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Tag:Matt Kenseth
Posted on: March 2, 2012 2:36 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 2:43 pm
 

Drivers mixed on tweeting and devices in race

By Pete Pistone


Daytona
(Monday night's red flag at Daytona gave drivers a chance to releax and for some tweet - Getty)

Brad Keselowski’s
Twitter session during the red flag at last week’s Daytona 500 has sparked some interesting discussion throughout the NASCAR world. 

Some drivers think the interaction through social media is something that will greatly benefit the sport in terms of popularity. Others aren’t so sure that any kind of tweeting or social media initiatives during a race are over the line. 

Still others are concerned about the use of digital recording devices the smart phones being inside the cockpit of a racecar throwing off the competitive nature of the sport.

Let’s face it today’s cellphone can do so much more than simply calling home to check on the family or ordering a pizza for dinner. The mini-computers could easily find their way into mapping systems or other telemetry to give an enterprising crew chief or driver a high tech edge. 

Several drivers weighed in on the subject during their media availability on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.


KEVIN HARVICK

“Well, to be honest with you I had no idea that was something that would even remotely come into play as far as keeping your phone in your car during a race. But I guess if you’re going to keep up with that side of it, you’re going to have to. I’m going to look for every app I can for mile-per-hour, GPS mapping, and anything I can find to put in my car. I’m looking for it because I’m looking to outlaw this rule as fast as I can because I don’t want to have to keep up with it.”

DENNY HAMLIN

No, not during a race situation. I mean, I don’t know. Where does it end? What do you do? Do you then text or Tweet during cautions and then you look up and run into the guy behind you. I don’t know. When does it -- you’ve got to have -- there's certain parameters that I guess we’ve got to all play in, but I don’t know if I'm thinking about winning the race, I’m not thinking about social media when I’m under that green flag or yellow flag or any of those conditions. So, I think it’s just different people see things important differently.”

MATT KENSETH

“I thought that was neat that it worked out where Brad was able to do that honestly. I haven’t gotten to see the whole telecast yet. I saw the last 40 laps this morning, or whatever it was after the fire. That is all that was on my recorder in the motor home. I didn’t see the rest of the race and all that went on. I know it was entertaining for the fans and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I never knew we could carry our phones in the car, not that I am going to start, especially when you aren’t supposed to have communication with other drivers and all that any more. I am not sure about all that and having that in the car, but I think that certainly during a red flag when you have two hours off I don’t think there is anything wrong with tweeting and filling some air time and doing all that. They had a lot of airtime to fill between Sunday pre-race and when we finally got the race over Tuesday morning. I thought it was neat.

JEFF GORDON

I think that the social media aspect of it I thought was great for the sport, great for Brad (Keselowski) and from that side of it; I think that it’s awesome that NASCAR is really being that lenient.  I think that the technology of phones these days is growing rapidly that there could be some things that NASCAR might need to pay attention to that might need to keep the phones out of the car.” 

 
More NASCAR coverage
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:06 pm
 

Video: Matt Kenseth on Inside NASCAR

Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth reflects on his victory, Danica Patrick's wild week and his forays into the Twitter universe.



More NASCAR coverage
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 1:10 pm
 

Matt Kenseth hopes Daytona jumps starts season

By Pete Pistone

AUDIO: MATT KENSETH ON SIRIUS/XM NASCAR RADIO

Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth is counting on his win in the biggest race of the season to propel him to even better things this 2012 Sprint Cup Series campaign.

Kenseth told SIRIUS/XM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" program he's also hoping for better things this time around after winning "The Great American Race" when he followed that with another win the next week in Fontana, only to miss the Chase.

Kenseth is on a whirlwind media blitz this week that will see him fly to New York, Dallas (where he'll take part in a ceremony at tonight's Dallas Mavericks game) and then Los Angeles before finally settling in Phoenix, where the Cup Series competes this weekend.

 
Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:49 am
 

Kenseth: I wasn't expecting to win when I woke up

Posted by Brian De Los Santos



Post-race press conference with Daytona 500 winner Matth Kenseth and car owner Jack Roush.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN THE 2012 DAYTONA 500?  

