Ford Phoenix Friday Advance (Kenseth and Biffle)

Ford Racing’s three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers held
their weekly Q&A sessions at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday.
Transcripts from Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards follow:

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Valvoline Ford Fusion – HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING
ATTENTION TO THE OVERALL POINTS BATTLE?  IT’S CLOSE FROM 1-3 AND THEN
4-10 IS PRETTY TIGHT AS WELL.  “You kind of look at it when you get
home and see where you moved up to in points or moved back to in
points, but, other than that, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to
it.  You just try to finish the best you can every week and hope to
finish as high as you can in the points at the end of the year once
the championship is not attainable. 

WHAT ABOUT WITHIN THE ROUSH
FENWAY TEAM.  ARE THERE BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR BEING THE TOP FINISHER?
“Not for me.  Greg and Carl would have to answer for themselves, but I
want to do the best I can for our team every week.  If we had it our
way, we’d be 1-2-3 in points and battle it out.  I want those guys to
finish as high as they can, but just like everybody else in the top 12
I want them to finish behind me.  You want to do the best you can for
your respective team and car.” 


American Muscle

WHAT ELSE DO YOU WORK ON THESE FINAL
TWO RACES THAT YOU CAN USE AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR 2011?  “You do this
during the year as well, but every off-season you try to look at all
aspects of your program from personnel to equipment to driving to pit
stops – everything.  Certainly, the more recent races are always the
freshest in your mind, so you want  to get some momentum and you want
to get the best finishes you can the last few weeks, so you’ve got
something to look at and evaluate over the winter.  Like I say, you
want to try to win the races – you want to try to win every week – but
it’s important for us to finish strong.  We did move up to fifth in
points, so it’s important for us to finish as high as we possibly can
and get some momentum going into the off-season.” 

WHAT’S THE MOST
DIFFICULT PART OF RACING HERE?  “The hardest part is both ends are
quite a bit different, so to be good down in one and two without being
too loose off of turn four is probably the biggest thing.  There’s a
little bit of a compromise, but you want to get your car to work as
well as you can at both ends that are a lot different.” 

DO YOU LIKE
TO STAY INVOLVED IN RACING DURING THE OFF-SEASON OR JUST GET AWAY
ENTIRELY?  “I don’t really know of many races, except for the Snowball
Derby, which my son is running that again this year and it’s the same
weekend that we’re out at the banquet in Vegas, so I don’t know of any
other off-season races before we start in February.  It’s not like
we’re off a real long time and not in a car.  It’s only about a
month-and-a-half.” 

ANY THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS FOR THE KENSETH’S?
“For the last eight or nine years we’ve been spending Thanksgiving at
our cabin up in Wisconsin, so we get both of our families together and
hang out there for a few days and relax.  We eat a lot, watch some
football and play some football and that’s about it.” 

DOES THAT
RECHARGE YOU IN A BIG WAY?  “I don’t know that I really need any
recharging.  I’m good.  I could keep racing or I could have a month or
two off, so I’m not sure I really need recharging.  I feel as good
right now as I did when we came out here in the spring, to be honest
with you.  I don’t really need recharging, but I always look forward
to spending time with my family whenever I can.” 

DO YOU SEE JIMMIE
COMING BACK AND WINNING THE TITLE?  “Well, everybody is different.  I
wouldn’t beat against those guys until they lose one.  I wouldn’t have
bet against them the last four year and I wouldn’t do it this year
either until it’s over, but it’s interesting.  The three guys up there
are all quite different, their teams are different, their driving
styles and approach, I think, are different, so, in my opinion, the
chase for the championship is pretty interesting this year to see
which one of those three guys is gonna be on top when it’s all over
next week.”

ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS BRAVADO COMING OUT OF
THE 11 CAMP?  “Not really.  I wish Denny would have been careful last
week and let me win (laughing).  I would have enjoyed that more than
their bravado and winning and doing all of that.  I was happy to be up
there racing for a win last week, but, like I said, I think it’s an
interesting chase and there are a lot of good storylines for everyone
to follow.  When I get home it’s interesting to check it all out and
see what all went on.” 

