Fontana: Winning team interview

JACK ROUSH - Roush Fenway Racing "It speaks to the depths of the team, the effort they've made all winter, to be able to have two cars, a Busch car and a Cup car that was able to perform so good here. It's a pleasure to have a chance to win...

JACK ROUSH - Roush Fenway Racing

"It speaks to the depths of the team, the effort they've made all winter, to be able to have two cars, a Busch car and a Cup car that was able to perform so good here. It's a pleasure to have a chance to win here, which is the second race for our new association with Fenway Sports Group. The first call I got last night was from John Henry; the first call I got this morning, I actually wasn't up when he called this morning, and he had a family thing to do, but we'll dedicated my part of this victory to John. He is the owner of record for the 17 car moving forward. The pit crew did an awesome job on pit road. I don't think we would've been able to have the result we had had they had more trouble than they had. The cars, Matt and I were just talking about, they have the characteristic to be aero-tight here, so you get a car that runs really as good as it should and does what it needs to up front, and it won't be right behind three or four other cars. The 48 car had a bad stop, it looked like, and they got stuck back there. But the pit crew did a great job. Matt was in tune with Chris Andrews, our engineering manager, and Chip Bolin, who's stepping in and doing a heck of a job. We've had conversation with Chip different times over the years about what he might like to do, and he's always said he'd rather not have the responsibility to do what Robbie had been doing, but he got thrust in to it and has done a really good job. I'm just glad to be here and a part of this myself."

MATT KENSETH - No. 17 Carhartt/DeWalt Ford Fusion

"Really, the car was really good all day. Where we started, I was kind of pleasantly surprised, it was a little too tight but we were able to make a way forward those first couple of runs. So, I was really pretty pleased with it. So, we didn't have to make a lot of changes. When we were down to quarter-pound adjustments I knew we were pretty close. One time we'd fight a little too free and sometimes we'd fight being a little too tight, but we were always pretty close and it seemed like we were always able to maintain the top three or four. The pit thing, we got lucky and pitted it right in the beginning of the race to get us our track position and we were able to hold on to that, and a couple of times the cautions fell right for us, for sure, and git us back up front. Overall, it was a great day. Robbie did a great job with this car, he worked on it all week while we w ere in Daytona, and got the team prepared to come out here. Chip did a wonderful job all weekend, and all last weekend, as well. Just lucky to be driving this stuff, and it was a great day."

RIGHT BEFORE THE RED FLAG, KEVIN HARVICK WAS CHARGING PRETTY HARD. HOW CONCERNED WERE YOU? WHAT WOULD'VE HAPPENED HAD IT STAYED GREEN TO THE FINISH?

KENSETH: "I was concerned. Our car was real good on a short run and the first three or four laps I was able to put a pretty huge distance up there, after that he certainly was cutting out of it every lap, was a little quicker every lap, and with seven or eight laps to go, I don't know, getting there is one thing, passing's another, but he certainly was faster at the time. He was certainly going to get there and make it hard. I don't know if we could've held him off or not. I'm glad we didn't have to find out. I started sliding the tires and I was using the tires up pretty hard, and the caution really helped us, was able to get the tires cooled off a little bit sitting there. They came back and felt almost as good as new ones for the last four laps."

ON BOUNCING BACK AFTER LOSING POINTS BEFORE THE SEASON.

ROUSH: "We've made a decision to appeal the points thing. Certainly, we have no quarrel with NASCAR's prerogative to do what they'd like as far as deciding what's right and wrong, but the idea of taking points before we had any is unprecedented, and of course we're going to talk about that. We think that that's excessive. I've not been successful with appeals before, and I'll be surprised if I get relief, that I think it's justified and I expect really to have to lumber on. But Matt and the guys have done what they can to start to put a dent in that. It takes a while to make up 50 points. With a few points a position, I don't expect to recover from that before we get to Bristol with the Car of Tomorrow. But hopefully we'll be back on track by then. To be able to come out here to the California track, which is one of our favorites, with the way you're able to race side by side - and really, somebody runs into somebody on the California Speedway, they're not doing what they need to be doing because it's a big, wide race track with a lot of grooves that work really well. It's been good to come back here. To answer your specific question, we'll do what we can with our repeal and just lumber on. We decided a long time ago we'd subjugate ourselves to NASCAR's policies and their determination s and we're just stuck with what we've got."

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AT THE END?

CHIP BOLIN - interim crew chief, No. 17 Carhartt/DeWalt Ford Fusion

"We were hoping Kevin wasn't going to pass us, is what we were thinking. The guys did a really good job all day. Everybody keeps asking me all the calls I made and the things that were going on; I think Robbie deserves a lot of credit, in that he's the one that put this whole group together and told them all what needs to be done and how to do it, including myself, and he's got a machine here that will run itself as long as we all do the jobs we're supposed to be doing. He should be very proud of what we've done, just based on what he's taught us and what we've accomplished - without him being here with us."

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES FOR YOU, STEPPING IN AS CREW CHIEF FROM ENGINEER?