Kenseth: “It feels great. We even went overtime a little bit since we didn’t quite go the whole distance the first time we won it. We had a really fast car all day and overcame a lot of adversity and problems with the car that we figured out. We had a great pit stop at the end that put us into position. It feels great. I wasn’t expecting to win when I woke up this morning so it feels good to be sitting here.”

Roush: “It feels great. It is very fitting that Matt won the 300th victory that we have had since we started in 1988 and Jimmy Fennig has been with us for most of the time and Matt has been here most of the time as well. It is great to celebrate our 300th win here with the 54th Daytona 500. This is Matt’s second 500 win and that makes it special as well.”

AT THE VERY END OF THE RACE IT SEEMED LIKE BIFFLE MIGHT TAKE A RUN AT YOU OR EARNHARDT, BUT IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A CAR THAT WAS A LITTLE BETTER THAN THEIRS. IS THAT ACCURATE OR WAS IT JUST BETTER STRATEGY?  

Kenseth: “I think the 16 had one of the strongest cars all week and ours was right there as well. Our car for some reason was a lot faster out front than it was in traffic. It took a long time to get to the front but like Thursday once we were in the front it was hard for anyone to get locked on to you. My car was one of the faster cars and it was hard for the other cars to stay locked on to me. I learned a little on Thursday at the last couple laps there of what to do and what not to do and what this car liked. We had enough speed and once we took the white I felt sort of okay about it. By the time I got to three and saw they couldn’t get enough speed mustered up to try to make it move. The car had a lot of speed and Doug Yates and those guys deserve a lot of credit. They did a great job on the engine and it really restarted good and that was the key for all those restarts at the end.”  

PROFESSIONALLY YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH A LOT SINCE YOUR LAST DAYTONA 500 WIN. DOES THAT MAKE THIS MEAN MORE HAVING TO GO THROUGH THAT?  

Kenseth: “Yeah, last year was a great year for us and I think we went almost two years without a win or something like that. Last year was a really special year and I really, still to this moment, feel like I let these guys down in the Chase. I feel we ran good enough in the Chase performance wise and as far as what the team gave me to use and what Jimmy did and the pit crew did to race for a championship. We were able to win a few races along the way and in position to win a few more that we didn’t win. Last year was a great year for us. I think it built a lot of confidence and it really made me feel good and be happy. I was hoping to come into this season strong. You never expect to come down here and win but I didn’t expect to be as strong as we were down here. I am real anxious to get to the next few tracks and see how we are.”

DID YOU EVER ANTICIPATE WITH ALL THE CHANGES IN THE OFFSEASON THAT YOU WOULD COME TO SPEED WEEKS AND HAVE THE SUCCESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING NOW?  

Roush: “The testing results over the winter were very encouraging. We brought better Ford Fusions here than we have ever had before with more power in the engine relatively speaking than we have had. Doug and the guys in the engine shop did, like Matt said, a really super job. I was more nervous about the durability of all the components that were unknown in the fuel injection than I was about whether we would be competitive. We had a fuel pressure problem we have to address in three of our cars tonight. Happily it wasn’t catastrophic and didn’t cause them to drop out. I was more worried about the unknowns than what I knew about what we were able to bring. The reduction from four teams to three was sad and we lost a lot of good people but we have got a lot of great people that remain on our programs and I was sure our three programs would be as strong as the three would have been in the other circumstance but we will look forward to finding the sponsorship to get the 6 car going again and hopefully get it on track before the end of the year.”  

WITH TWO DAYTONA 500 WINS AND A CHAMPIONSHIP, WHERE DOES THAT PUT MATT KENSETH IN YOUR TEAMS HISTORY AND IN NASCAR HISTORY?  

Roush: “Matt and Greg Biffle, they kind of duke it out trying to figure out which one has been here the longest, who has the seniority and I don’t think they are in an argument over who is the oldest but for Matt to have the success or Greg to have had the success of bringing the 300th win would have been fitting but tonight Matt had the best car and Greg was unselfish and worked with him and they pulled it off together.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEATING GREG TO THE LINE AND HAVING HIS SUPPORT WHEN IT COUNTED HERE? ALSO HOW MUCH WAS YOUR PATIENCE TESTED OVER THE COURSE OF THE WEEK?  

