MATT KENSETH GIVES FORD BACK-TO-BACK DAYTONA 500 VICTORIES

Race winner Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates
Race winner Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

• Today’s win in the Daytona 500 was the 13th overall for Ford Racing in “The Great American Race.”

• The win was also the 300th NASCAR victory for Roush Fenway Racing.

• Matt Kenseth became the third different Ford driver to win the Daytona 500 more than once (Bill Elliott and Dale Jarrett).

• The win is Kenseth’s 22nd all-time NSCS victory – all with Ford Racing.

• This also marks Jack Roush’s second Daytona 500 win.

Ford Daytona 500 Race Winners (Owner):
1963 – Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers)
1965 – Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody)
1967 – Mario Andretti (Holman-Moody)
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Junior Johnson)
1978 – Bobby Allison (Bud Moore)
1985 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1987 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1992 – Davey Allison (Robert Yates)
1996 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2000 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2009 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2011 – Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers)
2012 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)

ON ROUSH FENWAY’S 300TH NASCAR VICTORY

JAMIE ALLISON, Director, Ford Racing: "All of us at Ford want to congratulate Jack and his team at Roush Fenway Racing for their 300th NASCAR victory, and for it to come in the Daytona 500 is fantastic. We're proud that no matter where each of those 300 victories has occurred - the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series, or Sprint Cup Series - it has always been in a Ford car or truck. Jack is true-blue, and always has been, and we couldn't be prouder to be associated with him and his race team.”

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GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion

TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS PLAYED OUT FOR YOUR TEAM HERE THIS EVENING. “Well, obviously I wish we would have done a few things maybe a little bit different. We had a great speed weeks. Coming out of here with a third place finish is really exciting for us. More importantly, we didn’t wreck and we got a good finish. I still am a little blown away by the end of that race and that we weren’t able to push up to the back of the 17 car. I was kind of surprised by that. Next time maybe we will do something a little bit different."

THE CRAZINESS OF YESTERDAY AND TODAY, CAN YOU SUM THAT UP? “Well, the weather down here has been kind of unusual the entire time. One day it is 90 degrees and the next day it is high 50’s. It was up and down. You always expect a few rain showers but that was more than we have seen down here in a long time. It was unfortunate it got delayed but I think the race went pretty well and I hope that a lot of people got to see it."

WHY COULDN’T YOU GET TO KENSETH AT THE END? “That is a good question. Here is the thing, and I don’t know what it was, but all night Junior had been shoving me against the back of the 17 car at will. Granted, he had somebody pushing him, but we weren’t locked together. Any time you get locked together the things just go, they just take off like before when we had the tandem racing. Once he got against my bumper and I made sure he stayed against it around the corner, I was about three-quarters throttle and then once we got straight I pushed the gas down. I thought that we would drive up on the back of the 17 without a problem. It must have just pushed enough air out in front of my car that it pushed the 17 car out about five or six feet in front of me and I couldn’t get any closer. I thought I needed to get out from behind him because then we would get by him so on the back stretch I moved up a little bit but Matt is not stupid, we had no run at him. We were all going the same speed so when I moved over Matt moved over real easy and Junior is against my back bumper so I am trying not to wreck because he is shoving on me and I am doing this down the back thinking I am not going to be able to get a run at him. Probably the only thing that, at that point I could have done, and I didn’t know how much he had on him from behind or if the top lane was coming, but the only thing I could have done was got real straight down the back stretch and pushed the brake pedal down pretty and kept going straight and slow our cars down a fair enough and then let Junior make a run at Matt around three and four and we could have moved up beside him coming off the corner and then Junior and I would have had to dice it out to the line. That is probably what I should have done, just anchored down the brakes down the back stretch and put distance between Matt and I. I thought for sure that I didn’t need to do that, I thought he would shove me right up to his back bumper. Monday morning quarterbacking I didn’t think we needed to do that. He had been shoving me right up to his back bumper. He had all night and I had no doubt it would happen then."

