MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Finished 2nd) GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 3rd) CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus (Only rookie in 'Chase for the Championship') POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE MATT ...
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Finished 2nd)
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 3rd)
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus (Only rookie in 'Chase for the Championship')
POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE
"We had a good night tonight and had a good race. My guys had great pit stops and had a good car. We pretty much stayed in the top 10 all night after the start and just had a real consistent run. It feels good to get a second-place finish out of here. At the beginning we didn't have any top fives and we've had a few of them lately and been running much better. I'm excited to have dug our way back out of that hole and made the chase. That's a great job by all my guys and everybody at Roush Racing. I'm excited to be in the chase and looking forward to go to Loudon next week. We've got a lot of momentum right now. We're running really well. All of the Roush cars are running well and it's fun to be part of that organization right now because we've got good stuff."
WILL WE SEE TEAMWORK THE FINAL 10 RACES LIKE WHEN YOUR TEAMMATES LET YOU LEAD A LAP? "Well, first of all, that didn't happen tonight exactly. I came out of the pits first and Kasey Kahne was up there on two tires and Kurt came up behind me, so I just passed Kasey first and then Kurt caught and passed me. He had a better car, but I was in front of him so that didn't happen tonight. That's not to say it couldn't happen, although I don't think it will because all five of us are trying to race for a championship right now and it would be silly to help anybody when you're trying to win yourself. So that didn't happen tonight. I'm sure that if I would have been close to him, not to say that it couldn't have happened, but we were better at the time when Kasey had two tires. We took the lead for a few laps and Kurt had the better car. We didn't play it conservative. We ran second. We were gaining on him a little bit at the end, but he just had the better car all night - just like last year. He had the best car, too, but ran out of fuel and had some other problems."
WOULD IT BE FUNNY IF YOU WON ONE RACE AND WON THE TITLE? "I guess so? I'm laughing now. I don't know. Everybody was asking a couple weeks ago - there are some people in the chase and probably still is - I don't know. There are a few guys in there that haven't won a race this year. I don't think Rusty has and Mark hasn't won a points race. There are still a few guys in there and I'll say the same thing I've always said, it still has to reward consistency somehow. It's not like football. It's not one team against one team. It's one team against 42. If you run seventh, that's not saying you lost, that's saying you ran seventh and there are six guys that beat you. So you still have to be rewarded for that and for running good week in and week out. It's hard to win these races. If I needed that extra 10 points to win tonight to get in the chase, I still couldn't have won. I was running as hard as I could to try to catch Kurt, so everybody is trying to win and there can only be one winner every Sunday. It still rewards consistency. Do I think it would be funny? Yeah, it would be kind of funny I guess for a shorter answer."
DO YOU FEEL OPTIMISTIC NOW? "Yeah, I feel good about it. There are some tracks coming up that we're not probably the best at and there are some tracks coming up where I think we'll be pretty strong at. I feel like if you are gonna get running better we're definitely doing it at the right time. Last year we started off pretty strong and won a couple of races and by this time we were in the chase, but, honestly, I wasn't that excited about it because we weren't performing very well. I knew in my heart that when we got in the chase we weren't going to win the championship most likely anyway, whereas this year sliding in and making up all those points and running well the way we've been running the last couple of months, I'm optimistic about our chances. I think that we can perform pretty well and have a shot at it."
"It was a pretty good run for us. It was pretty uneventful, really. We kept our track position and the car ran really well. It was the best car I've ever had here. We just had one mess-up on pit road. We lost a tire across pit road and had to come from about 16th or 17th and worked our way back up. I'm pretty excited about running this good here. The car doesn't have any marks on it, so we're getting ready to take it to Loudon. Obviously, we feel it's one of our best cars. We were thinking it was gonna be, so it turned out that way. I'm just excited to be in the chase and excited to run third here tonight."
"The Scotts Winterizer Ford was real good early and then we had one bad run where we were real tight and went a lap down. That was petrifying for me. I saw it all kind of slipping away, especially with Ryan's really good run and Jamie was running really well. Obviously Matt was running great, but we got it back together though and got our lap back luckily and ended up finishing 20th or something like that. I'm just really pumped to be in this deal. This is gonna make it a nice trip home tomorrow and to relax a little bit."