Kenseth: “My patience was tested a lot. It is almost two o’clock in the morning. We have been here almost two weeks like a lot of you guys have as well. Greg, if he could have passed me on the last lap or with two laps to go he certainly would have. We had a pretty good plan on restarts to work together to help both of us get to first and second and get in line. Our cars were strong on the bottom when we got in line like that. It was a combination of working together and helping each other and it was best for both of us to get the best position we could get.”  

CAN YOU COMPARE THIS DAYTONA 500 VICTORY WITH THE LAST ONE? WAS THERE MORE VINDICATION TO WIN THIS WAY AND PUT A STAMP ON IT?

Kenseth: “Well, yes and no. The last one, a lot was written about it and it was rain shortened and all that but we all knew it was going to rain. We did a lot that day. We charged to the front and had one of the better cars and was able to make the pass right before it rained which was good timing but I felt like we had a fast car and didn’t luck into that. I thought we worked hard for that. It is nice to go the whole distance and survive a green-white-checkered because you don’t know what is going to happen on speedway races.”  

IT SOUNDED LIKE GREG AND DALE WERE SHOCKED THEY COULDN’T GET TO YOU AT THE END. WHAT WAS THE SECRET?  

Kenseth: “If there was something do you think I would tell you? You know, our car was fast, even on the restarts when Junior tried to push me I tried to give him air and stay with him but he just couldn’t quite keep up and stay attached to us. We had to make other moves to keep my momentum up. I think when you come to plate racing a huge percentage of it is the car and how fast the car is. I think Thursday was really good for us because we learned something the last few laps that helped a little bit tonight.”

DO YOU FEEL CHEATED ABOUT DOING LESS MEDIA THIS WEEK?  DO YOU CARE ABOUT THAT?  

Kenseth: “I don’t mind doing it, but, yeah, that doesn’t bother me too much (laughing).  It’s a busy few days.  I’m sure they’ve got a lot of things planned.  The last time I had a great time, Katie and I had a great time, and got to do a lot of neat things and see a lot of cool places, so I don’t really have any idea what they have in store for me this week.”  

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE FIRE ON THE BACKSTRETCH?  

Kenseth: “I honestly didn’t see what happened.  I heard second-hand accounts of it, but I didn’t see what happened so these guys will have to answer that or what they were working on the track early.”

Roush: “It was pretty amazing that Juan Pablo’s car broke just at the right time to create a trajectory that took him into the jet dryer.  I still don’t know what happened to his engine.  I saw the engine was missing when they loaded the car on the rollback.  I thought it would roll out on the ground or it would be leaving after they moved the dryer, but I don’t know where it went.  It was amazing that NASCAR was able to have enough Tide and to have enough oil dry and they had people trained and were really able to save the race track.  I thought surely that the race track would be damaged and impacted to the point that it wouldn’t be suitable for continuing the race, but the NASCAR crew and the management did a great job of saving the race track and having a race for the fans.  I was actually thinking that if they didn’t go back that rather than get involved in a wreck that I felt surely was gonna happen at the front that having Matt finish fifth wouldn’t have been too bad, but I’m glad they got it going.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE WAVE OF EMOTIONS YOU’VE GONE THROUGH THIS LAST MONTH AND HAVING IT CULMINATE IN THIS WIN?  

Kenseth: “It’s been kind of a tough winter, so it feels good to get back to the race track and be able to just get down here and race really and see the guys and get to run, but to be able to win the 150 and to win the 500 as well is certainly a lot more than I would have expected or really thought we were gonna do, so it’s always special to win races.  It’s really hard to win these races and the older you get and the more you race you realize how hard it is and you really try to enjoy all those moments.”  

IF THE TRACK HAD BEEN DAMAGED WOULD YOU HAVE FELT CHEATED BECAUSE YOU LED SO MANY LAPS?  

Kenseth: “Yeah.  I mean, sitting there you for sure want to go back racing because we just came off pit road first after all those other guys were gonna have to pit and you want to go back racing, but yet Blaney was leading and we were gonna finish fifth.  It could have been worse than that and, like Jack was saying, you go back to green and feel like you almost have as good a chance at getting in a wreck as you do having a shot at the win, so in hindsight, of course, I’m glad we went racing and did all that, but it could have been worse where we were.  We were still in a pretty nice position.”  

WAS THERE ANY TREPIDATION THE FIRST TIME YOU WENT OVER THE PATCHED AREA?  

