KENSETH WINS FIRST CUP POINTS RACE FOR FUSION * Matt Kenseth won for the 11th time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career and first time at California Speedway with today's triumph. * Fusion registered its first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points...
KENSETH WINS FIRST CUP POINTS RACE FOR FUSION
* Matt Kenseth won for the 11th time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career and first time at California Speedway with today's triumph.
* Fusion registered its first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points victory today in only its second series start.
* Fusion is now the seventh different Ford model in NASCAR history to win a Cup event joining Taurus, Thunderbird, Torino, Galaxie, Fairlane and the original Ford.
* The last time Ford Racing swept a NASCAR Craftsman Truck, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend was when Roush Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton combined to win all three events at Phoenix International Raceway in 2001. Biffle captured the Truck and Busch events on Oct. 26 and 27 while Burton won the Cup feature on Oct. 28.
* Ford has 571 all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins.
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion (Finished 42nd)
DID THE ENGINE GIVE YOU ANY WARNING? "Yeah, it did. Earlier in the race it was kind of laboring a little bit. It might have been a valve spring or something. I hate to even guess, but our engines have been so strong. We didn't have an engine failure all season last year and the guys keep building more and more power in these things. Sooner or later you're bound to find a point where something is gonna give and today we did, so we'll look at it and study it and hopefully not have that failure the rest of the season."
YOU WERE STRONG ALL DAY. "We had a great race car today and I have to applaud the engine department. We've had great engines. We've got great horsepower. You can see it out on the race track how good these engines run. We didn't have a failure the entire season last year, so they're making more and more power and you're bound to find a limit some time or another and we did today. It's unfortunate. The Jackson Hewitt National Guard car was good. The guys in the pits, a phenomenal job. Doug call the race was just perfect. I made some mistakes out on the race track driving and cost me a few spots, but I was able to get back and get going again. I think I was a little bit better than the 17 at the end there and thought it might have been mine, but we'll never know. Matt had a good car and the 48 is right there and everything. It's just unfortunate. We finished 30th at Daytona and now probably gonna be 40th at least here, so this is not the way we wanted to start the season out."
WERE YOU WORRIED? "I really wasn't. Our engines have been so good. It showed some early signs. It felt like it was laboring a bit at times and it may have been a valve spring going. I'm not sure. I hate to speculate what it could have been, but the guys are tearing it down so they can find out and get home and get working on it tomorrow to prevent this from happening at Las Vegas maybe."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO BE SO DOMINANT? "It's frustrating. It kind of drains you, but I've got to be optimistic about our season. That's the only thing that keeps me going is I won yesterday. Thinking about Las Vegas, going there and running well. It's unfortunate because this is how we make our living, too. It's a big payday, big PR to come and win a race like California Speedway and lots of points on the line. We need to get inside that top 10 for the end of the season and a 30th place and now probably a 40th is not the way to start the season."
WERE YOU AND THE 20 THE CLASS OF THE FIELD? "That says something, but the 20 and I were pretty quick. I think I got my car better. He was good in the middle part of the race, but I got my car really good here at the end. I was gonna be tough to beat. I was a little nervous when I saw the 20 behind me squared up with fresh tires and all that, but we were able to get out on him a little bit."
ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE FUSION ON THIS TRACK? "I couldn't really tell a lot of difference. The Fusion's got a great balance just like the Taurus did. It may be a little bit better, but it's hard to tell without running one right against the other -- just coming here the next year, but it's definitely a good car."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
"We had a great handling car. The DeWalt Ford Fusion was awesome and we had a great pit crew with these guys behind me. This one is for Johnny Reiser. Without him we wouldn't be racing here. It's hard not to think of him everytime we're at the race track, but these guys did a great job. I just have to thank my sponsors. Carhartt, USG, R&L Trucking, DeWalt and all of our great partners."
WHY ARE THE ROUSH CARS SO GOOD HERE? "We've got great people here. We've got a lot of loyal people. We've got people that want to work hard and want to win. I've been very blessed to have such a great team that works so hard at it. I feel bad for Greg because he had the best car today, but I thought we had the second or third-best car."
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Finished 6th)
"When I looked at the practice times from yesterday I pretty much focused on all the Roush cars because it just seemed like we were better than most. Matt could lay a good lap down at the beginning and then Greg and Mark were really good at the end. I told them as soon as the race was over I was like, 'You guys have just really fast race cars here.' I whined the entire race that it was too tight and we were still running in the top five, top eight most of the day. I'm just very, very excited. They had really good pit stops and altogether it's just an incredible race team here. I think we can get to Vegas. We're gonna take this same car and we had a great test there. We didn't tear anything up. We had a tough day at Daytona. We ran well, but I ended up not finishing very well. This will be a good rebound in points."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING ON THIS SIDE OF THE ROUSH DOMINANCE? "I watch all the NASCAR programs in the morning and they all talk about the Roush dominance and that's cool that I get to be a part of that this year. They actually won every division this weekend at the race track, so it's just an awesome racing organization. Jack has hired really good people and the Roush-Yates engines are amazing. I'm just fortunate to be a part of this."
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO WHAT YOU HAD BEFORE? "I had really good cars at Ganassi at times, but this is a fresh start with a championship caliber team. It was nice during happy hour to pull notes from Greg's car because I felt like he was the best. He had a little different rear springs and we tried his springs and that's what we ended up racing today. It's nice to get to go pull some notes from some other guys and guys that were really, really fast."
WAS THAT NOT THE CASE BEFORE? "No, it's not like that. When you're getting notes from guys that won four or five times last year you certainly have more confidence in what information you're getting. We had access before to get notes from Casey and Sterling, but we didn't utilize that. We were kind of on our own deal, but all of our cars today had very similar springs. We all had a little bit different shock package on, but for the most part the springs, trackbars and swaybars were all the same. It's pretty incredible they can build cars that close."
IS THE HANDLING THE DIFFERENCE FROM LAST YEAR WITH THE CARS? "The new Fusion is a really good race car and I was amazed at how fast it was at Daytona because from what they told me they built it for the downforce tracks and I think it showed today and in the Busch race yesterday. It's a very dominant race car and to run that well with it right out of the box, I think, says a lot."
HOW MUCH DO THE OTHER ROUSH DRIVERS PUSH YOU? "I was glad to see Matt win. I think it's cool that Roush won everything this weekend -- the Truck, the Busch and the Cup. Certainly, if you can't win you want to see one of your teammates win. We can go back and look at what shocks he had and everything and maybe learn something for us the next time we're here."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL. IS THERE MORE? "Yeah. It's kind of ironic because on the last lap I see the 42 car on the inside of me and I thought, 'I'm racing my old car here.' That's cool for those guys that they ran well today, but I have a lot of faith in Jimmy and the pit crew and the engine program and the bodies -- everything over here. They're at the top of their game and I'm very fortunate to be able to join in at this time."
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd)
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER DAYTONA? "It was paramount. This is exactly what we needed. We had a good, fun, safe day of racing and didn't wreck anything. Hopefully that will help us out a little bit in points. We didn't lead a lap, but you've got to congratulate Greg Biffle first of all. He had a dominant car, and Matt Kenseth for winning. It was just a fun day. I had a blast. It was a fun race."
YOU RALLIED FROM DAYTONA. "Yeah, we had some bad luck in the 500, but every day is a new day and I tell you what, if anything, that was a motivator. To be 43rd in points and wake up on Monday and feel like, 'Hey, we've got to do this.' That's a motivator and I think this team has enough depth and we're capable of coming back. We just have to do it."