Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:40 am
Posted by Pete Pistone
Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, David Ragan and Landon Cassill decided to try going four-wide at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday's Brickyard 400 with less than stellar results:
Posted on: July 29, 2011 3:22 pm
Posted by Pete Pistone
Matt Kenseth put his Roush Fenway Racing Ford on top of the speed charts in Friday's first practice session for Sunday's Brickyard 400:
Brickyard 400 Practice One
Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:41 pm
Posted by Pete Pistone
Crown Royal announced its would cease its sponsorship of Matt Kenseth's Sprint Cup car after the 2011 season. But the company does not appear to be sour on NASCAR by any means. Crown will continue to sponsor the annual spring Richmond race and the Indiana Business Journal is reporting a title sponsorship of the Brickyard 400 may also be on the horizon:
An unlikely match could give the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a new title sponsor for the Brickyard 400 and a seven-figure windfall starting next summer.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:15 am
By Pete Pistone
My father had a strict rule – don’t complain about a perceived problem unless you have a solution.
With all due respect to my dear departed father there is definitely a problem right now in NASCAR but I have no earthly idea on how to fix it.
Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was the latest example of what a mess restrictor plate racing has become. But short of tearing down the legendary Daytona and Talladega facilities there’s absolutely no answer on how to make things any different.
The combination of the next generation Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars with the new asphalt paving at the two biggest oval tracks on the schedule has given birth to a style of racing that is tough to warm up to.
There are some fans that actually like the two car tandems which have popped up in the last two years and enjoy watching two drivers run nose to tail as they rocket toward the front of the field.
Others despise the concept and long for the 30-car packs of cars stuck together in the draft that made for side-by-side racing from nearly start to finish.
Although the styles may differ the end result is basically they same – drivers have to draft with each other in order to stay in contention to win and once the checkered flag is in sight all hell breaks loose.
That was the same scenario that played out time and again at Daytona and Talladega before the two by two drafting arose in 2009. No doubt it will remain in place once the track surfaces wear out and the inevitable return of pack racing is the norm.
But tandem racing has created another issue for some fans who have seen the concept of teamwork go a bit too far for their liking.
One teammate pushing another rather than going for the win himself isn’t exactly selling the concept of what NASCAR racing is all about. However with the advent of pairs racing it’s impossible for one driver to go it alone so organizations have begun to dictate who shall push and who shall receive the benefit.
David Ragan could not have won last Saturday night without Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth literally pushing him across the finish line. Jimmie Johnson’s April win at Talladega would not have been possible unless Hendrick mate Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided the necessary push.
All well and fine for fans of Ragan and Johnson but Kenseth and Junior supporters weren’t too pleased with those plans.
These so-called team orders smack more of policies within Formula One racing than they do in NASCAR.
It’s certainly understandable why teams take such an approach. Kenseth already has two wins and seems assured a Chase berth so why not take advantage of the situation presented and help Ragan to victory lane, potentially pushing him to a Wild Card spot?
Even drivers tend to view the phenomenon differently depending on their vantage point.
For instance Kenseth was not a huge fan of two car drafting when he first got a taste earlier this year during Daytona’s Speedweeks.
“If you're the pusher, you can't see a thing and with going 207 miles an hour and pushing someone when you can't see, it's not a lot of fun," Kenseth said. "At the end there, I was the odd man out because I couldn't get with a group of two.
"Everybody was grouped up in twos, and if you can't get with one other car in a group, you're pretty much done and you're just gonna fall back."
However not surprisingly Kenseth saw things a bit differently last Saturday when he was able to assist Ragan to his first career checkered flag.
“Made it through the race unscathed,” Kenseth said with a smile of relief. “Made a plan with David, and we both did what it took to work, not necessarily for ourselves, but realizing that the two cars were like one car and we had to treat it like that.
“We both took care of each other's cars and the positions that we were in. We raced in front or in back of each other all night, every single lap of the whole race. Waited for each other after the pit stop. Did what it took to get the finish, so that feels good that the plan came together and worked out for us tonight.”
Fans and drivers will have one more chance to pick a side on this kind of racing and make a plan this season when the final plate race rolls around at Talladega come October.