HOW DO YOU FEEL AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON?
“I feel the same I felt probably the first time here.  I don’t really
feel any different.  I’m not really wore out and I’m not necessarily
ready for a break, although you always look forward to an off weekend
and the holidays to spend some time with your family, but I feel good.
We just came off a good run last week, which was encouraging, and put
a little spring in all of our step, so, hopefully, we can finish the
last two weeks like that.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT
OF RACING HERE?  “Probably the difference in the corners.  It’s like
two different race tracks, almost and it kind of makes it challenging
but fun.   Turn one and two are completely different than three and
four.  One and two is like more of a short track corner and then three
and four seems like it’s a lot more larger and faster because it’s a
little bit wider and sweeps.  That’s probably the most challenging
thing.” 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GO FAST HERE?  “It takes a car that
turns really well and you can get the balance between the two ends
right.  That’s the main thing.” 

WHAT’S THE VISIBILITY LIKE?  “It’s
terrible.  It’s the worst race track we go to for visibility because
the sun goes down right over the top.  There’s a hole between the
grandstands and however it works out, it seems that the sun is in your
eyes for the longest period of time.  That makes it really difficult
to get your braking zone and get side-by-side.  It’s really, really
hard.” 

DO YOU LIKE RACING HERE?  “Oh yeah, I love it just because I
grew up in the northwest and I’ve raced here a few times in the
southwest tour.  It’s a fun race track.” 

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN
THE TITLE?  “I think Jimmie can do it.  I think that Kevin can do it
and I think Denny can do it.  It’s whoever makes the least amount of
mistakes these next two races.  The least amount of mistakes on pit
road, racing room on the race track with other drivers, whatever it
comes down to – pit decisions – it’s gonna come down to obviously the
best finish, but a lot of times it’s minimizing spots on the race
track.” 

EVERYBODY IS LOOKING AT THE TOP 3 BUT 4-10 IS TIGHT AS WELL.
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO IT?  “Fourth through tenth we’re
paying attention to because that’s where we’re racing for our spot in
the points.  It’s clear they’re paying attention to the top three
because we led 234 laps last week and they didn’t even interview us,
so it’s obvious they’re paying attention to the top three, which they
should – that’s the championship – but if we would have won we would
be fifth in points right now.  We were clearly on our way to winning
that race.  There was no doubt and then the shifter broke and all I
had was third and fourth gear.  That was unfortunate, but we still
finished fifth with the problems that we had, which is really good,
but to think I was 10th or 11th or 12th in points, and if I would have
won last week we’d be fifth, that’s a huge difference, so I do pay
attention to how tight the points are because we are that close.”

WHAT ABOUT AMONG THE ROUSH FENWAY TEAMS?  “We’re really tight as well
and probably the one thing that I saw that surprised me the most is
it’s like the top three and then the rest of the field.  I’m surprised
to see that it’s not kind of staggered out a little bit.  It’s the top
three within 50 points and then fourth through whatever is almost 50
points, so it’s kind of odd that there’s that big of a separation and
everybody is still so tight.”

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE BRAVADO FROM THE 11
TEAM?  “I don’t know.  I look at last week, if you want to take last
week, we were better than all of them.  We kicked the 11’s butt.  We
kicked the 48’s butt.  All day long nobody could even challenge us
until the shifter broke and then they challenged us because,
obviously, I didn’t have all my gears to get up to speed.  Now, can we
do that every week?  That’s a different story, but you’ve got to play
some games with them and I guess that’s why I say that because last
week was last week and we spanked them the entire race.  But that’s
only one week and you’ve got to do it for 36 to win a championship and
get spots in the points and get talked about.  But if I was in that
position I’d be doing the same thing and it’s self-confidence as well.
‘We’re better than the 48.  We’re gonna beat them.’  Those kind of
things, that’s confidence.” 

HOW MUCH DO MIND GAMES PLAY A ROLE IN
THIS SPORT?  “You can only do so much, but you can get under
somebody’s skin a little bit, I guess.  I don’t really pay attention
to it.  I worry about my car and how fast my car is gonna go today and
qualifying good so we get a good pit spot and we’ll let them talk
about whatever they want.”


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