2nd, 3rd NASCAR Daytona 400 Finishers Press Conference

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2nd, 3rd NASCAR Daytona 400 Finishers Press Conference

By NASCAR

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post race press conference Daytona International Speedway

An interview with Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano


THE MODERATOR: Our post race for tonight's 53rd annual Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola here at Daytona International Speedway, our race runner-up is Matt Kenseth. He drives the No. 17, Affliction Clothing Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. Matt, certainly I know you made a trip by Victory Lane to congratulate your teammate David Ragan, but certainly great racing up front today by the Roush Fenway duo, you and him.

David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford leads Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with one lap to go
David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford leads Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with one lap to go

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had really fast cars together, you know. It's almost like you're a team. You know what I mean? It's almost like two cars are one cars, so in a way I feel like we won. So that was good.

But our cars were really fast together. We got up front early and led. Kind of made a plan last week. Jimmy and Drew worked together to make a plan, and David and I talked a lot yesterday and today. We both got up there and got our bonus point. We both led. Kind of got shuffled out one time and went to the back and waited a little bit.

When we wanted to we were able to make a charge and get up the lead. Couple cautions went, and the green and white checkers mixed up the order a little bit. One time I was leading with three to four to go. And the way the restart worked it got him back in the lead and lined us up for the green and white checker.

It was a good night for us. I'm glad it worked out. The two speedway races have been a disaster so far this year, so I'm happy to not get wrecked tonight and finish second.

Q. At the end of the day or end of the night, I guess, what is the frustration factor, because this seems to be just a crazy, haphazard wild car that -- what happens at the end, obviously, with all the wrecks and everything?

MATT KENSETH: Well, for me I'm not frustrated at all. The first two speedway races we wrecked and finished -- I don't know where we finished, you guys probably know, probably high 30s or something. And those have been our big problems. We just couldn't get anything to work. Got destroyed in both of them. So I'm not frustrated at all. I feel like one of the luckiest guys here. I guess the second luckiest guy here. Made it through the race unscathed. Made a plan with David, and we both did what it took to work, not necessarily for ourselves, but realizing that the two cars were like one car and we had to treat it like that.

We both took care of each other's cars and the positions that we were in. We raced in front or in back of each other all night, every single lap of the whole race. Waited for each other after the pit stop.

Did what it took to get the finish, so that feels good that the plan came together and worked out for us tonight.

Q. What would have had to have happened for you to have an opportunity to win short of your teammate faltering? Was there a move you could have made?

Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford and crew chief Jimmy Fennig
Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford and crew chief Jimmy Fennig

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, the biggest thing is the 20 was too close. I mean, really the move I could have made -- coming through three and four, I believed the 29 was right on me, pushing me hard, while I was pushing David. If I wouldn't have had a car outside of me -- which I still did -- if I wouldn't have had a car outside of me, that would have been my chance to move outside and the 29 would have pushed me and I maybe could have made a run to the finish there.

But I think that was coming to the white, and really I think Joey was too close. I couldn't have made a move on David, one car on one car I don't think without Joey splitting us and winning the race. I figured he won since he spun me out last week. I figured he would have cut me a break tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Joining us now is Joey Logano. He finished third in tonight's race. He drives the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joey, certainly you had a good weekend here at Daytona. Won last night in the Nationwide Series, and certainly had a chance here tonight and finished third. Talk about that.

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, really good weekend for us. Winning last night, and tonight had a good run. It's crazy out there, you know, you think we'd ride around for 350 miles, but we don't. We just keep going out there.

Me and Kyle were committed to each other from the beginning of the race. We worked good last night together, and we decided to just keep going with that. We did good. We didn't lead a ton of laps, but we ran hard where we needed to and just kind of stayed with the group all day.

There was a wreck there. Jeff Gordon and all that happened, and Kyle was put in the fence there and he wrecked, knocked his fender in, and cut his right front down, and I was alone, and Kasey Kahne was alone out there too.

So the restart there, me and Kasey hooked up with each other, the two lead group cars, which was David and Matt. And I don't even know who the other group was. I think it was the 31.

I was in the middle group, got back down, and the inside lane had a lot of cars lined up, and I was able to push that line ahead. We were able to do a good job side drafting and breaking up some other cars.