There’s no reason to expect anything to be different than the first three restrictor plate affairs except for one small detail.
Talladega will be race number six of the Chase.
That could have a pretty big impact on teammates wanting to work together with one another.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:59 am
Posted by Pete Pistone
THE MODERATOR: Our post race for tonight's 53rd annual Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola here at Daytona International Speedway, our race runner-up is Matt Kenseth. He drives the No. 17, Affliction Clothing Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. Matt, certainly I know you made a trip by Victory Lane to congratulate your teammate David Ragan, but certainly great racing up front today by the Roush Fenway duo, you and him.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had really fast cars together, you know. It's almost like you're a team. You know what I mean? It's almost like two cars are one cars, so in a way I feel like we won. So that was good.
But our cars were really fast together. We got up front early and led. Kind of made a plan last week. Jimmy and Drew worked together to make a plan, and David and I talked a lot yesterday and today. We both got up there and got our bonus point. We both led. Kind of got shuffled out one time and went to the back and waited a little bit.
When we wanted to we were able to make a charge and get up the lead. Couple cautions went, and the green and white checkers mixed up the order a little bit. One time I was leading with three to four to go. And the way the restart worked it got him back in the lead and lined us up for the green and white checker.
It was a good night for us. I'm glad it worked out. The two speedway races have been a disaster so far this year, so I'm happy to not get wrecked tonight and finish second.
Q. At the end of the day or end of the night, I guess, what is the frustration factor, because this seems to be just a crazy, haphazard wild car that -- what happens at the end, obviously, with all the wrecks and everything?
MATT KENSETH: Well, for me I'm not frustrated at all. The first two speedway races we wrecked and finished -- I don't know where we finished, you guys probably know, probably high 30s or something. And those have been our big problems. We just couldn't get anything to work. Got destroyed in both of them.
So I'm not frustrated at all. I feel like one of the luckiest guys here. I guess the second luckiest guy here. Made it through the race unscathed. Made a plan with David, and we both did what it took to work, not necessarily for ourselves, but realizing that the two cars were like one car and we had to treat it like that.
We both took care of each other's cars and the positions that we were in. We raced in front or in back of each other all night, every single lap of the whole race. Waited for each other after the pit stop.
Did what it took to get the finish, so that feels good that the plan came together and worked out for us tonight.
Q. What would have had to have happened for you to have an opportunity to win short of your teammate faltering? Was there a move you could have made?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, the biggest thing is the 20 was too close. I mean, really the move I could have made -- coming through three and four, I believed the 29 was right on me, pushing me hard, while I was pushing David. If I wouldn't have had a car outside of me -- which I still did -- if I wouldn't have had a car outside of me, that would have been my chance to move outside and the 29 would have pushed me and I maybe could have made a run to the finish there.
But I think that was coming to the white, and really I think Joey was too close. I couldn't have made a move on David, one car on one car I don't think without Joey splitting us and winning the race. I figured he won since he spun me out last week. I figured he would have cut me a break tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Joining us now is Joey Logano. He finished third in tonight's race. He drives the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joey, certainly you had a good weekend here at Daytona. Won last night in the Nationwide Series, and certainly had a chance here tonight and finished third. Talk about that.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, really good weekend for us. Winning last night, and tonight had a good run. It's crazy out there, you know, you think we'd ride around for 350 miles, but we don't. We just keep going out there.
Me and Kyle were committed to each other from the beginning of the race. We worked good last night together, and we decided to just keep going with that. We did good. We didn't lead a ton of laps, but we ran hard where we needed to and just kind of stayed with the group all day.
There was a wreck there. Jeff Gordon and all that happened, and Kyle was put in the fence there and he wrecked, knocked his fender in, and cut his right front down, and I was alone, and Kasey Kahne was alone out there too.
So the restart there, me and Kasey hooked up with each other, the two lead group cars, which was David and Matt. And I don't even know who the other group was. I think it was the 31.
I was in the middle group, got back down, and the inside lane had a lot of cars lined up, and I was able to push that line ahead. We were able to do a good job side drafting and breaking up some other cars.
