TALK ABOUT THE FINISH. "I think it would have been a wreck if Matt Kenseth hadn't been behind me and it had been someone else. We raced really hard there for the last 30 laps. I would get a lead and then he would come back on me, and then I ...
TALK ABOUT THE FINISH.
"I think it would have been a wreck if Matt Kenseth hadn't been behind me and it had been someone else. We raced really hard there for the last 30 laps. I would get a lead and then he would come back on me, and then I would get a lead and then he would come back on me. He got up under me there and got me loose in 4 with 10 to go and got by me, and I did the same thing in 2 and got back by him. Both of our cars were loose, but they were fast; we just couldn't get in the gas real hard. Getting close to the end, you have to get after it a little harder. I just up on the wheel of my Nesquik Taurus and tried to drive it as hard as I could drive it. I'm just glad that Matt gave me a break. He could have spun me out, but I knew he wouldn't do that. He's a great competitor, he wanted to win as bad as I did. My guys got me out, gained a couple of spots on that last pit stop and made the car better. I was able to get Greg and finally lead a lap. I never dreamed I would hold those guys off for 30 laps. The closer it got to the end of the race, the more I wanted it and Harold (Holly) was keeping me pumped up on the radio. It was just a great day for the Nesquik Taurus here at Charlotte. I never dreamed I would win at Darlington, first of all, and then my next one at Charlotte. I never dreamed I would win it."
HOW SPECIAL IS THE WIN AT CHARLOTTE?
"I think my first race here was in '91, so it took me 10 years to win. It's a goal of mine to win everywhere, and Charlotte is our homecourt and we get to sleep in our own beds. I know you hear us say that a lot, but it's a little more pride here. Humpy and all of his guys make this a big deal. I think it's a goal of all the drivers to win. The Coke 600 is one of the biggest races of the year, and the preliminary race, the 300, is one of our biggest races of the year. To win one of the biggest races, makes it a little more special."
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY BIFFLE'S STRONG START?
"I think Mark (Martin) taught him that. I think Mark taught him how bad his car is, and then he leads most of the race. He has all of Mark's notes, and Mark Martin has been acing here forever, it seems like. He's had great race cars here forever and that helped him, but that's a whole different team. Greg needs to get up on the wheel, and I don't know if he made his car worse, but we got better at the end. It's a 300-mile race and I'd rather lead the last lap than every other one before that. That's what pays the money."
DID YOU FEEL A LOT OF CHANGES TO THE TRACK THROUGHOUT THE DAY?
"Well, I knew that the sun was coming and going, but I didn't feel like the race track changed any. This place usually gets tight as the race goes on, it gets more rubber down because the tires are softer. This year, the new tires are harder, so it isn't laying the rubber down, I don't think. You used to be able to run against the fence halfway through the race and that's where you needed to be, but today was right on the bottom. I think the tire situation creates that. I think that's why you see a lot of guys sliding around. The whole front five was sliding around more than I think it ever has. The guys that really missed the setup, I think it showed. We were close enough to hold them off. We weren't perfect, we could have been a lot better. We were as good as we needed to be at the end to hold them off."
DID YOU THINK THAT MATT WAS GOING TO BE THAT BIG OF A FACTOR AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"I figured that Matt was trying to save his stuff and was going to make a move at the end, but he was going pretty hard, too. I wasn't saving anything. I was going as hard as I could. I was so loose that I couldn't go are hard as I wanted to and had to conservative a little bit, but I knew he was going to make a run. The lapped traffic was helping him a little bit because I was catching them at the wrong place and he was catching them at the right place. I knew that if he got on my bumper that he was going to make me looser than I was, and it showed there with 10 to go when he got up under me. I did the same to him. After I did that to him, I knew he was as loose as I was and that made me feel better that he wasn't going to drive by me with four or five laps to go. I had to get in the corner easier and get off hard, and that's what won the race for us today."
HOW MUCH DID TESTING HERE HELP YOU?
"I think it did a lot. We didn't bring the same car back here. All of our cars are alike and we thought that the body on this one was better for our hot conditions. If it was overcast, the other car probably would have been better. We thought the sun would be shining and it did, and it worked out for us. The things that we learned in practice and testing always helps. It helps at the other race tracks. Some of the guys that didn't test probably paid for it. We had one hour of practice and that's all we have every week. We don't have a lot of track time like the Cup guys do. We have two hours of practice to get ready to qualify and then we have one hour of race practice, basically. We weren't really cut any in practice this week."
DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE A LOT OF CHANGES TO THE CAR OVER THE COURSE OF THE RACE?
"No, not really. We had a little too much right-rear spring in it. We thought that it was going to be a little more cloudy than it was, and since the sun was shining, the track was a little slick and we had to pay for that. I paid for it all day. I had to turn more right than I did left. We made adjustments on the pit stops, not a lot, but we made a little bit every chance we had and that made it good enough for the win at the end."
WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE ON THE FINAL PIT STOP?
"I don't know. He (Harold Holly) said that we're going to put four tires on it and he did something to the track bar. I don't know what he did, and I don't question Harold. He can tell by how high my voice is, how loose the car is. He makes the adjustments, and he did a great job. We should have made a little more, but we did enough for today. We learned a lot today on what we need to the next time. You have to guess on every lap what it's going to do on the next, and Harold did a great job. We beat a couple of guys out of the pits and had a great restart to get by Greg and hold Matt off at the end." YOUR SPOTTER KEITH BARNWELL WAS TELLING YOU TO HUG IT DOWN TIGHT ON THE LAST LAP. DID THAT HELP OR WERE YOU ALREADY DOING THAT?
"I knew that Matt was going to try to get up under me. I wasn't going to come off that white line. He was going to have to turn me into pit road before I was going to come off that white line. He had me jacked five ways. I don't think he let me loose until we got to the start-finish line. I was about ready to run out of race track on the outside. I almost hit the outside under the flag stand. I wasn't going to let off. If I had to hit wall, I was not getting off the throttle because I thought I could beat him back. I was spinning the tires all the way off of 4. He hit me on the right rear, he had me jacked sideways, but he never turned right on me to spin me out and that's what Matt Kenseth is all about."
YOU NOW HAVE THE POINTS LEAD.
"We've got to focus on every race. Dover is next week. The points race is not over by any means. Kevin Harvick runs way too good, Greg Biffle runs way too good and Jason Keller runs way too good for it to be over. I'll have a sigh of relief after Homestead if we're still leading. We're just going to race every week like it's the last one, like we've been doing for the past two years. We want to get the most points on that particular day, and we came up five points short for mot leading the most laps today. Greg got those points, but we got the most from there on out. That's what we're focused on doing, and that's what will win us another championship."