Getting in line third and fourth, you know, I was hoping we'd get a run down the back straightaway and these guys would try to go to the outside of three, and tried to pull them apart to win the race. Just couldn't get there.

It seemed that they got down the back straightaway, and I started forming a little bit of a run and I was just about to make my move, and we just pushed them ahead a little bit. It was enough to stay out there. David and Matt were loyal to each other all day. They were working with each other all day long, so you knew nothing was going to happen there at the checkered. They were going to work together to make sure one of them won the race.

I wish it was more exciting than that toward the checkered flag. But either way, it was still a really good race for us, and I'm sure it was entertaining for the fans.

Q. Matt, you've been with David Ragan ever since he's been with Roush. Can you describe what he's gone through and what this win should mean to him?

MATT KENSETH: Well, I mean, he'll have to tell you what the win means to him, but I've seen David mature a lot and learn a lot. When he came in here and started driving the 6 car, I don't know David's whole racing history, but he didn't have a lot of experience, especially driving big, heavy cars. He's had a couple of different crew chiefs and car chiefs and crews and groups until they found a good mix that worked really well with him. I don't know why it is like that, but you've got to get that right mix of people together. Get all them people working right together. It seems like he's got that right now.

Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

They've had really fast cars all year. He's sat on at least one pole, maybe more. He's been the fastest in practice a lot. They've had really fast cars and you could kind of see it coming. So I think just getting the right group of guys together for him, and I think just getting more experience and learning.

Q. I've got two questions for you, Joey. David's a good friend of yours. We're going to make a lot about the redemption. What did he go through after the Daytona 500? I know you guys probably talked. And two, going back to last night with you, another good run, I guess you're excited now to be going to Kentucky where I figure you've got the most experience of anyone in the Cup series.

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, as far as Kentucky, we have a lot of momentum going into there. So that is going to really help. You know never. You get different cars there, another year on the racetrack. Also the new Nationwide cars are going there for the first time. So you never know what's going to happen.

I feel like I know what I need to go faster, and I know what I need to do in practice to make sure my car's good. So hopefully all that stuff's still the same.

As far as David, David and I grew up together. Since I was 9 years old we've raced against each other. I went over to Victory Lane and congratulated him. He deserves it, for sure. I know how he felt after the 500 this year. I can only imagine how tough that's got to be, you know.

But he definitely redeemed himself today, so that's really cool for him. I know how cool it was last night winning here at Daytona, I couldn't imagine what it is one level up against the best of the best. That's got to be really awesome. So congratulations to him and the team. They really, really deserved it.

It's cool. His family's in there. Adam's in there. His whole deal, so it's really cool to see.

Q. Matt, were you just, was it in your mind that they were just going to stay behind David the whole way around those last two laps?

MATT KENSETH: Well, it depends on the circumstances. I thought that was going to be our chance for one of us to win. If we would have had a 20-car-length lead coming off four, I would have tried to figure out how to make a single car move and beat him to the line.

But when I saw Joey, Joey was too is close. If I would have made a move on David, Joey would have passed us both or we all would have wrecked or something. Something would have happened.

So when I came off four, and I looked to see where Joey was, I could see he had good speed. I could see he was being pushed. Me and David were on the same radio and I wasn't standing on the yellow line. I'm going to keep pushing you. I'm not going to leave you and try to pass you, because I knew that one of us weren't going to win.

So that was the plan to work as a team all night. It just so happened he was in front of them. Both of us were kind of unselfish all night, worked together really good, I thought. I was leading with three to four to go, and those were the circumstances. Restart that got him back in front, and I was fine with that too. We made a plan and we stuck to it. It worked well.

If the circumstances would have been different, like I said, if we would have had a big lead where I knew we wouldn't get passed, we were still going to finish first and second regardless and make a move to win the race.

Both of us were kind of unselfish all night, worked together really good, I thought.

Matt Kenseth

Q. Joey, does anybody ask you about the Mark Martin deal? You saw when Mark pulled out in front of you, he said he was trying to hook up with you because he didn't have partners?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, you know, he started like that. I didn't have no friends and he didn't either. But I was going to try to shoot through that gap and see if someone could push me. You know, I had my nose in there. It's one of those deals towards the end of the race there. I probably could have backed off and let him get in there.

