MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Power tools Fusion "My day went great until the last corner. Other than that, my day went great. We had great pit stops. My team just did a fabulous job like they do every week. We had a great car. We probably could...
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Power tools Fusion
"My day went great until the last corner. Other than that, my day went great. We had great pit stops. My team just did a fabulous job like they do every week. We had a great car. We probably could have got to the front as good as our car was, but we did make up a lot of positions on pit road. We were at the beginning of the race we were kind of stuck around ninth or 10th and made some good adjustments and great pit stops, and got us in position to win. The last 15 laps we got slower. It kind of felt like the motor was laying down, although it wasn't missing. There's probably nothing wrong with it, it was probably just my imagination. But we just got slow and Jimmie was catching me, and I knew that green-white-checkered, we would probably be in trouble because he was a lot faster than me when they threw the caution."
ABOUT THE ENGINE AT THE END.
"I don't want to go blame anything on the engine department because they do such a fabulous job and the stuff runs great. But it was weird, with about 15 to go, we held that lead at 1.3 or 1.4 second the whole time, and with about 15 to go I was getting in the gas in the same place and the car felt the same through the corners and everything, he just started running me down. It just felt like I didn't have the RPM down the straightaway, like I couldn't get to the other end as fast, for some reason. It might be in my head, it might be because we were going around the corner slower, it might because we got shade at the end. I don't know. It just felt like that. He started me mowing me down a couple of tenths a lap, and I was doing everything I could do. So, like I said, when the caution came out I was hoping we could hold on for two laps, but I didn't have a real great feeling about it because at that time he had the better time."
YOU LOST IN WAY THAT HAS BEEN ALSO SEEN IN ATLANTA THE LAST FEW YEARS - A LAST-LAP PASS. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS NOW HEADING INTO ATLANTA?
"I feel good. I love going there. Probably for what we have left on the circuit, with Rockingham being lost, it's probably the most fun track to race on as a driver. You can run all over - the bottom, the top, and it's real wore-out, and the car changes a lot from the beginning of the run to the end of the run. I'm looking forward to going there. We've had cars, if we did all the right things in the right position, I could've won the first three races, and we've had real fast stuff, so I'm looking forward to going everywhere right now. If we were going to Martinsville next week, I probably wouldn't be looking forward to it, maybe Sears Point. But other than that, I'm looking forward to going anywhere with the way our stuff's running right now."
WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'VE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL AT LAS VEGAS?
"Just have had fast cars. We've done a pretty good job here the last three, four years now, I guess, of picking all the right stuff, bringing the right cars and being able to pick out the right springs and shocks, and just being able to get the right combination to run well here. We've just done a better job here than other places and we've just been able to get a comfortable feeling here, and I've been able to tell them what I'm feeling and pick out the right stuff to put in the car. And having the right cars here."
LAS VEGAS IS THE CITY OF "BAD BEATS." SOMETIMES IT JUST HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO COME HERE WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS AND THE BEST OF PLANS. YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW YOU DEAL WITH THAT SITUATION?
"How do you put it? It really wasn't that bad. We led a lot of laps and we finished second. I'm really disappointed we got beat in the last corner, but I don't feel like I could have done anything different. If I had to go re-do it right now, I think I did everything I could, short of wrecking. So, there's a lot of people who would've liked to have that day. We've got to get over the fact that we lost, although that will take a couple of days, but we've got to get over that fact and look at all the positives. We've had really fast cars the first three races. It's the best start I've ever had to a season, as far as performance. Our stuff's running great, our team is getting along, they're happy, they're enthused, they're working hard. You know, they love it right now. I feel good about that. It's a long season to go. If we can keep running like that, hopefully we'll be able to pick up a couple of more wins."
ON ANOTHER GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON: IS THIS ONE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SITUATION? IS IT AT ALL ON YOUR MIND WHAT HE DID LAST TIME?
