BUSCH: Phoenix II: Winner post-race interview

MATT KENSETH-17-Pennzoil Ford Fusion (Finished 1st) "We had a really fast car, obviously, the way we qualified. Jimmy built a new short track car before Richmond and we didn't do as good as I hoped with it because it's a really good car, and we...

MATT KENSETH-17-Pennzoil Ford Fusion (Finished 1st)

"We had a really fast car, obviously, the way we qualified. Jimmy built a new short track car before Richmond and we didn't do as good as I hoped with it because it's a really good car, and we came here and it was just really, really fast right off of the truck. We didn't hardly have to change anything. We got behind a little bit in the pits and then some guys stayed out on tires. I got a little bit of damage to car, which as sensitive as they are these days, it kind of hurt us a little bit on that middle long run. But, the 2 had their problems in the pits and the 21 slipped a little bit in the pits and we got back toward the front, the car was pretty good."

TALK ABOUT THE LAST RESTART.

"Well, it's all whose shoes you're wearing. In the driver's meeting every week, they say start in the vicinity of the line, which is a couple of car lengths either way, is the way I take it. And, they also say don't lay back more than a car length or you can be black-flagged. The restart before that I had all messed up. The 1 car, whoever was driving that was a lap down, and he was in the second groove and he was trying to put me in the third groove up in the marbles, so I got kinda slowed down way back in turn three and kind of got everybody jumbled up. I sort of messed that one up, but I saw Kevin hanging back a little bit, so I waited and I went late on the second-to-last one. On the last one, I went earlier than I did the time before, but I still thought I was within a car length or two of the line, so I just tried to change it up a little bit."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LEARNED TODAY THAT YOU CAN USE TOMORROW?

"That's always a big question running the Busch races, and you always like to hope so, especially without the impound procedure in the Cup car. I don't know, probably not. The cars are enough different. With the horsepower being so different and the aero package being different, they're just quite a bit different. There are some things that I'll probably look at. I might look at the shocks that we ran in this car, and I don't know if we ran them on the Cup car very much and maybe use something like that. I probably didn't learn a whole bunch, but we learned a little bit what the tires are going to do and got to look at tire wear and feel the track out and get some more experience on the track, but I don't know if I learned anything necessarily setup-wise that I will be able to use on my Cup car because when the Busch car got here, right now the setup that is in it is almost exactly how we rolled it off the truck, so we pretty much knew what it was all weekend and tried to incorporate a lot of that in our Cup car and it didn't really work anyway."

HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS?

"It definitely had more grip. If it would have been sunny and hot all day, it would have lost grip and you would have been spinning the tires more and sliding around a lot more. There was definitely a lot more grip to it."

IS THERE A FINE LINE ON JUMPING THE RESTART AND JUST GETTING A REALLY GOOD ONE?

"What everybody tries to do when they're not the leader, they try to lay back as far as they can. Obviously, if you lay back and anticipate when the leader is going to pick up the gas, you can already get your car rolling and the leader is going 40 mph and he's trying to accelerate to 140 mph. If you already have your car rolling 2 mph faster than the leader, you're going to have a big enough run and once you clear the start-finish line, you can turn under a guy and pass him. Being the leader, it's my job to get a restart so he doesn't get a run on me and get up alongside me. The restart before that, I thought he was alongside me before we ever got to the start-finish line, two restarts before that. I don't know if he was or not, but it sure seemed like he was staying inside and was at my door at the finish line, which he can't do either. It's just a fine line. You've got to try to change your restarts up, but you have to stay within the rules, and the rules are within the vicinity of that double-red stripe on the wall. I thought I was in it. I thought I was a little bit early, but I thought I was still in the vicinity."

"Our Busch qualifying has always been OK. When you start up front it helps because you get to pick your pit stall first and pick out what stall you want, so you usually have less traffic coming in and out of the pits, which helps during the race. It's always nice to be in the front and have all the air. These cars are pretty sensitive to aerodynamics, even at a track like this. Anytime you can hog all the air, you have to keep it."

"This is a great track. Usually there are several grooves. I thought it was a little more on the bottom today than usual. You'll usually have that when you have some guys stay out on older tires and the leaders get new tires, and generally the leaders have the faster cars or they wouldn't be the leaders. When they have the new tires and the fastest car and the best tires on them, and you've got guys that are staying out that were maybe running mid-pack and plus older tires, it tends to get exciting for a few laps because the first one through there is usually a big advantage. You're usually scrambling pretty hard to get by them guys before the guys that you're racing up front."

TALK ABOUT JIMMY FENNIG AS A CREW CHIEF, AND COMPARE HIM TO ROBBIE REISER.

"It's hard to compare him and Robbie. They're similar but they're different. We're kind of all from the same place. I really enjoy working with Jimmy. He used to work on the same cars that I used to race, just in a different era, 10 years before I got there. He's from the area, and grew up one hour from where I did. He's a Wisconsin guy, and him and Robbie are about the hardest two working guys that you can find. I really enjoy working with Jimmy. He's always digging into the stuff trying to make it better. He does whatever it takes to get fast cars, and that's always a plus for a guy driving it."

DO YOU FEEL ANY BETTER ABOUT THE CHASE AND YOUR PROSPECTS?

"At least one person, and probably more, are going to have to have trouble for us to win it. That's just the way it is, which is very disappointing to me because all year I've felt like we've been in championship form, expect for the last two months. It's just frustrating because we can't really figure out why. We've got basically the same cars, and we're going to the track trying to do the same things. We are making some mistakes that we shouldn't make, but we just can't get our cars to run and it's frustrating. It's just really frustrating. No, I don't feel very good about the last two races. We've ran awful all weekend. We ran awful all weekend at Texas. We ran awful all weekend at Atlanta up until the race. We ran hideous at Kansas. We've just not performed. Let's be realistic, the only reason we are where we are is because we haven't broke any parts and we haven't crashed. That's it. We've ran like a very mediocre team. We still have tomorrow and we still have next week, and really there are about four cars that if we can run in the top five or six and outrun them four cars at the same time, we'll still have a shot at it. Right now, that's really a stretch with how we're running."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR XFINITY