Kenseth: “It was far enough back in the corner where it wasn’t too bad.  The bottom was totally fine.  The middle and I didn’t get up much higher than the middle, but when you drove through the middle you could hear gravel, so I was not wanting to be pushed real hard through that spot.  But I was able to run the bottom almost the whole time and there was really no issue at all on the bottom, and it was a very narrow patch as well.”  

DALE EARNHARDT HAD A BOAT CALLED ‘SUNDAY MONEY’.  WILL YOU BUY A BOAT AND CALL IT ‘MONDAY MONEY?’  

Kenseth: “I’m not a boat guy, so no, but that’s a good name.”


Daytona Speedweeks
Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:38 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 3:20 am
 

Speed Read: Daytona 500

By Pete Pistone



  Matt Kenseth, Driver Of The #17 Best Buy Ford, Poses
(Kenseth celebrated his second career Daytona 500 win to cap a wild night - Getty Images)

COMPLETE DAYTONA 500 RESULTS


The 24 Hours of Daytona is annually held in January.

It only felt like it was part of this week’s stock car portion of Speedweeks in Daytona.

A first-time rain out in its 54 year history and a bizarre fire that halted the race for more than two hours were just part of wackiness in this year’s running of “The Great American Race.”

The off-season controversy of whether tandem racing or pack drafting would be the order of the day in the wake of NASCAR’s many rule changes took a back seat to a race filled with weirdness, crashes and in the end a second time winner.

Matt Kenseth held off – or some believe was pushed by – teammate Greg Biffle to score Daytona 500 victory number two, a follow-up to his 2009 rain-abbreviated trip to victory lane.

“I could get a pretty good start on the bottom and either Denny or Dale Jr. could push me for awhile and then they just couldn’t stay attached and I would get away from them just in time to get in front of Greg and the two of us together could make some unbelievable speed,” Kenseth said. “I have to thank Greg. We worked together really good all day long. He had a really fast car all day as well.” 

Kenseth had to overcome troubles of his own including a busted radio that wouldn’t allow him to communicate with his own crew.

But the dry Wisconsin native actually believes that may have been beneficial.

“We had a lot of problems and almost ended up a lap down,” he said. “I had my radio break and my tach break and we pushed all the water out and had to come in and put water in it. These guys did a great job. They never panicked and I think they enjoyed their day more because they couldn’t hear me on the radio with my radio problems.”

However when historians looks back at the 2012 Daytona 500 it won’t be Kenseth’s wit, radio problems, assistance from his teammate or adding another Harley J. Earl trophy to his collection they’ll remember.

No this year’s Daytona 500 will go down in history as the one with fire and rain, when NASCAR held its biggest race on a Monday night in prime time thanks to Mother Nature.

All that was missing was a full moon

 

RISERS

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kicked off his 2012 with a second place finish, a far cry from when a cut tire ruined his Daytona 500 of a year ago. Earnhardt said all week long how much more comfortable he was in the old pack style of racing at Daytona and it showed. Came within a position of finally ending his long winless drought but added to his already solid confidence level.

Denny Hamlin

His first outing with new crew chief Darian Grubb resulted in a Top 5 finish and had to provide the Joe Gibbs Racing driver with a much-needed shot of confidence. Hamlin desperately needs to put last year’s disappointing season behind as quickly as possible and his Daytona effort is a big help in that department.

Paul Menard

He was involved in two crashes this week and ripped NASCAR for manipulating the rules to bring back pack drafting. But Menard recovered from those earlier altercations to notch a solid Top 10 finish, one of three Richard Childress Racing entries to do so.


FALLERS

Jimmie Johnson

The quest to get back to the top of the Sprint Cup point standings and start a new championship winning streak got off to a rocky start. First the 48 car failed pre-race inspection and crew chief Chad Knaus faces a possible suspension later this week. Then Johnson crashed on only the second lap of the race sweeping up several others in the melee that has put the five-time champ in a pretty big hole with only one race in the book.

Danica Patrick

Her much-anticipated first full season in NASCAR began with three different crashes, although none of her own doing. Patrick was clipped by other cars in her Gatorade Duel accident, turned by teammate Cole Whitt in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race wreck and then clipped by Johnson in the lap two Daytona 500 pile-up. Her mettle will be tested early and it may be a relief for Patrick to simply have her Nationwide program to concentrate on for the next few weeks.