"Yeah, the tracks are similar and he tried the high side. The thing that was different from last week to this week is last week we were kind of driving away early, was holding our own, and this week he was running me down. We were getting slow at the end of the run. Jimmie didn't do it, but the thing that worries you is a guy who's holding back and getting a run on you because you haven't restarted on 30-lap tires all day, you put on stickers. You've got to real careful not to spin the tires. There's a big chance of making a mistake there, especially the pressure being on the leader, and not taking off at the right time and letting the guy behind you getting a run on you or spinning your tires or whatever. The restart was clean, at that time I thought he had a faster car than we did, and Jimmie did a great job with it. He did the same thing he did to win at Charlotte last year - he just buried it on the outside in three and four. He did the right thing. He kind of looked under me and I kind of blocked down and wrecked my angle in a little bit, and he just drove it to the outside and got by me. So, I guess that's the end of my answer."
DID JIMMIE DO WHAT YOU EXPECTED? IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE PROTECTING THE BOTTOM AT ALL COSTS.
"I was going to try and make the inside an impossibility, try to stay down there. That's the only place I ran all day. To try something different the last two laps I don't think would've been too smart. So, if you're on the bottom and he's going to try and pass you, you figure he's going to try the top. What are you going to do about it? I'm running in the groove where my car was the fastest and if he can make his car run faster than mine somewhere else, he's going to pass me. So, like I said, if I had to re-do it right now, I don't think I could've done anything different. I went where my car ran the best all day and I got off of turn four and as good as I thought I could with a car on my outside quarter panel - had me kind of loose so I just couldn't do anything else."
DID YOU FEEL LIKE THE RACING HERE WAS BETTER THAN IT WAS IN THE PAST?
"It was for good for me, except for the last lap. That's a hard question. Every week they ask us about the racing and talk about it being boring, but no matter what the race track is, if you have the fastest car out front and the second-place car is slower, the faster car is going to drive away from the slower car. It doesn't matter how the track is configured, it doesn't matter how much banking there is, it just doesn't matter. When the car gets in front and that's the fastest car, the second-place car isn't going to catch him and pass him if he's slower. That's just the way it is, it doesn't matter what race track we're at. I think this race track has always been good.
"If you're fast here, it's always been fairly easy to pass. It seemed like it was a little difficult today, at one point it seemed like Carl was a little faster than me and he couldn't quite get to me. It seemed like he got a little aero-tight or something. It's a lot better than a lot of them we go to to pass on."
AT THE END OF THE RACE, YOU RADIOED TO THE TEAM THAT YOU GUYS WON THIS ONE RACE, I DIDN'T WIN. HERE YOU'VE SAID YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF ANYTHING YOU'D DO DIFFERENTLY. SO, WAS THAT COMMENT JUST AN IMMEDIATE REACTION?
"Well, yes and no. You always feel like that because, you know, if we would've had average or below-average pit stops maybe I wouldn't feel like that. We came in ninth and went out fifth that one time, and then they got me out in the lead and kept me in the lead every time. They do such a good job I just feel bad they got me in front. We had that shot and lost in the last corner and they couldn't have done anything different. So I feel bad for that. I don't think I really could've done anything different if I had to re-do it, but I still feel bad because I got beat in the last corner."
ON THE RADIO YOU CALLED THAT LAST CAUTION RIDICULOUS. WAS THAT MORE OF AN EMOTIONAL REACTION?
"Yeah. I can't see the whole race track, and I just there was going to be a green-white-checkered. Last week I didn't really see anything wrong with it. There was a car with a little teeny wisp of smoke and no oil coming out of it, so that was my first reaction, just because if you're the leader and they throw a caution, there's two to go and there's going to be a green-white-checkered, that's going to be your reaction. He told me there was debris in three and I drove through three and there wasn't a piece of anything in three and four, and the debris was actually in one and two. Once I came back around and saw it, I saw the debris, so that's why I said that."