An interview with David Ragan and Matt Kenseth

David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – “I didn’t expect to have a shot at the pole. We had a pretty good car in practice. I thought we’d be comfortable inside the top 10, but just had a good lap and hit my marks. Our team made a few small adjustments prior to qualifying and it just paid off, so it’s cool to see all of the Fords up front, but, hopefully, we can be up there at the end of 500 miles. That’s our goal.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – “My lap was pretty good. It was better than practice. We were tight the whole time in practice and changed some stuff and was just a little too loose in qualifying, but, obviously, it was a good lap and a good spot to start Sunday.”

ARE YOU GUYS BETTER IN PERFORMANCE AT THIS KIND OF TRACK AS OPPOSED TO SHORT TRACKS? “I don’t think we have an incredible advantage. I don’t think we have any advantage. I’m sure all of you guys have done it, but if you guys ever stand in tech it would be hard to argue that anybody has an incredible advantage over anybody else as far as the car or templates or aero or horsepower. But our stuff does run well at these tracks most of the time. It seems everybody groups the mile-and-a-halfs, but I hate grouping them together because we run pretty good at Dover and Michigan and those tracks as well, so it seems like the higher speed tracks we run maybe a little better than some of the other tracks, but I don’t think we necessarily have an advantage.”

DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – “I don’t think we have an advantage. Certainly, I think these style of tracks fit our engine package, they fit our cars, we have good notes, good simulation to make good, quality adjustments. The races that are one mile in length or more are on the schedule more than any other, so we certainly pay attention to those more, but we’ll see how that advantage looks tomorrow and Sunday.”

HOW DO YOU RACE AGAINST JIMMIE AND CARL AT A TRACK LIKE THIS? IT’S NOT MARTINSVILLE. “Hopefully, we’re in front of them and we’ll let them play their own games and we’ll be up front worrying about ours. I think Matt’s still in the championship hunt, but we’ve got to go out and just try to win the race and we’ll let them do whatever they want to do. Hopefully, we’re in front of them and don’t have to worry about their race.”

MATT KENSETH CONTINUED – “Yeah, I didn’t know I was out of it yet, but every Sunday when they drop the green it’s one against 42 and I don’t think that changes where you are in points. If everybody’s got equal opportunity and the same rights out there for real estate and to race and to try to win and get the best finish they can for their respective team and sponsors, then you wouldn’t want to be raced or race anybody any different just because it’s coming down to the championship. It’s still a race.”

DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – HOW HARD IS IT TO BE SO CLOSE TO A POLE AND HAVE SNATCHED AWAY BY A TEAMMATE? “I’d rather a teammate beat me than anybody else. At least it stays in the family, but anytime you’re close to a pole you want it bad. Anytime I’m close to qualifying 10th and if I get beat by one-thousandth I’m still mad, so, obviously, it’s cool to sit on poles, but it’s even cooler to have fast race cars and have a good starting spot for Sunday and that’s what we did. A top five starting spot, we’ll get a good selection on pit road and hopefully have some momentum into tomorrow’s practice and into Sunday. We’ve been fast the last few weeks and we’ve had some crazy things happen to our 6 team, so we just need to get that off of our backs and get a solid run. This is just the start of the weekend and I’m proud that we got a good qualifying effort and I can’t wait until Sunday.”