Kurt Busch

The new phase of his career ultimately ended up with a poor finish and another crash for Busch, an unfortunate similar fate experienced earlier in the week. Busch showed perseverance in finishing the race for the Phoenix Racing team despite being several laps down but one of his best chances to perform well – at a restrictor plate track – went by the wayside and the reality of the grueling Cup schedule is now about to set in.


RADIO WAVES

(Choice comments and communications from drivers and crew chiefs)

"The thing that comes in my mind is NASCAR just can't catch a break. We've had some unfortunate things happen." – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"They're going to wreck again." – Carl Edwards

"It burned the helmet and everything." – Juan Pablo Montoya after his fiery crash with a jet dryer

“That's the Tasmanian Devil! Mr. Ambrose got him." – Crew Chief Steve Letarte pointing out who spun out Terry Labonte

RACE RATING

On a scale of one to five "Pistone Pistons" I'll give Monday night’s Daytona 500 a three. There are things out of even NASCAR’s control with weather and fire certainly near the top of the list. Not much anyone can do when Mother Nature decides to intervene and there isn’t a person on earth who could have predicted the bizarre fire scene between Juan Pablo Montoya and the jet dryer. As for the racing itself, it pretty much lived up to what was expected since Speedweeks began with a combo of tandem racing, single file competition and a mad dash to the checkered flag. Unfortunately I’m not sure any of that will erase the memory of a rain-delayed race that took more than six hours to finish on a Monday night and saw two teammates not really challenge one another for the win as they raced to the finish line.

DOWN THE ROAD

After one of the longest and most bizarre Speedweeks in history the Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway to begin what many believe is the real season. Last fall PIR hosted its first race on the newly reconfigured and repaved one-mile speedway and produced an exciting event that has drivers anxious to get back to the desert oval. No matter what happens at PIR, it will have to go a long way to beat the Daytona opener.

 

Daytona Speedweeks



Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:05 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:37 am
 

Matt Kenseth and team post Duel comments



Posted by Pete Pistone


Jimmy, talk about the 17 car, certainly what a super move there at the end of that race to overcome your teammate Greg Biffle.

JIMMY FENNIG:  Yeah, I mean, it was a good move by Matt, and Jimmie Johnson kind of set Greg up.  Little bit of a sitting duck there.  Them guys got hooked up and he took it to Victory Lane from there.  Good move.  Very good move.

KERRY THARP:  Jack, you're sitting on the pole.  You have Matt that's going to be up near the front, Greg Biffle.  All your cars are going to be right up at the front for the Daytona 500.  Congratulations.  Great performance today for the 17 Best Buy Ford.

JACK ROUSH:  Thanks, Kerry.  Painfully it's been brought to my attention this is this the first Duel we've won in 25 years.  I'm certainly embarrassed about that.

We had really strong Fords today.  Doug and the guys, Tom Ghent did a great job with the engines.  The engines qualified well.  Of course, they draft well.  They do at least average in keeping water in the cooling system.

But Matt did a super job.  Matt likes to hang around the front of these fields, not everybody agrees with that.  But Matt likes to be hanging around the front of the field.  It paid a dividend today.

He did a great job.  Wouldn't have won the race unless somebody helped him.  Jimmie Johnson decided he'd rather be close to Matt than get shuffled back.  Whatever the reason was, the win was primarily attributable to the fact he had somebody helping him because the difference in the speed of the cars is not as great as the difference in the cars being hooked upped and not going hooked up.

Matt always does a good job.  The guys worked hard all winter and Jimmy is the man.

KERRY THARP:  We'll take questions, please.

Q.  Jack, could you speak to the engine temperatures you saw in your cars today and any suggestions you might give to NASCAR to alleviate it.

JACK ROUSH:  I hoped to have the engines that have the most tolerance for temperature in the field.  Doesn't matter what the temperature.  The FR-9 engine has proven to be at least average.  I've heard reports of 270 degrees.  I don't know if that's real or if it was sustained.  I haven't looked at the data yet.  When we get back to the engineering center, we'll be able to look our data over now that we have our data acquisition up with the fuel injection.

