FORD CONTINUES PHOENIX DOMINATION * Matt Kenseth registered his series-best fifth win of the season and sixth of his career. * Kenseth is the 13th different winner in 15 NWC races at Phoenix with nine of those being Ford drivers. * The win...
FORD CONTINUES PHOENIX DOMINATION
* Matt Kenseth registered his series-best fifth win of the season and sixth of his career.
* Kenseth is the 13th different winner in 15 NWC races at Phoenix with nine of those being Ford drivers.
* The win was Ford's 13th of 2002, which is the most among manufacturers.
* Ford has won 11 of the 15 NWC races at Phoenix.
* Davey Allison and Jeff Burton remain the only multiple NWC winners at Phoenix.
* Ford has had at least three top-five finishers five straight years and 11 times overall at Phoenix.
* Ford owner Jack Roush leads all car owners with four wins at Phoenix.
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"Oh man, I want it real bad, I just didn't get it. I finished second. That was a really good run for the car all day long. We've had fast cars the last couple weeks and, man, we just screwed up in handling, but today we hit it right on. The old hot-rod was really strong today. Two tires was the right call pretty much most of the day. In fact, I think two tires ran faster than four tires most of the day, so that's kind of weird but it happened. We're trying to hold on in the points and trying to do the best job we can. The pit stops were good. I'd like to thank all the guys. I'd like to congratulate my buddy, Larry Dixon, on his championship in top fuel in NHRA. I thought that was really cool beating that Bud car and I'd just like to thank everybody."
DID IT BOIL DOWN TO TRACK POSITION? "We had a pretty easy top five, top six car all day long and I really felt we could have won the thing at the end there, but Matt was just too tough. He had that clean air out in front and was just motoring."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Finished 4th)
"We had a car that could contend, we just didn't get the track position. Maybe we should have taken two there at the end. I was really thinking about it, but we also didn't want anything to go wrong there. We had a great car, it was a contender, we just weren't in the front when it was over."
AND NOW THERE'S ONLY ONE TO GO. "Thank goodness."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN? "That was a fantastic race car. There weren't any cars on the track faster than us, it's just that we weren't faster than the top five there either. We didn't manage to put ourselves out front. If we would have done that, we could have stayed there but that's the way it was. It was an equal day for the top five cars and we just didn't do what we needed to do to get out front there. It was great pit strategy that won the race and a great race car with the Viagra Taurus ran fourth."
DID YOU DISCUSS TWO TIRES? "I did. That's OK. We can't afford to do anything stupid either, so four tires was the conservative route."
IS YOUR TEAM PEAKING AT THE END? "We started off the year pretty darn good too. We had a lot of bad luck in the summer and that dropped us back, but I'm very pleased with where we're at right now. You could certainly say we didn't fall off at the end. We've been fighting back hard."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW -- ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH FIVE WINS? "I know we have a great team. They've proved that in the pit stop competition every year so far, so I know we've got a great team behind me. But the way we ran last year, I wasn't planning on winning five races. I thought if we could get back to Victory Lane that would be a great accomplishment for us and I haven't really had the time to sit and think about it. It's been amazing to be able to win all these races this year. It's been unbelievable."
YOU'VE WON ON ALL TYPE OF TRACKS? "Robbie thinks this is the prettiest race car in the world. He built this thing brand new for the Richmond fall race. It only has two races on it. We won there and we won here with it, so we might have to re-paint it and take it to Homestead."
DAVE BLANEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 7th)
"We were real happy with the car. Early on in the long run it was really nice. The second half of the race we tightened up a little bit where we could just kind of hang. We couldn't really gain on anybody and we couldn't get it freed up enough. We couldn't catch up with it so we kind of hung there. It was a solid day for the Jasper guys and I'm happy for that."
ANY THOUGHTS OF TWO TIRES? "Yeah, but it was just too big of a gamble. We hadn't done it all day and they had. Maybe we should have, but we thought we were pretty solid with four. In the long run early in the race we were as good as anybody so that's what we were kind of hoping it would go back to, but it didn't quite work out. Still, it was a pretty good run."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW YOU GUYS CAN RUN THIS WELL? "You finish with a day like this and you say, 'My God, that's easy. How come we can't do that all the time?' But it's putting all the little pieces of the puzzle together. We had a good car right from the outset this weekend. It was good in qualifying and good in race trim and that's what it takes -- something that's really close. Ryan and those guys did a great job and you can just fine-tune it from there, instead of having to throw big things at it."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 9th)
"We never got the car exactly the way we wanted it. We were too tight in the middle of the corner and that kept us from going fast. We tried two tires once and that didn't exactly work out the way we'd hoped, but it was worth a try."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 6th)
YOU'VE MOVED INTO THIRD PLACE IN POINTS. " It's almost scary because we're only nine out of sixth, so we're gonna keep running like we have. We had a great car today, but it just didn't match up with that last set of tires. That's a bit disappointing, but we've showed time and time again that the Rubbermaid Ford can usually adapt to different tire sets. We had a great set of tires when we didn't pit and that's when we led a lot of laps and stayed out front. That last set, I made an adjustment to tighten the car up, but it went loose on us and that's why we fell back a little bit. It's great to see Mark Martin competing like he is and I'm real happy with the points day we had. It's on to Homestead and it's gonna be a doozey down there. I'm real excited about it and, hopefully, we can run strong and get that third in points."
YOU MUST BE EXCITED ABOUT THE WAY THIS YEAR IS FINISHING? "It's like a perfect blend of chemistry everywhere -- whether it's on pit road, at the shop. I'm just so impressed with the way these guys have been able to adapt to me and the way Jimmy Fennig controls the situation. It's just too much fun and with Matt Kenseth winning today -- congratulations to him -- and all of the Roush teams, there's too much to smile about but, yet, we've got a lot of work to do next week."
THOUGHTS OF TWO TIRES? "No, we were pinned up against a rock and a hard place with our toe being bent out. We got in a wreck on pit road on lap 30 of the race, so we were scared a little bit about what our right-front tire wear was doing, so we had to be conservative. We took four tires and it ended up where two tires were quicker today, so we're still scratching our heads about that."
WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD? "We were pulling out of our pit box and the crew chief said, 'Beat the 6, uh, can't beat the 6, pull in behind him,' and whether he said pull in behind him, I don't think he did, I just assumed that there wasn't a car behind him and I ran into Kenny Wallace. I feel bad about that. I ruined his door and I ruined our chances of keeping the toe straight, so it made for an interesting day. The car would adapt differently to different tire sets. We'd make an adjustment to make the car tight and it would go looser on us. We were really struggling down in one and two when the shade was coming further and further onto the track, but, all in all, it was a good day for the Rubbermaid Ford."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 10th)
"I tell you what, I had a ball racing today. It was a lot of fun, we ran in the top 10 all day. I just thought we were gonna be a little looser than what we were that last run, we were just way too tight to race with anybody and it's a shame. I had a top six or seven car and at least we got a top 10 with it. I mean, that's what we want to do with this race and at Homestead, finish the season with two top 10s with the Wood Brothers. We learned so much at that Homestead test. That's definitely the best we've ever run on a flat track and that's all due to the testing that they've done. It'll be a great job to go to Homestead and do the same thing."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Finished 13th)
"We really struggled this weekend. We unloaded and the car was very loose. We never got it figured out until today. Raymond (Fox) made a lot of changes this morning and the car was better today. We worked on it and got it pretty good. I'm really proud of these guys. They fought all weekend long and we ended up alright. Raymond did a great job leading this team this weekend."