But I was all about that group in front of him was coming down across, too, so I was just going to shoot through there and see if we could find something.

That's just the racing deal. That could have gone either way. I probably could have done something to stay out of it and he could have stayed up. So it's just one of those deals. It's no one's fault, really. You know, just either one of us could have done something to avoid it.

Q. Given all day, it's been a tough road for David. He's struggled. This year he's been fast, the Daytona 500 happened where he pulled down and all that. Given all of that, what do you think this means to him to have this moment and have redemption from all of that?

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I think it's got to be pretty big for him to win that race, stepping in the 6 car after Mark leaving and all that stuff isn't exactly probably the easiest job in the world. So it took a little while to find the group of guys that he seems to work the best with.

You know, ever since they kind of mixed that up and Drew got over there, and they switched some guys around, and their performance has really picked up. You could see it coming. I know it's at a speedway, but you could see it coming to other tracks too. He's been running better, and they've been faster in practice, they've been racing better and qualifying better.

They've been improving. It's really hard to win at this level. You can see that they've been, you know, improving along with the organization, so I'm happy for them to get that win, because he deserves it, like I say, especially after the 500 as well.

Q. You talked about this yesterday, but the last two weekends now, poles, finished at Sonoma, Nationwide win, here third place. I know people have asked you if you feel like things are turning around, but confidence certainly must be up?

JOEY LOGANO: Oh, for sure. I need something to turn around here. Recently it seems like everything's been going the wrong way. Ever since we got that pole last week and won the West race and had a good run there in Sonoma, coming here and getting a first and a third.

Going into Kentucky was a really good racetrack for us, at least we think it is. We'll see when we get there. But there is definitely a lot of momentum on my team side. Me, personally I needed a lot for self confidence, but it definitely helps out a lot with the team too. You know, not feeling as desperate out there in what we have to do. We definitely can relax out there and do what we need to do like we did last year.

Q. Matt and Joey, it was discussed early on after Carl's wreck that he didn't have a cool box, and didn't have a filter, I guess, for the carbon monoxide situation. I understand that caused some serious issues with him early on before they could repair the car. I know we talk at this time of the year about how important it is for you all to run the cool boxes to keep yourselves cool, but how important is it to have the scrubbers in the cool box to help with the carbon monoxide situation as well?

MATT KENSETH: I don't know. I bet you Cale Yarborough never had a cool box or a scrubber. I don't think it's that big of a deal on lap 20, not when you're in the shape Carl's in. He's in the best shape of anyone in the garage. He never runs a cool box, he runs a CO2 filter and a little air to his helmet. If that was part of the wreck, I'd be surprised. It could be.

You know, just either one of us could have done something to avoid it.

Joey Logano

Q. (Indiscernible) even know back in the day they didn't.

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, it's like having air conditioning in your home. If you can have it, why wouldn't you? I like running it. I'm not nearly that tough. So I like to run it. I figure the more fresh you are and the better you feel at the end of the race, I feel like you do a better job. So you try to stay in shape, and stay cool and hydrated to be the best you can be at the end as well.

JOEY LOGANO: I agree with that. You can live without the AC. The filter may be something you want. These days you're trying to keep so much air out of the race cars that the stuff builds up. I've had a few friends of mine that run late models and stuff like that that don't run a blower in and they get carbon monoxide poisoning. It seems like it's a really bad deal. And I hear once you get it once, it's easier to get it over and over again.

I think you want the filter, for sure. But it's like he said, you know, Donnie Allison, and all those guys back in the day lived without it, so it must be all right.

MATT KENSETH: And they still had enough energy to fight afterwards, too.

JOEY LOGANO: Damn right. (Laughing).

JOEY LOGANO: I guess I can go over it again. Basically, it was on the restart. I was shooting on the center, and Mark was trying to come down in front of me. You know, as I said earlier, it could have gone either way. I could have backed off a little bit and let him in.

In the race I was wide open, I didn't care. And he was coming down across me. We were going to try to team up there if we were able to do that, but I was going to go in there guns blazing and see what the heck happened on the other side and try to find a partner once I got over there.

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags daytona, ford, kenseth, logano, nascar, nscs, sprint cup, toyota