I think that 270 degrees was probably a real number and that some people were able to hold their water at 270 and some aren't.

Q.  Jack, after going through the Shootout and the Duels, has NASCAR's decision to eliminate in-car communications had any practical effect on the racing?

JACK ROUSH:  If you're not in pairs of two-by-two for most of the race, I think it doesn't matter.  If you're able to set up a partnership, as a driver, with another driver, I think there's a great benefit to it 'cause once you have that done, you can have one spotter coordinating things and the drivers can communicate with each other when they need to.

I think you'll see in the 500 -- I don't think you'll see as much two-car drafting as we saw in the previous race or two, but I think there will be some when it comes time to close the deal at the end of the race.

KERRY THARP:  Joining us now is our winning driver, who won the No. 17 Best Buy Ford, Matt Kenseth.

Certainly a terrific finish, quite the move you put on there at the end of the race.  Talk about that performance and then also talk about your mindset as you look to try to get your second Daytona 500 victory.

MATT KENSETH:  Thanks.  I feel a lot better today than we did Sunday morning I guess or after Saturday night.  We had a lot of speed in our car when we got out front early.  I could tell we had a really fast car.  I had to figure out where to put it, who to be with, how to try to get people to help you, all that.

Early on, Jimmie, I saw him on the outside, he was able to push us up to the front.  We were able to stay up there for quite a while in the beginning together, then he got around me.  When I saw him on the outside of the end, I decided that was my best shot for the win.  I tried to get under one of the guys in front of me, still have one in front of me.  Just kind of backed up to his bumper and he stayed right with me, kept shoving me all the way in there.

KERRY THARP:  We'll go back to questions.

Q. Jack, did you figure you were going to be in here with Biffle or were you worried because he was in front that you weren't coming in here at all?

JACK ROUSH:  To be leading the race as much as Greg did kind of sets you up to be a sitting duck.  I had a sense of foreboding that he probably wouldn't be there.  But I had hoped that he would.

Certainly the fact that the thing strung out a little bit gave me hope.  It would have been unusual for there not to be a challenge from two cars.  I'm just happy that Matt was in front of Jimmie instead of Jimmie in front of Matt.

Q.  Matt, that was a great move on the swing to the inside on Biffle.  Were you surprised that Biffle went up high like he did?

MATT KENSETH:  Well, we were going so much faster that we were going to go by him regardless.  I think that was his only hope, is to try to get up the track, try to line my front bumper up where I had to push him.  The problem was, I was going too fast.  Even if I wanted to slow down, which I didn't want to on the last lap, I couldn't have.

Jimmie was pushing me so hard.  We were locked together.  I know Jimmie can't see what's going on up there.  I had no other choice.  Wherever he went I was just going to go the opposite way.

Just thankful that when he did do that block, that Jimmie was able to be clear, because when I turned down to the bottom, if Jimmie couldn't have squeezed up through there in the middle, I would have lost the seal right there, we would have been history.  But luckily we were able to stay together and get clear of them guys.

Q.  Matt, a relatively calm race.  Do you expect that to be the norm for Sunday or do you expect the nerves to get into people?

MATT KENSETH:  I think you'll see a little mixture of everything.  Hopefully we'll see more like we saw in the second race.  It was warm out there.  There was a little bit of handling that came into play.  It was a lot harder to get from the back to the front than I expected.  When I was able to get up to Greg to the lead there, he worked his way to the bottom.  I was the only one on the top.  We dropped back quite a ways.  I think that was before the pit stop.  We came in, Jimmy made a great call of no tires.  Otherwise I don't think we would have got back to the front.  It was tough to work your way all the way back to the front.

There's going to be more cars out there obviously in the 500.  There will be bigger hole.  The rear cars will have bigger runs and going faster and that will create more passing.  I think you're going to kind of see a mixture.  Hopefully we see more of what we saw today, at least from my standpoint.

Q.  Matt, you've raced now in two different races.  Essentially Saturday seemed to be a lot more chaotic than today.  Was there anything you took away from one race or the other that will help you?  You were talking about cutting through the air.  Since you have raced in two different forms of racing, what have you taken away from it and how are you going to plan it on Sunday?

