Daytona 24: Ford's No. 49 incident report

The No. 49 Ford Multimatic "Team of Champions" fell 27 minutes short of completing the twice-around-the-clock race at Daytona International Speedway. The four-member team consisting of drivers Scott Maxwell, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Greg ...

The No. 49 Ford Multimatic "Team of Champions" fell 27 minutes short of completing the twice-around-the-clock race at Daytona International Speedway. The four-member team consisting of drivers Scott Maxwell, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle survived three separate axel failures, but the fourth incident removed the team from competition. Greg Biffle was piloting the car for what was supposed to be the day's final stint to the checkered flag, but the car expired after a total of 588 laps.

GREG BIFFLE-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic

YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO DRIVE THE CAR TO THE FINISH. "It's tough. The guys have worked so hard and you can see the energy in them and we're going for the last stint. They're excited about getting the checkered flag and I was excited about being the one to drive it across the start-finish line. It's disappointing. If we wouldn't have had that axel shaft problem the whole day I think we would be right in the hunt. We were a little bit off on lap times at times but we weren't that bad. It's kind of tough. This Multimatic Crown Royal ran really good, we just had some axel shaft problems that put us in garage three times for the same thing. It's probably just an issue with bad parts, but the car ran really fast and I had a great time. We thought we ran pretty competitive times throughout the night. We feel like if we wouldn't have had those problems that we would have been right in the hunt, at least in the top 10. It's kind of satisfying as that goes, but frustrating at the same time because we had a good enough car to run up there and we had those problems."

WAS THIS A BIT OF A BONDING EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR ROUSH TEAMMATES? "It is. We've all had a great time driving this race car. Scott has done a great job coaching us on what we needed to do, so we need thank Scott Maxwell for everything he has done for us. It's just unfortunate. The team has done a really good job. These guys worked really, really hard down here testing and everything. Ford's been behind this program and we look forward to doing some more races and coming back next year to redeem ourselves." DO YOU PLAN ON COMPETING IN NEXT YEAR'S EVENT? "Yeah, absolutely. It would be tough to keep me out of one of these cars. I learned a lot. I learned what we need to do for next year. These guys are going to work on this car some and find out the problems with the axels and I think we're going to be in the hunt."

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE THE NASCAR ROAD COURSES THIS YEAR? "I think so, driver discipline on turning in the corners and getting back on the throttle. This thing could teach you some bad habits in a hurry because it does a lot of things our cars won't do. You can't turn and be as aggressive on the brakes as you can be with these. Traction control is probably the worst thing for us, but it went out in the first four hours when the first axel shaft went, so we drove it the rest of race without traction control. That's been a lot of do as well."

KURT BUSCH-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic

"It was a great challenge. I had fun, I didn't run into anything and that was an accomplishment. To be able to communicate with this group and have fun like we did, it was a great foundation to build a 24-hour reputation on."

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS DURING THE MORNING HOURS WHEN YOU KNOW YOU'RE OUT OF CONTENTION FOR THE WIN? "It was the adrenaline that was keeping us running. I don't know how many times you can do this and still have that motivation to jump right back in the car and keep digging. It was a blast and just a chance to do something for the first time and now we can build on this for the future."

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF COMPETING IN THIS EVENT NEXT YEAR? "We'll see how things progress. I'd love to have another opportunity."

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO NAVIGATE THE ROAD COURSE AT NIGHT? "It really was a challenge to know who was coming up from behind because we weren't that fast of a Prototype. Other than that, it was a breath of fresh air because it was cool outside, and we had some fun."

SCOTT MAXWELL-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic

"Ultimately, if we hadn't had the problems we probably would have been in the top five or six. That would have been fantastic and more than I would have expected. With three rookie drivers - they're not rookies, but they're rookies to this type of racing - they've done a fantastic job. They haven't let us down at all. The car let us down a bit with the axels, but they haven't really done anything wrong. They were getting quicker every shift and I think they really enjoyed it. I think it's a good foundation if they want to come back next year, and we'll have a real go at it."

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET BACK IN THE CAR WHEN YOU KNOW YOU'RE OUT OF CONTENTION FOR THE WIN, AND HOW DID THE THREE NASCAR DRIVERS HANDLE THE SITUATION? "I think they were probably going more on enthusiasm and they just wanted track time. I love driving any time, so I don't really need to be motivated, but you're a lot more enthusiastic when you're battling in the top 10 and you can smell a win. You're professional and you have to get it out there and push it around and get it to the finish. For them, they just wanted to drive and they wanted to get in there. They're disappointed, but I don't think their enthusiasm dropped off at all."

CAN YOU ATTRIBUTE ANY OF THE PROBLEMS YOU ENCOUNTERED WITH THE FACT THAT THIS TEAM DID NOT RUN THE 24 HOURS LAST YEAR? "We fully admit that we're behind in development. I know some teams have probably done 24-hour tests and this is what you find out in 24-hour tests. Having said that, I don't know when we've broken a CV joint before, and now we've had three of them on both sides, too. Something is going on, and I don't know if we got a bad batch of parts or whatever."

DISCUSS THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE - FROM TESTING TO THE RACE - THAT YOU HAD BEING TEAMED WITH THESE THREE DRIVERS. "Honestly, and this is not an exaggeration, it's a big thrill. Not only are they big names, but they're personalities and the way we meshed has been a lot of fun, and a bit of a surprise because these guys are superstars, and with all due respect, I'm just a journeyman sports car driver who is just trying to plug out a career. These guys are huge, but they're so down to earth and levelheaded. I don't think I've laughed this much at a race track. We seemed to have bonded and I think we're a good team, and in sports car racing that's so critical."

MATT KENSETH-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic

WAS THIS A TOUGHER EXPERIENCE THAN YOU ORIGINALLY THOUGHT? "It wasn't as tough as I thought staying up all night and doing all of that, and I was really excited so I didn't get hardly any sleep. I feel pretty good as far as that goes. It's hard to compete because you have to have everything working good, and we were a little bit behind on speed the whole time and then when we broke all of those times as well. It's a little bit tough when you're that far behind because you're hanging in there in the beginning and you're watching the sheet and trying to move up, and then after we broke a third time you're just kind of out there riding around."

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS DURING THE MORNING HOURS WHEN YOU KNOW YOU'RE OUT OF CONTENTION FOR THE WIN? "You still go run as hard as you can and you try to learn something, so hopefully we'll get to do it again some time."

IS THIS EVENT ON YOUR CALENDAR FOR NEXT YEAR? "I'd want to do it whenever I could. I'd love to run Watkins Glen. I'd love to do it again it next year. It's been a fun experience, and they're fun cars to drive."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THREE TEAMMATES IN THIS RACE COMPARED TO A NASCAR RACE? "It's a lot different because if I go out and make a mistake it hurts the other guys. If I go out and hit a wheel or bend something or break something that hurts everybody on the team, so that makes it tougher."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Scott Maxwell