Ford Bristol 1 Post Race (Kenseth Press Conference)


Food City 500 (NSCS Post Race)

March 18, 2012

American Muscle

Bristol Motor Speedway


MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT YOUR PERFORMANCE OUT THERE TODAY. YOU AND THE 2 CAR LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD FOR MOST THE SECOND HALF OF THE RACE.  “Yeah, overall I was pretty happy with my car. Most of the weekend I wasn’t real thrilled with how it drove. After that mandatory caution we had that long green flag run and got rolling pretty good and got up to third or fourth and I thought we were quite a ways off on balance. We tightened the car up quite a bit and got running better. In that one real long run we were the tightest and had the best traction off the corner. The last 15 laps of the run we were better than Brad was. Then when we started that last run and got out in the lead and got air in the nose, plus we picked up something and I just got too lose. I knew that I wasn’t going to have enough traction, more than likely, to hold him off.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO HIT YOUR MARKS AND THE LINE YOU ARE RUNNING WHEN YOU KNOW THERE ARE GUYS JUST INSIDE OF YOU? HOW DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT HE IS DOING AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING AT THE SAME TIME? “Yeah, you try to look in the mirror a little bit and hopefully your spotter is giving you the information you want because it is so fast here it is hard to find time to ask. You try to run whatever line you think your car is best in but certainly we took off on that second to last restart with new tires and I didn’t want Brad to get outside of me. He was real good around the bottom and everybody is pretty good around the middle and the top. I wasn’t good at all in the bottom, especially in one and two. I didn’t have enough traction to get off the corners. It was important to me to make sure I was outside of where he wanted to pass me. After you get about 10 or 15 laps on him my car was the best, pretty much on the top in three and four and from the middle to the top in one and two. I kept easing my way up there. I raced him as hard as I could race him. I was hoping he would get under me honestly and burn his right rear up and we would be able to drive away. I was trying to be careful on mine but yet racing as hard as I could against the fence there. I held him off as long as I could and he finally slipped by me. He had a little better car there at the end.”

IT SEEMED LIKE TRACK POSITION WAS PRETTY BIG TODAY. DID TIRES MEAN LESS HERE THEN THEY USED TO MEAN?  “Everybody watches the Nationwide race and you kinda saw what happened there on tires. New tires just didn’t make you much faster. That one time we pitted under green, I can’t remember the exact lap times he was telling us, but it was the run we were running pretty good and got up there around Brad right as he pitted. I think our last lap before we pitted was still in the 16’s, like a 90 or something. I think came out on new tires and only could run 60’s and that was on cold, new tires. It didn’t seem like new tires were as big an advantage as you thought.”

THEY WERE REALLY DEBATING WHICH LANE TO PICK ON THAT LAST RESTART. WOULD IT HAD MADE A DIFFERENCE?  “Yeah, he screwed that up. He should have started on the bottom for me. Unfortunately he didn’t. I don’t know. I couldn’t run on the bottom and Brad was really strong on the bottom of one and two. It was weird. Most cars as they get 20 or 30 laps on their tires they all run fairly high. Brad, if he wanted to, could run right across the apron in one and two. He’d run the top of three and four and we would break even. I was thinking I could run outside of him but he would roll through there so fast you could never get a run on him. I think he liked the bottom of one and two but I could never get around on the bottom of one and two so that was the right thing to do, to start on the top and leave me on the bottom, for him.”

THE RESTARTS, WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE? DID YOU BEAT HIM TO THE LINE OR WHAT?  “Well, I knew it was close, but here is the thing. When you get to the second line they say that the race is on. I knew we took off a little early, quarter throttle, and I am waiting for him and NASCAR has the data so they can look at it which is kinda cool. I didn’t even floor it until we got to the start-finish line. I don’t know if he was trying to let me beat him on purpose or what was going on. I was half-throttle for probably five car lengths. Finally I had to go or Martin or whoever was behind me was going to drive around me. I was way past that second line and we still weren’t wide open. I think he was just playing a little game trying to get me out there so I had to drill the brakes and brake-check everybody and go right by me. I just watched him and tried to get to the line just barely behind him.”

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