BOLIN: "No, not really, because, like I said, Robbie's got it all laid out, and I just go about doing what I always do and then just kind of pick up the slack on the things that he does. The group's been together so long and runs so flawlessly that we're just following what we're supposed to be doing, and it pretty much builds."

THIS IS THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR YOU'VE WON AT CALIFORNIA AFTER A DISAPPOINTMENT AT DAYTONA. WERE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO COMING OUT HERE?

KENSETH: "I was looking forward to coming here. This year, for some reason during this off-season, there's probably been, at least on my part, more uncertainty than any other off-season, just because at the end of the year we didn't exactly set the world on fire the last five or six weeks. We took our cars, we've done a lot of different stuff, Chip and the engineer in the engine department did some different stuff, Robbie's done some different stuff aero-wise - I just wasn't sure it was all necessarily going to be the right stuff or if it was going to be the stuff we were going to come right out of the box and run fast with or if it was going to take a couple of months to figure out. So, I was pleasantly surprised about our third time on the race track we're running pretty darn competitive with this car. I guess to answer the question, yeah, I was looking forward to coming out. I didn't really know what to expect. Obviously, I'm very happy today."

WERE THOSE LAST TWO RE-STARTS AS GOOD AS YOU COULD HOPE FOR?

KENSETH: "I was happy with them. Gosh, these guys did a great job for me all year long last year, put me in position to win a few races, and we were able to win a few, but I sure lost a few right at the end, too. I was real concerned about spinning the tires. Doug Yates and Jack, since they put that engine thing together, and now we've got excess horsepower, especially in second gear with these hard tires, and it's very easy to spin them when they're used. I did spin the tires - usually when I spin the tires I'm not real smart, I hold the gas down and it just goes slower and spins them faster - and I was able to breathe it a little bit and I could feel them hook up again and I was able to launch a couple of car lengths away. So that was important. Getting through the gears and getting through one and two very fast is always important with a short run at the end. I think if you get a little cushion there it helps you because as aero sensitive as they are behind somebody, if you've got somebody tucked up right behind you it hurts you because you've got all the air on the nose and no air on the spoiler. So I think it's important to get that little bit of a gap, so you can have as much clean air as possible."

HAVE YOU TALKED TO ROBBIE?

KENSETH: "I have not talked to Robbie since the race got over. I'll call him on the way to airport. I haven't talked to him since the race got over. It was kind of funny - I was on him last week because he said he wasn't going to watch the race, and he walked in with 17 to go and I told him he needed to be watching the race, which is probably the wrong thing, I probably don't need to tell him anything right now because he's not in a very good mood, but I told him I thought he should watch the race and maybe scan some other people and learn some stuff and watch it. He made sure to tell me yesterday that he was going to be home and watch the race today. So I think he was watching on that Hot Pass thing today, so I think he was going to try to get that and watch what we were doing. He should be real proud of the team he's assembled, like Chip said, he's done a great job and they always function at a top level."

ROUSH: "One of the comments I wanted to make before I get away from the table here is I want to compliment Sunoco for this environmentally friendly lead-free fuel that caused us no problem. We went through testing, practice and qualifying and we looked at the valve seats and inspected the engines carefully. We didn't have an issue with valve seat recession or anything else that was a concern. From what I can see the people that had trouble, it didn't relate to the fuel. The fuel gave us good fuel mileage and it performed admirably. I'm real happy to go forward with the Sunoco lead-free fuel. I think they did a great job."

WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE ON THE LAST TWO PIT STOPS?

BOLIN: "I think the next-to-last pit stop was under green, if I remember correctly. The second one was under caution. Under caution, our guys, their expertise and their skill level tends to shine under caution because everyone comes in under it, you don't factor in speed-in and speed-out, it's just whoever's got the fastest pit stop is going to shine, and the group of guys we've got are really good. That's why you usually get that much attention."

KENSETH: "I think our pit stops were good all day, but our last one was one of the faster ones and it got us in position. As much as being a great stop, we did come in second and I think the 48 had some troubles."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE BUSCH RACE THAT YOU COULD APPLY TODAY?

KENSETH: "That's probably an answer Chip can probably answer for you. We went over the stuff this morning and we basically left the car the same it was in Happy Hour. But we did learn some stuff last night, Chris Andrews and Chip were in the Busch Series pit all night and looking at the tires and tire pressures, and seeing how the track changed. The cars were set up fairly similar. The cars are enough different now where you can't run the same set-up in both cars. But we basically had some of the same ideas, I guess, in both cars."

WHAT EFFECT, IF ANY, DID THE WEATHER HAVE ON TODAY'S RACE?

KENSETH: "If anything, it probably made the track more consistent, because it was pretty much cloud cover all day. We didn't have sun in and sun out, and that change, and it usually puts more grip in the track the cooler it is. The track really didn't change much. We were able to make very, very small changes all the time, and it would really change our car. We were making quarter-pound adjustments, which I was really kind of laughing to myself and I'm sure Chip was probably laughing at me, but you could really feel it make a difference because the tires were real consistent and the track was real consistent because the weather was cool and overcast all day and it never really changed."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Teams Roush Fenway Racing