NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Post-Race Transcript An Interview with: MATT KENSETH - 2nd KURT BUSCH - 3rd JOEY LOGANO - Top rookie THE MODERATOR: We'll roll right into our post race press conference for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint...
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Post-Race Transcript
An Interview with:
MATT KENSETH - 2nd
KURT BUSCH - 3rd
JOEY LOGANO - Top rookie
THE MODERATOR: We'll roll right into our post race press conference for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All Star Race. We're pleased to be joined by our runner up tonight, Matt Kenseth. Drives the No. 17 Dewalt Ford. And, Matt, certainly a lot of back and forth there in that 10 lap shootout. Tell us how things unfolded, particularly there the last final laps.
MATT KENSETH: The last couple of laps, I'm obviously disappointed we lost. But I feel stupid. Looks like I rolled up and Tony went flying right by me, which he did. We were too loose all night and really slow on restarts. For a long run we were really good, if it had been the 600, we had 30 and 40 lap runs, I thought our car was pretty spectacular. It was pretty good on the long run.
Anyway, on that break we knew we had to tighten up the car a lot, which we did. Put more air in the tires and did all the things for a short run. It was actually pretty good for five or six laps. But with all the short runs, cautions, getting the body banged, it just hurt it. With three to four to go we got tight and wouldn't turn at all that last lap and Tony just rolled right on by.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q: Matt, at one point Kyle went around you on a restart and it looked like you guys kind of banged each other under caution. What was up with that?
MATT KENSETH: Well, the rules tonight are a little different than most nights. All restarts tonight were double file and all restarts were started by the flagman and there was no restart zone.
And you couldn't pass until you got the start/finish line. So we took that restart, the first restart with 10 to go, and I took off and my car wasn't very fast in restarts for some reason. And he rolled way outside of me way before we ever got to the start/finish line, which you can't do. Kind of right reared me. We both dropped way back and got a little bit of damage out of that. And luckily there was a caution and they reracked them.
So after that I was so slow when he hit me in the right rear, he rolled outside and we were three wide going down into the 3 and we were still racing for position until we knew the caution was out for sure.
Q: Matt, looked like you had a lot of straightaway speed tonight. Did you feel like that was where your car was strongest was down in the straights?
MATT KENSETH: No, not really. It seemed like our car was the strongest in turn 3 and 4, turned pretty good down there most of the night. And most of the night we were too loose in 1 and 2. And we were able to get off turn 4 really fast all night, seemed to be our strongest point.
Q: When Tony went and did his own deal, did you think he would get a win even though it's not a points race, did you think he could get a win this early, did you think they could be that good?
MATT KENSETH: Considering the circumstances, yes. If he went and did his own deal and built his own cars and if he went up to Bill Davis's shop and did his own deal I don't think he would have won a race there. But when you go over there, get Hendricks information and engines and chassis and everything with this car, this car is almost a production car how you put it together and when you have all that information to draw from. As talented and Tony and Ryan are, I did not think they wouldn't be competitive. I thought they would be as competitive as the Hendrick cars every week. They have a lot of their personnel over there, and it's kind of a spinoff of that team, like the Gates teams over at Roush, I guess.
Q: Matt, what are the emotions when you realize you can't keep the car down low enough and Stewart's got the run on you coming into 2?
MATT KENSETH: Well, I felt stupid because all night the very bottom for me was the slowest down there in the middle had by far the most grip, and once I took the lead I ran around the middle there, and Tony almost passed me.
He was so much faster than me. He almost went around me. I chose the bottom. The next lap because I saw he was choosing to get in front of you. Because if you get one in front of you, you can't pass them. I got in front of him and had a little room back off of 4. I was going to run back to the middle down there where I've run the best all night.
That's where my car was all night. Had about a three car length lead on them. Went down there, the splitter hit the ground and didn't turn and got in the gas real early and hard and plowed and it wouldn't turn at all and he rolled right by me like I was tied to a tree. The car, tires up, all that stuff, we went a little too far in our adjustments for that short run and got way tight at the end.
Q: Matt, the first 80 laps of this race had no passes for the lead in speed. Jeff Gordon made a pass on the 81st lap. The final segment passes everywhere. Is this car so difficult to drive it that you just can't chance it until it's all on the line?
MATT KENSETH: No, I think we're all chancing it. When you get into the when you got to the final 10 laps, if we would have got a decent start in that last 10 laps and ran 10 green, I don't think it would have been much different.
But when you rack them up side by side and put a million dollar carrot out there in everybody side by side restart, nobody's really worried about wrecking anything. You take off, you're going to have some excitement.