HOW DOES JACK KEEP THESE TEAMS EQUAL? "Jack gives us all the same stuff. We all have the opportunity to build the same thing, you know what I mean. I can build the same kind of car Greg can, or he can build the same kind Kurt builds or whatever, so we all have access to the same stuff. Doug Yates and those guys do an awesome job on engines and they're all very, very close also, so the opportunity is there. It's up to us how we put that together and how we use that stuff. Right now we all have it really, really good as drivers and Jack has it pretty good too because all five teams are working really, really well together. All five drivers get along pretty well and share information and work together and try to work together for the whole team, not necessarily just the single car. So that's hard to find, it's hard to find guys to work that well together and it's hard to find teams that will always work that well together because we still have to compete every Sunday or Saturday night in this case. Ryan's feeling pretty bad because he can't get along with his teammate (laughter). One quick thing, Kurt is going next year or the year after - whatever - and I'm sad to see that happen - and Mark's going too - right now the whole group works really good together so you've got to enjoy it while it's here."
DOES ROUSH HAVE A BIG ADVANTAGE? "He's got a huge advantage. He's got a 50 percent chance, I think. All of the teams are running good. But the 20 car is better than all of us. We'll see. He's got a good chance. We've got some good cars. I think we've got a really good car and all of them are good. Kurt is winning races. Matt's made up a bunch of points. Mark is running right there."
DID YOU SEE YOUR CHASE FLASH BEFORE YOU DURING THE WRECK? "Yeah, that was pretty wild. Yeah, I kind of saw everything there and I thought, 'Man, I can't believe we're gonna go out like this.' I had the car slowed down and whoever was behind me gave me just enough of a push to push me into the car that was stopped in front of me, and then somebody ran into the right-rear. I just didn't know what was gonna happen there, so I was really excited we didn't pop a hole in the radiator or any of the other important stuff. That was pretty amazing."
YOU ARE THE SURPRISE OF THE TOP 10. WHEN DID IT BECOME A REALITY THAT YOU COULD DO THIS? "Pretty early on we had a good run at Daytona and then we went to the next race track, California I believe it was, and ran fifth or something like that and I got thinking that, 'Man, this could be pretty neat.' Then we went to Bristol and reality set in, but, no, it's surprised the heck out of me to be honest with you, that I'm sitting here talking to you. I'm really excited and I think you're exactly right, nobody would have picked us."
HOW WAS THE TRACK AS FAR AS DEBRIS? "I think it was awesome. It was about five lanes wide and if you needed that sixth one, you were probably up too high. I thought it was pretty good. Yeah, there were some marbles, but they were way, way up there. Whenever you have a tire that wears out and rubber comes off of it you're gonna have some marbles, and it's hard to blow it when the groove is that high, so I didn't think it was that bad, but some of those guys were running higher than what I was, too. I don't know, Biff was up there on the cushion. What did you think?"
"I thought it was awesome up there. There was a lot of grip. I was never up in the marbles, so I thought the track was plenty clear enough up there. I got a little high coming off four one time and it just starts to slide. When you get in that stuff you've just got to slow up and kind of regroup and get going again. I think NASCAR did a good job about cleaning the track. They cleaned the track everytime there were cautions, so I don't know what they can do. They're not gonna stop the race in the middle of a run to go up there and clean it. I think it was the best race I've been in here. The groove was real wide. I mean, you could run on the bottom. It was pretty good racing."
HAS IT SET IN WITH WHAT'S GOING ON WITH YOU THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? "I'm very fortunate. You know where I came from. This is kind of wild for me to be involved in this this early. I feel like the reason why I'm having such great success is my team. I feel like I've kind of got on board with Roush right at the crest - and Greg Biffle all the stuff he's taught me - no, it's just unbelievable. It hasn't really set in. I'm gonna go home to Missouri tomorrow and hang out and throw some rocks in the river and relax a little bit - do something that's not racing. I'm really happy."
COULD IT BE A DISADVANTAGE TO HAVE FIVE CARS IN THE CHASE? "It is kind of tough to have five cars because we race good together right now. I had fun racing with Matt tonight, but if that's for the championship or for a potential five points towards winning the title, it's gonna be harder to race with each other like that because that spot is important. Naturally, he's gonna try and race as hard as he can. I was turning. If he won't let me up there and he chops down on me, then he won't do it again."
"Just to add one more thing to that. I think the big thing is we're still gonna work the same during the week and the teams are still gonna work the same during the week. They're gonna work together. All the guys in the shop, the same people put the bodies on the car the same whether it's a 16 or a 99 or a 17 or whatever it is. Everybody is still gonna talk. They're still gonna share information. They're still gonna work together. Everybody is gonna do that, but when you get on the track, yeah, you're not gonna do nothing to hurt each other, but if you're gonna do something that might help Greg, but it's gonna cost me, I'm not gonna do that and he's not gonna do that either, unless it gets way stretched out at the end and one of us is out of it or something like that - you'll try to help the guy. But it's mostly in the shop and it's during practice and after practice sharing notes and talking and finding out things about their cars and trying to apply that to make the whole thing better."