IT FRUSTRATING FOR A DRIVER? DO THEY NEED TO DO ANYTHING WITH THE TIRE OR JUST GO WITH THAT? “I mean, I haven't seen the whole race. I just saw what happened around me basically. They have to bring a tire that's durable enough not to blow out. I think a couple people blew tires. I don't know why, maybe they ran something over. The challenge isn't as big as it used to be with repaves. When they used to repave tracks, like Charlotte for instance, the tire had to be so hard it wouldn't blow out. The new pavement makes so much grip and heat you couldn't drive a car for 20 laps you would be so loose. You would just keep picking up time, getting better and better and better. This tire is better than that, but it's a hard tire because they need it to be durable and not blow out. I'm not sure about next year, but obviously through the races and years, when the surface ages, they'll be able to come back on that and give us a little bit more grip.
JIMMY FENNIG CONTINUED -- JIMMY, COULD YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE REPAIRS THAT WERE NEEDED. ALSO NOT THAT YOU NEEDED TO CONSULT MIKE KELLEY, BUT DID YOU CONSULT WHAT HE DID TO GET RICKY BACK IN THE RACE? “Mike Kelley took our favorite car out that we used to win all the races last year with. We knew he would be all right. We hit it pretty flat, just enough to get it on the tires. The guys got it back to the shape we needed. They actually work on the cars at the shop. They know what kind of shape they're looking for. It was pretty good. They did a great job.”
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED -- YOU SEEMED ALMOST SENTIMENTAL TALKING ABOUT THE TEAM. HOW HAS THE CHASE WORKED OUT FOR YOU WITH SORT OF THE GOOD AND THE BAD? “We've had two great races where they couldn't be better, and we had four that probably couldn't be a lot worse, other than Loudon. It's been up and down. I thought last year we were really strong. I thought in the Chase last year we had a shot to win the championship as far as performance. I feel like I let my guys down and didn't do a good enough job making decisions on the track or even off the track, whatever. I felt like I cost us, but our cars were fast enough to win. This season we started off real fast and could run in the top five every week it felt like. We went through a couple months where we didn't perform as well. Unfortunately, one of those months ran into the Chase. I just felt like we were a little off as a group, plus we made a few mistakes that we typically never make, have had some other problems that cost us some finishes. It feels good to get here, have a fast car, have everything happen right, be able to get the win.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED -- WITH RECORD CAUTIONS THE LAST TWO DAYS, THE CAT IN THE HAT HAS TO BE LUCKY TO BE DODGING BULLETS? “I had a little déjà vu both days. We had a chance to get the free pass with Ricky yesterday, and that was putting us in a fuel window I thought most people wouldn't be in. We're normally on the other end of that situation. But it worked out for us yesterday. As I watched all the people having their trouble spinning and everything, I didn't realize until Matt was back on the race track that he'd hit the wall. I had missed that. I watched all that happen. Normally it works out so we wind up not being able to prevail in situations that have got that much adversity. For us to win with two of them in a row makes me feel very, very fortunate.
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED -- A CLOUD COVER CAME RIGHT ABOUT THE START OF THE RACE. DID THAT HAVE ANY EFFECT ON THE SETUP OF THE RACECARS OR HOW THE CAR PERFORMED? “Jimmy is probably smart enough to figure that out. I'm not sure I am. Where we ran on the track, when we finally got track position, I think it's the first time the big cloud cover got over, it cooled down. Right now I'm rambling, have no idea what I'm talking about (laughter). I couldn't really tell a difference. It was cloudy most of the day and got sunny a little bit at the end. The biggest thing that made the difference in your car handling was track position. The more cars in front of me, the closer they were, the worse it handled. The more of a gap I had in front of me, the better it handled. That's what I could tell the difference with what made my car run.”
JIMMY FENNIG CONTINUED -- “I just think the new pavement here, there wasn't much difference with the sun versus the cloud with the new pavement. There wasn't much sun anyway.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED “Matt commented we went through a little bit of a doldrums, our days weren't looking so good a couple months ago or a month ago. The Ford Motor Company kicked in and gave us some more engineering support. That helped us a lot. Of course, Doug Yates' engines really worked well today. They ran all day. It looked like they had lots of power. We had a good aero package, good engine package behind us, good engine, had a great driver and a great crew chief. That's why it worked out.”
TALK ABOUT GREG'S DEAL. LOOKED LIKE HE HAD ENOUGH SPEED TO WIN THE RACE, THE DISAPPOINTMENT HE MUST HAVE HAD TODAY. “Greg was in a better position to make a run for the championship here than Matt was based on the points. My heart was in my throat when I saw him spin there by himself. Of course, I had seen several other cars have the same trouble. The race track bit him today and that was a great sadness for me.”
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Beth Lunkenheimer.
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