Dover: Pole winner's press conference

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus "It was a great lap. When I got done and saw the time I was like, 'Aw, that's not gonna hold up for the pole' because I figured everybody would pick up. But everybody dropped off a little bit. I...

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus

"It was a great lap. When I got done and saw the time I was like, 'Aw, that's not gonna hold up for the pole' because I figured everybody would pick up. But everybody dropped off a little bit. I felt like I got everything out of my car that I could get out of it and it just felt like a good, solid lap. The car has been really fast since we unloaded it. We had a great test here a couple of weeks ago and learned a lot from that. Our car unloaded off the truck really good and I'm just hoping it drives that good in race configuration tomorrow."

HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE YOUR TEAM THIS YEAR? "The guys are doing great. Obviously, they're doing a great job. They won the pit crew championship last year and they won the pole for The Winston and they've been doing their job. So I feel a little bit better now that at least I've won a pole without a pit stop. But they've been doing a great job on pit road and a great job preparing cars and building cars. They've been super. We're kind of on a role right now and I'm really enjoying it. I just hope we keep it up."

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOUR SUCCESS AT DOVER? "I really, really like the race track. Before last year, we've been able to find pretty good setups for here and run pretty good around here. I made my first Winston Cup start here driving for Bill (Elliott) and I had a great time that weekend. The last couple of times we've been here we just haven't been able to run good and haven't been able to figure out what we need in our cars, so we decided to come up here and test and spent two days trying to figure out what we need. We found a lot of stuff and wound up getting our car way faster than the last couple times here. We unloaded with a setup we used to run here and I just couldn't run it anymore, so a lot of it was just us being able to figure out what we needed to change, so we needed to come and spend a couple days and figure that out and it really showed today."

ARE YOU SURPRISED IT TOOK THIS LONG TO GET YOUR FIRST CAREER POLE? "I'm surprised it came this soon. We've never really been good qualifiers and I need a pretty good car to be able to qualify good, so I feel really good about our car here to win the pole by as much as we did. In the Busch Series we started getting the hang of it when we started changing things. A lot of it, I feel like my qualifying anyway, is that when we had the two engine deals, we never really worked too hard on qualifying engines. We basically used older race engines and I felt we were at a deficit when we did that. So I thought with the one-engine rule our qualifying would be a lot better this year. Even though you don't see it every week, and you don't really see it in our average start, our qualifying has been a lot better than it's ever been. I think this is our third top 10 start and I don't think we had any top 10 starts last year, so our qualifying has been getting better. I feel like we're at more of an even keel with everybody and we're getting better at it. It's not that we don't work at it, we work at it, but we probably work a little bit harder on our race stuff."

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE SUNDAY FOR YOU TO RUN BETTER THAN THE LAST YEAR OR SO? "We just need to run faster, I don't know how else to put it. The last couple of times we've just missed the setups here. It's not like we were just a turn of wedge away from having a good car, we just totally missed the combinations the last two times we've been here to be able to run fast, so we just came here and worked on different combinations and different stuff to make us run better. I can't really tell you in detail what we did to make it better, we just found a combination that was better for my driving style to be able give them the feedback we need to make my car fast and we had to work on that. Basically, the last few times we've been here we ran the setups we ran two or three years ago and ran really good, but the times change, the tires change, the rules change - everything changes and we've had more trouble here adapting to some of the new stuff than we had at maybe some of the other places. We needed the extra time to figure it out."

IS THE STRATEGY TO JUST STAY IN FRONT? "Really, as good as everybody is these days the strategy is to be up front as much as you can. Obviously, you need to be smart. If somebody is faster than you and pressuring you, you have to get out of the way and let them go, but my goal is to stay up in the top 10 all day and try to be smart and take care of our equipment. You always have tire concerns when you come here just because of how fast the track is and how it's laid out. I try to be conscious of that and, if my car is tight, I'll kind of slow up to try and take care of my equipment a little. Other than that, if you car is handling good, you want to be there all day."

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE POINTS RACE AT ALL? "No, not really. Maybe some of those guys have and maybe they're being a little more conservative, but I'm the same driver all the time. I want to win races. I hate losing. I race to win. That's where the excitement is for me, so I try to take each race one at a time. I try to win races, try to lead laps, try to finish as high as we can finish and I'm not really worried about the points. We're only a third of the way through the season and a lot of things can change between now and Thanksgiving, that's for sure. We just have to take it one race at a time, put in the best effort we can, run as hard as we can and take the result."

WHY ARE THE BUSCH CARS QUALIFYING FASTER THAN CUP CARS? "There have been times where I've run both cars and gone faster in my Busch car than I ran in my Cup car, so a little bit of it is that they qualified earlier in the day. The track conditions were better then. We practiced faster than what we qualified, after they got done practicing, so that's a little bit of it. And another thing is they gave them a bunch more horsepower since a couple of years ago. At a track like this, where there is so much corner, having an extra 100 or 150 horsepower on the Winston Cup side doesn't necessarily show up qualifying because it's more about your corner speed. With the Busch cars being lighter and the wheel base shorter and all those things, they just have a greater corner speed through here and that's why they're able to run as fast - at least for qualifying."


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Series NASCAR Cup