MATT KENSETH:  I think the biggest difference from Saturday to today, there's a couple things, the track conditions are fairly different.  It was cool on Saturday, it was dark.  The engines ran cooler, you could push longer.  It was the first race of the season, the first race with these rules.  I think a lot of people were feeling different things out.  I think even the guys that weren't in the race that got to watch on TV learned a lot.  When you get on somebody's left rear, you're going to spin them out.

I think you learned where the big run was, where you can push people, where you can't, what information you want from your spotter.  I think a lot of people watched that race, and the people that were in it that wrecked probably learned a lot it from as well.  I think that probably played a little bit into today.

Q.  What kind of engine temperatures did you see?  Did it affect the way you were able to race?

MATT KENSETH:  210.  I'm just kidding (smiling).  I thought Jack was going to punch me if I said how hot it was.

I didn't watch the gauge.  I watched if water was coming out.  So you really watch that more than anything.  Like at the end, I'm sure Jimmie's car was hot pushing me.  After you take the white, the race isn't going to be restarted.  It doesn't matter from a driver's perspective, you're going to get all the speed you can out of it.

Probably was warmer and lost a little more water than what I would have liked.  I think it's going to be a little cooler Sunday.

The only other a little bit of concern from my standpoint, especially being in the back, if you get a little bit of trash on the grill, there's not a lot of room for error there.  But it was okay.

Q.  It's hard probably to rank victories, but can you put this one in perspective?  Could you also expound on what happened when you pushed Greg to the front and then dropped to 13th.

MATT KENSETH:  It's always really fun to win, no matter what kind of race it is.  Obviously half the field, it's not a points race, so it's not like winning the Daytona 500 or Phoenix or something.  But it's still a big win for us.  We've never been able to win one of these races down here, Shootouts or 150s.  We've been trying for a long time so it feels good to have everything go right, have everything line up and be able to win that race.  It feels good.  You feel a lot more confident than what you do after having a bad race like Saturday where you get wrecked.

With Greg, he got back there and I started pushing him.  We got locked together real good.  I was going to push him all the way to the lead.  I was going to get too hot.  The guy who was leading kind of pulled me off of Greg a little bit.  Greg had the momentum.  He just pulled to the bottom.  I think he thinks we were probably going to go to the back.  We needed to stay sealed up pushing each other for another 15 feet so we could have both cleared.

As soon as he got clear, he separated, pulled in line.  Kind of left me by myself.  I had a slow journey from second to 13th.  Took the day to get back in there.

Even if he would have stayed out there, I don't know that we would have got 'em.  That's your job as a driver.  Got up to the lead, had a chance to get down in there and win the race.  That's what you're supposed to do, take that spot.

Q.  Matt, after Tony Stewart won the first qualifier, he said he liked showing strength during this race because it's important to show that you have a strong car.  Do you agree with that?  Do you feel you and Greg and the Fords showed a lot today that maybe you'll have people working with you Sunday?

MATT KENSETH:  I agree with him, it is important.  I also think you want to try to -- you always want to do your best, but you want to try to do your best in this race, be loyal to a guy that's helping you, not make anybody mad, be erratic, hang somebody out too bad. Also for the people watching, I don't want to do that, I'm going to push him to that spot, he's going to leave me sitting.

Obviously, having a fast car makes my job a lot easier.  I thought from working with Jimmie early in the race, helping him get up there, him helping me get up there, probably helped us there a little bit hopefully.

Q.  Matt, certainly you guys will have Tony surrounded, Roush Fenway drivers will occupy three of the top four starting spots.  Does that loyalty extend to your teammates when it comes down to push to shove?  Will you link up and try to pull away early?

MATT KENSETH:  I don't know that you're going to be able to do that.  You're not going to want to do a lot of pushing early in the race, push water out of the car, get hot.  At least there probably won't be for me.

Certainly I think you race all day.  You just race to try to have yourself in the best position.  Like always, you're going to try the best you can to take care of your teammates as good as you can.  Obviously, if it's multiple choice at the end, you're going to get the same answer for yourself.  Obviously you're going to go with a teammate instead of going somewhere else when it comes down to the end of the race.

I think the first 480 miles is going to be about trying to get in the best position you can, try to hold the best track position you can, hopefully find a safe spot where you can keep your car cool and be away from any trouble.