But I thought once we got five or six laps on our tires, if our car would have been at all close, I don't think Tony would have got by us once we had it in front. We've seen it since we started racing this car, we've seen it with all cars, but especially this car, when you're in front, it's big advantage when you're going that fast to have all the air.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Matt.
We'll call up Kurt Busch and Joey Logano, please. Okay. We have our third place finisher in tonight's race and that's Kurt Busch, drives the No. 2 Miller Light Dodge. Rookie of the year candidate, coming in at eighth place, drives the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, that's Joey Logano.
Kurt, first, your thoughts about how that No. 2 Miller Light Dodge did out there tonight.
KURT BUSCH: I thought we had an entertaining evening to run up front and race guys hard and not give up spots. All Star type atmosphere, and to take our taste protector lid Miller Light Dodge to the front like we did and hang on for certain segments and then to put on some good pressure in other segments gives us a little bit of a good feeling and yet a little bit of sour feeling knowing we came home third.
But the good feeling is that our car seems to run a little better on the longer run, just doesn't pay anything when you have a 10 lap shootout at the end. And so for us to qualify second run top 5 all day and then to pour on some pressure at the end, definitely felt solid for our Dodge team and the horsepower that we built and the handling that we had.
It was right there, just couldn't quite take off. Took me about three laps to get going. And once we had that, then I felt like our lap times were very competitive.
But overall, good night. For us I was just hoping that the 17 and the 14 would duke it up a little bit and we would be able to come sliding through the smoke and hoist up the trophy. But not to be. And Tony did a great job tonight and so did Matt.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, your first All Star race. Congratulations. You advance into tonight's field by winning the Sprint Fan Vote. Your thoughts about the fans, great support from the fans for you tonight and also you ran well.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I really gotta thank the fans for that one. For a rookie to come in get the fan vote, a lot of big names in that race to get the fan vote right off the bat, that was very surprising.
I gotta thank everyone out there. That was really big. And the first race I thought we were okay. Did a couple things to the car, I learned there, Zippy learned a couple things to work on for the next race.
Kept getting better. What did we finish there, fifth, I think. Once we started the big race we started to go to the front. I thought we had a really, really good car. Came in for our first stop, just a little bit tight. I said just free it up a little bit. And a little bit went a whole bunch on me.
So I was really sideways after that. I kept trying to tighten it up. Finally got it good the last 20 lap run, and check position wasn't there anymore. And I thought we had a better car than what we finished tonight.
So after all that, I was happy with the Home Depot team. They did a great job all night, and I'm looking forward to the Coke 600.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q: Kurt, you mentioned you were good on long runs tonight. How much confidence does that give you going into the 600 next weekend?
KURT BUSCH: That's the good news of it, and the fact that our car seemed like it would handle and the other cars would come to us the longer that we ran.
It's something that you don't know that you're setting up into the car. It's just sometimes the balance that you're dealt as you race. For a 600 mile race you definitely want to be good on the long run.
What we can't do to ourselves is when we get to the end of the race like it is right now, the track's cool. The temperatures have gone down. The lap times really pick up.
And that's where we struggled a little bit is to lay those quick lap times down when tracks cool off. So it gives us a little bit incentive on hey this is a good direction what can we polish up to make us even stronger for next week.
Q: Kurt, was this just a typical All Star race with the chaos in the last 10 laps or was this anything different from years past and Joey since this is your first All Star experience, obviously you've been in some Cup races this year, but did it feel any different out there on the track or was it that much different than what a normal race has been for you?
KURT BUSCH: This to me I really was excited about the format when they announced it. I think 50 laps to start off the race with a green flag pit stop separates who is going to be strong and who is just going to be hanging out.
And once you get into the 20 lap segments, the two of them, pit strategy is involved. Kyle decided that he needed two tires. A bulk of them decided two tires were strong.
And then we stayed out for the second 20 lap segment just for track position because I figured people would start to get a little dicy then.
But, yeah, that final 10 laps, nobody's holding back. Everybody's going for it. I applaud the format changes and everything that happened.
Were there no lead changes up front, yeah, because Jimmie Johnson had a dominant car early and I was holding everybody up in 2nd.
JOEY LOGANO: I had a blast tonight. I had so much fun. It was the most fun I've had in a Cup race so far, that's for sure. I think it's cool how it's 50 and 20 and 20 and 10. That was different. But I enjoyed it.
I was kind of lost out there. I was like what do we do now? Are we coming in? When is the caution out? What's going on? That was the rookie part playing in. I had fun. The last 10 laps was really cool, not counting cautions and everyone was going for the gusto out there. That was really cool.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.