KENSETH WINS DAYTONA 500 * Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag for the 17th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with today's win at Daytona International Speedway. * It is Kenseth's first career Cup win at Daytona. (He won a ...
KENSETH WINS DAYTONA 500
* Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag for the 17th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with today's win at Daytona International Speedway.
* It is Kenseth's first career Cup win at Daytona. (He won a Nationwide race at Daytona in 2000.)
* This is Kenseth's first victory since the 2007 season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
* Ford has now won 593 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
* Ford has now won the Daytona 500 10 times.
* This is Roush Fenway Racing's first-ever Daytona 500 victory. It is Roush Fenway's third all-time win at Daytona.
TRAVIS KVAPIL -- No. 28 Golden Corral Ford Fusion
WHAT HAPPENED? "Just blew a right front. I had a vibration for around a lap, and we were going through one and two and then it slid pretty bad that lap. I was all the way up against the wall through three and four. There were just a lot of cars. I was trying to get down that lap. But, it blew kind of on the exit of four. Just tried ride it out too long, basically." PRIOR TO THE VIBRATION, DID YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT YOUR CAR COULD DO? "I had a pretty good car. It drove up from the back to mid-pack and then kind of got shuffled to the back again and drove then back up to mid-pack again, so I was pretty happy with the car. We got it driving a lot better, especially since Thursday. Not much of an indication, picked up a little bit of a vibration and then just popped."
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
"I'm not real sure. You can't really see anything, except for the guys in front of you. The line just wouldn't go. I was getting run into from the back and I'm hitting the guy in front of me, and it looked like someone got spun around in the right, but it was a really good day for the Crown Royal Ford Fusion. It drove really well and we had some awesome horsepower this weekend from Yates and all those guys. Sometimes it's just not your day."
PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
"The all stacked up off of four. I'm not sure who it was, maybe the 31 got in the wall, and we were all good until somebody moved down and kind of hooked our right-rear and got us in the fence. It was a good race car. We were just kind of surviving there at the end."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEWS: "It's gonna be really wet out here because I'm crying like a baby, but I've just got to thank my team and thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity first of all. I've had a lot of great opportunities in my life -- from my family getting me in racing and really DeWalt, Ford, Carhartt, USG Sheetrock, R&L Carriers, all the sponsors that we have that have stuck by us and made this happen in an up and down economy. Man, I don't know. Winning the Daytona 500 is definitely a dream moment. It's just an unbelievable feeling."
WHAT DOES THIS WIN MEAN TO YOU? "After last year, winning a race means a lot to me. I'm really proud of these guys. It's Drew's first race as a Cup crew chief, that's pretty cool, and Chip for sticking in here with us and really going through the deal and trying to make the team stronger -- putting egos aside and making the team as strong as we can -- and these guys have been fired up and working hard. It's just unbelievable."
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU WENT TO BED LAST NIGHT? "You just never know what's gonna happen. We've had some really fast cars on the speedways in the past and I've just never been able to figure out how to do the right thing and today we were able to make the right moves. We got some weather, but yet we did race 400-and-some miles and we were able to pull it off. I was pretty miserable some nights because we just couldn't make our car handle and this backup car is actually way better than the 500 car. I felt pretty good going into this morning, but I didn't dream we were gonna win."
YOU ARE A DAYTONA 500 WINNER. "That's unbelievable. I've just really got to thank my team first of all for all the work they did this week. I put them in a hole wrecking on Thursday and they did just a tremendous job and had a great pit stop when we really needed it. I mean, that was a killer pit stop and it gave us the track position to be in position to win this thing."
YOU SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF EMOTION. "Yeah. Just to win a race after our year last year. I didn't know if I was ever gonna do that again and then to pull off the Daytona 500, it's just unbelievable. I'm just unbelievably thankful and humbled right now for all the opportunities I've had, really."
WHAT ABOUT THE PASS FOR THE LEAD? "I was a little nervous because it was Elliott and then Reed and Allmendinger and all the teammates lined up there and I was able to get outside Elliott a little bit, and our car was honestly a fair amount quicker than his and I was able to get a run on him and get by him."
WERE YOU RACING HARDER BECAUSE YOU KNEW THE RAIN WAS COMING? "Man, we raced hard all day. Thanks to all the fans that came out to watch us. It's a great pleasure to race in front of the greatest race fans in the world. We just raced hard the whole time. You knew it was down to crunch time, but to be honest with you, you're almost a little more careful with your moves with the rain coming, so I didn't want to make the wrong move and get hung out and finish in the back, either. So I felt like I had a good enough run there and Dale Jr. and Ryan Newman and a couple of those lapped cars were real fast when they were on the bottom, so I felt pretty good about getting down in front of them."
