Matt Kenseth Phoenix II post-qualifying interview

Ford Racing press release

MATT KENSETH, Pole Winner

Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP OUT THERE TODAY. “It was good. We watched everyone else and obviously there were a lot of people low on grip and it looked like the track and cars were a lot looser than yesterday. Everyone had a different strategy. Jimmy (Fennig) had a strategy to go fast in the first practice to go out late. Even though we knew the temperature would be hotter he thought the track could be faster with more cars having run on it. A lot of people chose the opposite strategy and worked on race setup in the first practice and did their qualifying stuff in the second practice to go out early. He had a plan and made the right adjustments. He thought it would be looser today. I didn’t get all there was to get out of the car. It was just that good. They made all the right choices there.”

WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE TOMORROW? HAVE YOU SEEN A GROOVE COME IN? “You know, it has been kind of a moving target, at least for me it has. The first practice yesterday I thought the track was different than the last practice when it was almost dark. Conditions were different today being in the middle of the day and warmer. It is a moving target I think. It depends if it rains tonight and a lot of things. There is still basically one good groove and it has widened out center of one and two and off. You can run side by side there. The middle of three and four is getting wide but I don’t think you can run side by side all the way around at a competitive race. Hopefully after the Nationwide race when cars are forced to run out there with two-wide restarts and lap and traffic and things like that, hopefully it will come in.”

BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN SO FAR, DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE GUYS THAT HIT IT AND GUYS THAT MISS BASED ON THE TRACK CHANGING SO MUCH? “I am not really sure to be honest with you. I didn’t expect qualifying to be as all over the place as it was today. That surprised me a little bit how different the speeds were and everything. You always have that risk at a new track that a couple guys will hit it. The biggest keys to this race are going to be I think you start with qualifying and then after that it is pit stops and restart strategy. The tires don’t fall off at all. They don’t really drop off in speed at all. It is going to be who can figure out how to keep their car up front. Who can be in the bottom on restarts and get good restarts and take advantage of the restarts when someone is in a bad position. I think that is going to be a big deal. I caught cars yesterday. You get two or three car lengths behind them and you just can’t do anything more. Hopefully that will change if the track widens out.”

HOW MUCH OF A FAVOR DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE FOR CARL BUMPING HIM FROM THE OUTSIDE LANE TO THE INSIDE ON THE START? “I have no idea where Carl qualified. That was my plan. I thought man if we can sit on the pole, that will really help him. (laughter) I have enough problems to worry about. I can’t really worry about his. The bottom is probably going to be an advantage to get started but it is still 300 miles and I think at some point in the race every car is going to be in the top groove for a little bit.”

AS IT TURNED OUT, YOUR QUALIFYING RUN PUT TONY (STEWART) ON THE OUTSIDE AND CARL ON THE INSIDE. “Yeah, I planned that. I am that good.” (laughter)

IS THIS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT MAKES YOU THINK MAYBE YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO SNEAK BACK INTO THIS THING? “I don’t know. It feels good to sit on the pole and qualify that good. We have won three poles and I think that is more than half of my career total I think. Jimmy and the guys have been giving me really fast cars and in a way that is encouraging but in a way, I hate to say is disappointing, but if you look at Martinsville and how I self-destructed there and Talladega with David breaking on the last restart. All that stuff happened and knowing our stuff is fast enough to be in the hunt but we aren’t in the hunt which I feel is my own fault. It is frustrating yet it is fun to have fast cars every week. Each week we have had a car capable of running top five and we haven’t done that ever since the Chase has been implemented, especially with this car. One lap is going to be different that 300 or whatever it is tomorrow. Hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow. They still have to have a problem. If they have a problem and we run in the top three then you can say we maybe have a chance. If neither of them have a problem and run like they have the last 10 weeks then we are out of it.”

I KNOW YOU HAVEN’T BEEN ON TWITTER MUCH THIS WEEK. KASEY KAHNE ASKED IF YOU ARE TAKING THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE TOMORROW. “Kasey tweeted me before Martinsville and we were going to try to hook up as drafting partners at Martinsville. I am going to surprise all you guys tomorrow. I will let you know on the one to go lap. I can’t let my strategy go til then.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags avondale, ford, kenseth, roush