HOW DID YOU MANAGE ALL THE DOWN TIME THE LAST FEW DAYS AND THEN IN THE RACE TODAY? “I have been cooped up in a motor home in the infield with my seven-and-a-half month old baby daughter. We have been cooped up for 13 days. I tell you what, the last two days sitting over there in the rain, I have had my fill. I was ready to race, you know? You get all that adrenaline and excitement and you just kind of sit around and I looked at the same walls regardless. We were down here for a long time and we were ready to get going home and get ready for the next race."

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DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Scorpion Liners Ford Fusion

WHAT HAPPENED? “It is disappointing. I was just trying to see the monitor to see who I can be mad at. It is ridiculous to sit around this long for the Daytona 500 and on the very first lap for someone to be driving as reckless as whoever caused that, someone had to cause it. It is just a shame for it to be that early in the biggest race, the first race of the year. We just got caught up in it. We were content on riding in the beginning and minding our P’s and Q’s. They started wrecking in front of us and we just couldn’t get out of the way quick enough. It is very disappointing for our Front Row Motorsports team. We will have to pick up and move on. I can’t wait to see who was the bonehead that did that.”

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TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion

“I have no idea what happened. You spend a couple days waiting in the rain and something happen on lap one, so what do you do? I tried to get as low as I could. I couldn’t see what was going on. I got low and got slowed down and at the last second I think it was the 34 car that hit us in the right side door and put us into the grass. The only thing we really touched was the grass, but I guess it’s so wet that it tore up the front of the car. Man, this is tough. The guys worked so hard for this race. We were looking forward to it. I hate that we’re sitting here in the garage, but they’re trying their best to get back out here. We’re doing everything we can. I thought it would be minor damage and we could get out there faster, but it looks like we’ll be in the garage for awhile."

WHAT HAPPENED? “I’m not sure what happened or why they got so antsy. It just stinks to sit around to wait for that long. I just told my guys on the radio that we were sitting in a good spot and as soon as I let off the button they started wrecking in front of me. I got out of the way the best that I could, but we still got in it. I hate this for my Ford Racing team, but we’ll be back. We’re gonna try to get back out there.”

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GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion

WHAT ABOUT THE RESTARTS WITH MATT? “It was just by chance that I got a good push from the 29. I got pushed from the 88 and the 11, but the 17 would move up in front of me because he saw my head of steam coming. Maybe I wish I would have tried to get by him then earlier, but I thought it would be coming down to the end and we would both be pushing for the win. I wanted to be locked on the 17’s bumper, kind of like the 88 passed me coming to the line. That’s what I wanted to try and do to the 17, but I couldn’t get to him. He had a really good car, but I’m just so happy for this team to start out the season like this.”

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CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion

“I’m just really glad Matt ended up in Victory Lane. That’s huge for Roush Fenway, for Ford, for Best Buy. That’s as big as it gets, and it ended up OK for us, too, for everything that we went through with the penalities and tearing the nose off of it. To finish eighth is huge."

THIS IS KIND OF LIKE LAST YEAR AS FAR AS HANGING AROUND. “I think after that caution we were ready to go hard and then we had that penalty and we had to go back. That kind of screwed up our strategy, but that’s OK. You can never say shoulda, woulda because we very well could be wrecked, so I’m happy as far as heading in the right direction."

MATT HAS GONE THROUGH A LOT. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR HIM? “This is perfect for Matt. This is what he deserves. He’s a hard core racer and he’s a good man. I’m really happy for him and his whole family. I’ve learned a lot about Matt Kenseth the last four or five years and he’s a really, really good guy."

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE TEAR OFF? “I asked PK (Pierre Kuettel, car chief) if we could pull the tear off and he said yes, and as soon as he pulled it the NASCAR official started saying a lot of things. It wasn’t good, but our Fastenal Fusion was fast and tonight is about Best Buy, Matt Kenseth, that whole crew, Ford, Roush Fenway. I’m so happy Matt got to Victory Lane. We got back up to eighth with a little bit of a torn-up car, but this is huge for Ford. It’s a great start and it couldn’t happen to a better guy. Matt Kenseth deserves this win.”