BILL ELLIOTT -- No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion
"It's survival for me. I'm just proud of the guys, they worked hard. I wish we would've had a little bit better shot at it, but you know how it is."
IF IT HADN'T BEEN CUT SHORT, DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO GAIN SOME MORE SPOTS? "I was just kind of biding my time there. We were pretty good, I wanted to get a little bit better, but we didn't have the opportunity."
BOBBY LABONTE -- No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion
"It started off pretty good. We were running up there in the top-five and top-10, and just the handle got away from me. It just got too tight by ourselves, and when someone got close it got too loose. We just struggled with the balance after that. We got back there a little bit and could never get it right. We just could never get it back right, you know?"
DID YOU SEE SOME THINGS THAT ARE CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM? "Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'm just down today, but I feel good that there will be things that we'll be able to concentrate on next weekend. You know, I never even sat in this race car with the motor running until I got here, but I am definitely optimistic about what's going to hold true for us next week."
BRIAN WOLFE, Director, Ford North America Motorsports
THIS IS YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE WIN. "It's awesome. Just to be here in the first race to be in position for a victory, that's just incredible. It was great preparation by the teams to be ready and having the cars in the prime position, and then a little bit of Lady Luck on our side and it all came home. I couldn't be happier for everybody."
THIS IS ALSO THE FIRST DAYTONA 500 WIN FOR MATT KENSETH AND JACK ROUSH. "Exactly. This is always a tough race just because of the venue itself. But, again, it just goes to show you Jack's tenacity to be ready. And Matt, he's an awesome driver, and he waited for the right opportunity to take the lead and as luck would have it, Mother Nature was on our side a little bit, too.
DURING THE RAIN DELAY, BEFORE THE RACE WAS CALLED:
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion
"My car was good. I damaged the front splitter and it's a little hard to get it right. It's a little loose right now, but I think if we can get it running again, we're gonna pick up a bunch of spots. I'd almost rather it just rain and have Matt win this thing than try to go pick up a few spots. I want to see a Ford in Victory Lane."
WERE YOU LUCKY TO GET THROUGH THAT BIG WRECK? "Oh yeah. Anything can happen. I'm lucky to get through it, that's for sure."
YOUR GUYS HAVE WORKED HARD? "Yeah, my guys put it back together pretty well. It's actually real good right now. We've only had a couple laps to race, but we were passing cars and it's nice and loose and fun to drive. I really want to race some more, but if it does rain, a Ford is up front and that's important, too. It's just wild out here. When the tires get a little worn out and you're sliding all over the place, it's really a lot of fun. I'm enjoying this race for sure."
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion
"I'd like to see it go back green. It's a perfect situation. I wish the rain would have never come because I think we've got a car that can win the race and it's just about being in the right position. With just a handful of laps to go, I'm sure we would come back in and take some tires and probably be good to the finish, but it is what it is. We could sit here and guess all night long and it's not in our hands."
HOW HAS YOUR RACE GONE? "We've worked on our UPS Ford every pit stop trying to make it better. It would have been nice to lead a lap early in the race when we were up front, but the race has been pretty uneventful for us, which is a good thing. We've been able to pass when we needed to. We've dropped back a few times, just trying to get the car handling like I need it, but I feel like we've got a car that's as good as it's been all race and we just need some more green flag racing. Certainly a top 10 isn't a bad day, but you only get one chance a year to win the Daytona 500, so it would be nice to go back racing."
AFTER THE RACE WAS CALLED:
ON HIS SIXTH-PLACE FINISH. "Well on one end, I'm a little disappointed this thing didn't end under green. I think our UPS Ford was capable of winning the race and you only get one Daytona 500 a year, so it's going to be a thing that I think about at night. But how awesome is it to see the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford winning the Daytona 500. Jack Roush has put a lot of work into this program for a number of years and it's cool to see that. And it's cool to see a Ford on top of things. But it was a good solid day for us and of course we'll take it and move on to California."
DO YOU THINK IF IT WOULD HAVE STAYED GREEN YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CHARGE UP TO THE FRONT? "Oh absolutely. Our car was handling good enough to be able to handle just about everywhere it needed to; it was just all dependent on who was behind me and who was in front of me. At times I felt like I was the best car on the race track and sometimes I felt like we were a sitting duck and we were going to finish 25th. It was just all dependent on the help that I had. We had a lot of help because we had fast car."
-credit: ford racing