Getting in line third and fourth, you know, I was hoping we'd get a run down the back straightaway and these guys would try to go to the outside of three, and tried to pull them apart to win the race. Just couldn't get there.
It seemed that they got down the back straightaway, and I started forming a little bit of a run and I was just about to make my move, and we just pushed them ahead a little bit. It was enough to stay out there. David and Matt were loyal to each other all day. They were working with each other all day long, so you knew nothing was going to happen there at the checkered. They were going to work together to make sure one of them won the race.
I wish it was more exciting than that toward the checkered flag. But either way, it was still a really good race for us, and I'm sure it was entertaining for the fans.
Q. Matt, you've been with David Ragan ever since he's been with Roush. Can you describe what he's gone through and what this win should mean to him?
MATT KENSETH: Well, I mean, he'll have to tell you what the win means to him, but I've seen David mature a lot and learn a lot. When he came in here and started driving the 6 car, I don't know David's whole racing history, but he didn't have a lot of experience, especially driving big, heavy cars. He's had a couple of different crew chiefs and car chiefs and crews and groups until they found a good mix that worked really well with him. I don't know why it is like that, but you've got to get that right mix of people together. Get all them people working right together. It seems like he's got that right now.
They've had really fast cars all year. He's sat on at least one pole, maybe more. He's been the fastest in practice a lot. They've had really fast cars and you could kind of see it coming. So I think just getting the right group of guys together for him, and I think just getting more experience and learning.
Q. I've got two questions for you, Joey. David's a good friend of yours. We're going to make a lot about the redemption. What did he go through after the Daytona 500? I know you guys probably talked. And two, going back to last night with you, another good run, I guess you're excited now to be going to Kentucky where I figure you've got the most experience of anyone in the Cup series.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, as far as Kentucky, we have a lot of momentum going into there. So that is going to really help. You know never. You get different cars there, another year on the racetrack. Also the new Nationwide cars are going there for the first time. So you never know what's going to happen.
I feel like I know what I need to go faster, and I know what I need to do in practice to make sure my car's good. So hopefully all that stuff's still the same.
As far as David, David and I grew up together. Since I was 9 years old we've raced against each other. I went over to Victory Lane and congratulated him. He deserves it, for sure. I know how he felt after the 500 this year. I can only imagine how tough that's got to be, you know.
But he definitely redeemed himself today, so that's really cool for him. I know how cool it was last night winning here at Daytona, I couldn't imagine what it is one level up against the best of the best. That's got to be really awesome. So congratulations to him and the team. They really, really deserved it.
It's cool. His family's in there. Adam's in there. His whole deal, so it's really cool to see.
Q. Matt, were you just, was it in your mind that they were just going to stay behind David the whole way around those last two laps?
MATT KENSETH: Well, it depends on the circumstances. I thought that was going to be our chance for one of us to win. If we would have had a 20-car-length lead coming off four, I would have tried to figure out how to make a single car move and beat him to the line.
But when I saw Joey, Joey was too is close. If I would have made a move on David, Joey would have passed us both or we all would have wrecked or something. Something would have happened.
So when I came off four, and I looked to see where Joey was, I could see he had good speed. I could see he was being pushed. Me and David were on the same radio and I wasn't standing on the yellow line. I'm going to keep pushing you. I'm not going to leave you and try to pass you, because I knew that one of us weren't going to win.
So that was the plan to work as a team all night. It just so happened he was in front of them. Both of us were kind of unselfish all night, worked together really good, I thought. I was leading with three to four to go, and those were the circumstances. Restart that got him back in front, and I was fine with that too. We made a plan and we stuck to it. It worked well.
If the circumstances would have been different, like I said, if we would have had a big lead where I knew we wouldn't get passed, we were still going to finish first and second regardless and make a move to win the race.
Q. Joey, does anybody ask you about the Mark Martin deal? You saw when Mark pulled out in front of you, he said he was trying to hook up with you because he didn't have partners?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, you know, he started like that. I didn't have no friends and he didn't either. But I was going to try to shoot through that gap and see if someone could push me. You know, I had my nose in there. It's one of those deals towards the end of the race there. I probably could have backed off and let him get in there.
But I was all about that group in front of him was coming down across, too, so I was just going to shoot through there and see if we could find something.