Q.  Jack, after a day like today, do you have any words of advice or encouragement for Greg?

JACK ROUSH:  Greg did it right today.  He was just in a situation where he couldn't stop a run that was coming at him.  By being out front, he kept himself out of harm's way all day.  That was certainly a good strategy.

Just see what happens at the end.  If things had broken a little bit differently, it could have been more of a foot race than it was between Greg and Matt.  But, you know, you're going to lead this thing if you can.  You're not going to fall back to fifth and sixth and take a chance on getting caught in the middle or getting shuffled.  Take what you get.

Q.  Matt, was the fact that Johnson went with you just coincidence?  You seem to have a history of racing each other hard but racing each other with a lot of respect.  Did that have anything to do with it or was it a split-second deal?

MATT KENSETH:  I mean, it's not like we made a deal before the race or anything like that.

But I think, you know, first you're going to try to do whatever you can to get the best finish for yourself.  Early in the race, when we pushed each other, got me to the front, ended up passing me, got in good position, stayed there the whole time.  He moved out to the outside, didn't really have a run.  I was guessing that's what he wanted.  If you're the first one in that row, you're going to be the first one to pass the leader in you're in front of him.

I really thought we'd stay attached and he'd push me to the front and probably pass me off of four like Kyle did Saturday.  Somehow I think when Greg went up to block, we went underneath him, somewhere shortly after that, we came unattached.  I'm not sure what happened to everybody without watching it.  It looked like they were at least three-wide behind me.  I was way out there.  Thankfully then to get the team back up and run me back down.  But I don't know.  Somehow we came out attached there.  But that's what I expected to happen after watching Saturday's race.

Q.  Jack, several other drivers in here said the water temperatures were enough to make them concerned, they wanted a bigger grill opening, more this, more that.  I get the impressions you are satisfied you have that particular area covered.  If Mike Helton comes to you and said, We're thinking about doing this, what are you going to suggest to him?

JACK ROUSH:  The reason they went to the lower pressure cap and smaller openings is because they said they didn't want the cars to stay together.  As anxious as I am to be on NASCAR's good side, I don't want to be the guy that raises my hand and says, We're going stick these guys together by increasing the pressure cap or opening the radiator up or shortening the tail, whatever they made changes to.

Whatever they do is fine.  It's the same for everybody.  I hope it's not a lot different than what we had today.  Today was a good dry run for what we had on Sunday.  I'd like for the things that we learned today, that Matt, Greg and Ricky learned today, I would hope that those things - and Carl - I would hope that those things come into play on Sunday and we don't have a huge change in rules.
 

Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:15 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 2:59 pm
 

First Wednesday Daytona practice to Matt Kenseth

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA 500 PRACTICE THREE

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Ford continued its stanglehold of the Daytona 500 speed charts Wednesday with Matt Kenseth leading the way in the opening session of the day.

Kenseth turned a lap of 200.853 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Fusion. His RFR teammate Greg Biffle led both of Saturday's practice sessions while Carl Edwards won the pole for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Defending Daytona 500 Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Marcos Ambrose followed Kenseth on the charts to give Ford a sweep of the top four times.

Mark Martin in a Toyota rounded out the top five.

A second practice session is slated for Wednesday afternoon, the final tune-up before Thursday's Gaotrade Duels.

 
Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:36 pm
 

Media tour misses key personalities

By Pete Pistone

CHARLOTTE - Not everyone was on hand during this week's annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte.

Several key drivers and team owners were absent due to a variety of reasons.

Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth weren't present during their team's function. Edwards was out of the country at a pre-planned vacation while Kenseth missed the proceedings due to a family emergency.

Team owner Richard Childress was missing from the trek to his headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina out of a sponsor-related fishing trip.

But Kasey Kahne might have had the best reason to miss the tour as he was fulfilling his civic obligation serving on jurt duty.

“We’re really excited to have Kasey Kahne join our organization,” said Rick Hendrick. “They (Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis) fit in like a glove and we’re really excited to have them added to our organization.”

Naturally, Kahne was the target for a few friendly jokes during the proceedings by his new Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

“For anybody that questions the privileges that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers get along the way and the celebrity that we may have, I think Kasey Kahne is a perfect example,” Gordon said. “Not being able to get out of jury duty is where we stand.” 

 
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