MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Fusion - finished 2nd in final standings "I'm pretty happy with the way we ran. We weren't great, but we weren't terrible, either. We were kind of in-between of what we were in the summer and what we've been lately.
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Fusion - finished 2nd in final standings
"I'm pretty happy with the way we ran. We weren't great, but we weren't terrible, either. We were kind of in-between of what we were in the summer and what we've been lately. So I thought we made some gains on it and got it driving a little better, excellent pit stops and overall we had a pretty good day."
CAN YOU PUT THIS SEASON IN PERSPECTIVE?
"It's been a great season. You always want to win, but with everything that's going on in the chase, I'm happy to finish second to Jimmie. Them guys have been the guys to beat the last four years, really, for a championship - man, they've been unbelievably fast and consistent. Them guys really deserve it, and it's been a great year."
TWO TIRES SEEMED TO WORK WELL, AND THIS WAS ONE OF YOUR BETTER RUNS AT A MILE-AND-HALF TRACK RECENTLY.
"They bring us such hard tires now that you don't really need four tires all the time. I wish they were softer and we needed four all the time, I think the races would be a little bit better, but they were just so hard and track position was real important."
CAN YOU ASSESS JIMMIE JOHNSON'S SEASON?
"I think Jimmie's whole career - I don't remember a year or really a period in his career when it hasn't been great. Ever since him and Chad got together over there at Hendrick Motorsports, they've been a force, they've been the guys to beat, really. When you try to set your standards to the season you try to look at them and you realize that they're going to be one of the favorites. There are a lot of great teams that can do it, but you always realize that they're going to be right there."
ON FINISHING SECOND IN THE STANDINGS.
"You always want to finish as high as you can finish. There's a lot of prize money in there that goes into al these guys' bonuses, which helps these guys. You want to be as high as you can - you're the secpnd-best."
DO YOU WISH YOU HAD A CAR LIKE THIS FOR SOME OF THE OTHER CHASE RACES?
"Yeah, this has been our best car, but we weren't a threat to win, by any means, but we were top-10 most of the day and kind of hung out there. So, we still have some work to do, but yet it was still a pretty good run for us, a pretty good effort. We know we have some work to do here."
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED IN FINIHSING SECOND IN THE STANDINGS, OR HAPPY BECAUSE YOU RAN PRETTY WELL TODAY?
"I'm pretty happy. I'm pretty satisfied with the way's it's turned out. We haven't run in the Chase good enough to win the championship, and we could've still won it coming into the last race if he would've had some trouble, so to keep in contention with some of the cars we had and some of the runs we've had, these guys have done an excellent job. We finished all the laps, I think, in the chase, we haven't had any mechanical problems or anything like that. They did a great job of preparing the stuff, great job on pit road and I'm pretty happy with the way it all ended up."
DID YOU AND JIMMIE GET A CHANCE TO TALK AT ALL?
"A little bit."
WHAT WAS SAID?
"Not much, really. Just normal stuff - talked about what we're doing in the off-season, stuff like that."
WHO MADE THE DECISION ON TIRES?
"Robbie did, but I think that's what we had to do the last pit stop. Some people got in front of us from some pit strategy and cautions falling, so we got two and then we had to get two again at the end. If we would've gotten four, we would've gotten buried too far back there, so we just had to get two and try to ride it out."
WERE YOU TOLD WHERE JOHNSON WAS, AND WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN HE SOME DAMAGE EARLIER?
"I didn't know anything happened to him. I never really worried about where he was. Obviously, if there would've been a big problem I would've known, but I never really worried about where he was because we weren't close enough in points to worry about it. But if he would've had a major problem, it would've been different."
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE GOT BACK TO YOUR BACK BUMPER?
"They've been solid all year, man, they've been able to run in the top two or three all year long, so they really do deserve it and they did great job this year."
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR RACE?
"It was better than what we had. It wasn't as good as days we've had earlier this year. We weren't really a contender to win, but we were a good, solid top-10 car. We had top-notch pit stops today and that kept us in contention. So, overall it was a pretty good day for us."
WAS THIS THE MOST TRYING SEASON YOU'VE EVER HAD?
"Oh, no. This is probably one of the best seasons I've ever had. We've had unbelievably competitive cars all year, we've had great pit stops, we won four races, we probably could've won eight or nine of them if everything would've fell into place and went right. They give you stuff and put you into contention to win and that's all you can ask for. We did that more times than we didn't do it this year, so it's been a great year."
WHAT ABOUT TO "DOOM AND GLOOM" TALK?
"If you look at how we were in the middle of the year - if you look at all the problems that people had in the chase and we didn't have any, we would've come into the chase and ran like we ran in August, we would've been 200 points ahead last week. So that was kind of dragging me down, but once we got to this week there wasn't much we could do about it but go do the best we could and see how it turned out and that's what we did. Now it's over, so we'll go on to next year."
ROBBIE REISER - crew chief, No. 17 DeWalt Fusion
"You hate to run second but it was a heck of a season for all these guys. Great job by the 17 bunch. Couldn't ask for it to be any better - other than one more spot. It kind of comes down to the last four races. We just didn't perform. It's all my fault, it had nothing to do with the driver and this crew. I didn't have the cars where they needed to be and we paid the price."
WITH THE WAY MATT RAN TONIGHT, DOES IT TAKE SOME OF THE STING OUT THE LAST MONTH?
"Yeah, it sure wouldn't have been no good if we would've run 25th tonight. Running in the top-five all night long shows we can get the job done. We'll be back next year."
-credit: ford racing