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CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion

“Something with the new fuel injection pump system went wrong. We don’t know enough about it to really understand exactly what happened, but we were sitting in great position. I actually talked to Matt about just pushing him the rest of the way and clearly that’s what the 88 ended up doing and they finished up just fine, so we were sitting in a perfect position. All those guys that stayed out before that big fire happened on the backstretch, we were really sitting third with the 17. This is more heartbreaking than almost missing the show like last year because we had such a good race car. We were in very good position and missed everything leading up to that point and was able to go racing at the end, but, for whatever reason, there was an issue with the fuel pick-up.”

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ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

“That’s just a shame. Our Smithfield Ford was really fast. I’m not sure. Jamie said something locked up in his car like the 42 car and he came across the race track. I was actually, believe it or not, working my way toward the back to just kind of hang out and it all bottled up right there. I knew that was coming at some point and, sure enough, it did."

WHAT HAPPENED? “I wasn’t really sure. I know they all kind of started wrecking and came across the race track and I was in the outside line and there was nowhere to go. All in all, it was a good day. It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish the Daytona 500 by any means, but our Smithfield Ford was really fast. Greg Erwin and all the guys on this 43 team did a great job, so we should be proud that we had a fast car, just disappointed with the result."

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE FIRE? “It was amazing. We have never seen anything like that. It’s a shame that it took two hours away from the race and made these fans wait that much longer to see the end of the Daytona 500, but I guess sometimes you’ll have that."

A BIZARRE 500. “Yeah, I think we’re all ready to go home. I wish I could celebrate tonight in Victory Lane with all the Smithfield people and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, but that’s not gonna happen. I’m ready to go home. We’ve been here a long time.”

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VICTORY LANE INTERVIEWS

MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion

LET’S START WITH THAT FINISH AND WHAT YOU DID TO HOLD THEM OFF. “I have to give a lot of credit to Doug Yates and the guys at the engine shop. We had great horsepower. I could get a pretty good start on the bottom and either Denny or Dale Jr. could push me for awhile and then they just couldn’t stay attached and I would get away from them just in time to get in front of Greg and the two of us together could make some unbelievable speed. I have to thank Greg. We worked together really good all day long. He had a really fast car all day as well."

TALK US THROUGH THE PROBLEMS YOU HAD EARLIER IN THE RACE. “We had a lot of problems and almost ended up a lap down. I had my radio break and my tach break and we pushed all the water out and had to come in and put water in it. These guys did a great job. They never panicked and I think they enjoyed their day more because they couldn’t hear me on the radio with my radio problems. My guys did a great job. I have to thank this whole Best Buy team. It was pretty cool to with the 150’s and I never dreamed we would be standing here tonight."

WHAT WERE THE RADIO COMMUNICATIONS LIKE THAT YOU DID HAVE WITH JIMMY FENNIG? “We didn’t really get to talk a lot honestly because my radio went out. My spotter always talks a lot and he talked even more because he knew I couldn’t tell him to be quiet. Jimmy just gave me the information and he has been doing this forever. I am proud to be standing here with him. He has done a great job with this race team and gives us fast race cars."

YOU WORE THE FIELD OUT TONIGHT AND TOOK IT TO THEM AT THE END. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? “It feels good. We had a really fast car and have fast cars in the past and I figured out a way to mess it up. I am thankful everything worked out on the restarts and I am glad it all worked out.”

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JAMIE ALLSION, Director of Ford Racing

“To have a repeat victory is unbelievable. What a great job. It was a long day and long night. We were prepared and had fast cars. It feels just as good as it did last time. This is a testament to the hard work in the off season with regard to fuel injection and new team dynamics. What a proud accomplishment for all the Ford teams, especially Roush Fenway and Matt and everyone on the 17 team. All the Ford teams are to be commended, the 99, the 6, the 16, and all of the Ford teams, they all were fantastic tonight.

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JACK ROUSH, Owner, Roush Fenway Racing

“This is a special night. Matt is a real champion and he is really good at these restrictor tracks. Our Fords, the guys did a nice job and Ford Motor Company gave us a lot of support over the winter. We certainly had several ways to win it tonight and there are always ample ways to lose as well. Matt did a great job tonight.”