Third-place run was the top-finishing Toyota
Matt Kenseth threatened, but in the end his number 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was too tight to contend. Here's a transcript of his post-race press conference:
How good was your race car?
“I thought we had a top-five car -- a lot of it was definitely an improvement. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the team did a great job. They had a great strategy and great stops -- had me in front at the end there and just couldn’t hold them off unfortunately. Just needed a little more and couldn’t quite run with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and a couple of them other cars. Overall, it was a good night for our Home Depot Husky Tools Camry -- we just have to get just a little better.”
Were you able to keep up with adjustments needed throughout the race?
“I thought we did -- we had pretty good balance most of the night. Really, we swung back and forth and we were way too tight there at the end to try to hold them off. The other time when the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and us were battling and that was as good as I could be and he still beat me -- I just didn’t have any speed. We’re working on it and I feel like we’re gaining on it. They gave me a chance to win and you’re disappointed when you don’t hold them off and come home with a victory. I was just too tight to hold them off.”
Was the plan to get a good jump on the final restart?
“That was the plan -- just didn’t work. I got a good restart and got around Jeff (Gordon) there on the top and got away pretty far and thought honestly we were going to be in pretty good shape. I was just a little bit tight. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was just running us down and the harder I tried then the tighter it got and just couldn’t hold on.”
What does tonight’s performance say about the JGR’s intermediate program?
“It says that we just need to be a little bit better. You hate it when your team puts you in front of them and gives you the opportunity to win and you don’t win. We got away there and I felt pretty good about it and the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) cleared the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and I still felt good about it, but we were a little bit tight and the 48 just has so much more speed than we did tonight and he started mowing me down and the harder I tried the tighter it made my car. I just couldn’t hold on.”
Do you see the team making progress?
“I feel like we’re gaining on it. I thought today all things being equal and nobody having trouble that we had at least a fifth-place car -- so we’re gaining on it. We’re not where we were last year yet, but I feel like certainly we’re gaining on it. Typically, this has been one of our best places and I was hoping we were going to be able to sneak up on a win there. We are just a little bit off and just need to get it a little better somehow.”
Joe Gibbs Racing