That's just the racing deal. That could have gone either way. I probably could have done something to stay out of it and he could have stayed up. So it's just one of those deals. It's no one's fault, really. You know, just either one of us could have done something to avoid it.
Q. Given all day, it's been a tough road for David. He's struggled. This year he's been fast, the Daytona 500 happened where he pulled down and all that. Given all of that, what do you think this means to him to have this moment and have redemption from all of that?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I think it's got to be pretty big for him to win that race, stepping in the 6 car after Mark leaving and all that stuff isn't exactly probably the easiest job in the world. So it took a little while to find the group of guys that he seems to work the best with.
You know, ever since they kind of mixed that up and Drew got over there, and they switched some guys around, and their performance has really picked up. You could see it coming. I know it's at a speedway, but you could see it coming to other tracks too. He's been running better, and they've been faster in practice, they've been racing better and qualifying better.
They've been improving. It's really hard to win at this level. You can see that they've been, you know, improving along with the organization, so I'm happy for them to get that win, because he deserves it, like I say, especially after the 500 as well.
Q. You talked about this yesterday, but the last two weekends now, poles, finished at Sonoma, Nationwide win, here third place. I know people have asked you if you feel like things are turning around, but confidence certainly must be up?
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, for sure. I need something to turn around here. Recently it seems like everything's been going the wrong way. Ever since we got that pole last week and won the West race and had a good run there in Sonoma, coming here and getting a first and a third.
Going into Kentucky was a really good racetrack for us, at least we think it is. We'll see when we get there. But there is definitely a lot of momentum on my team side. Me, personally I needed a lot for self confidence, but it definitely helps out a lot with the team too. You know, not feeling as desperate out there in what we have to do. We definitely can relax out there and do what we need to do like we did last year.
Q. Matt and Joey, it was discussed early on after Carl's wreck that he didn't have a cool box, and didn't have a filter, I guess, for the carbon monoxide situation. I understand that caused some serious issues with him early on before they could repair the car. I know we talk at this time of the year about how important it is for you all to run the cool boxes to keep yourselves cool, but how important is it to have the scrubbers in the cool box to help with the carbon monoxide situation as well?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know. I bet you Cale Yarborough never had a cool box or a scrubber. I don't think it's that big of a deal on lap 20, not when you're in the shape Carl's in. He's in the best shape of anyone in the garage. He never runs a cool box, he runs a CO2 filter and a little air to his helmet. If that was part of the wreck, I'd be surprised. It could be.
Q. (Indiscernible) even know back in the day they didn't.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, it's like having air conditioning in your home. If you can have it, why wouldn't you? I like running it. I'm not nearly that tough. So I like to run it. I figure the more fresh you are and the better you feel at the end of the race, I feel like you do a better job. So you try to stay in shape, and stay cool and hydrated to be the best you can be at the end as well.
JOEY LOGANO: I agree with that. You can live without the AC. The filter may be something you want. These days you're trying to keep so much air out of the race cars that the stuff builds up. I've had a few friends of mine that run late models and stuff like that that don't run a blower in and they get carbon monoxide poisoning. It seems like it's a really bad deal. And I hear once you get it once, it's easier to get it over and over again.
I think you want the filter, for sure. But it's like he said, you know, Donnie Allison, and all those guys back in the day lived without it, so it must be all right.
MATT KENSETH: And they still had enough energy to fight afterwards, too.
JOEY LOGANO: Damn right. (Laughing).
JOEY LOGANO: I guess I can go over it again. Basically, it was on the restart. I was shooting on the center, and Mark was trying to come down in front of me. You know, as I said earlier, it could have gone either way. I could have backed off a little bit and let him in.
In the race I was wide open, I didn't care. And he was coming down across me. We were going to try to team up there if we were able to do that, but I was going to go in there guns blazing and see what the heck happened on the other side and try to find a partner once I got over there.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 3:10 pm
Posted by Pete Pistone
Matt Kenseth and Roush Fenway Racing are in the market for a new sponsor next season after Crown Royal announced it would not return to the No. 17 Sprint Cup Series entry next season.
The company released this statement on Tuesday:
Posted on: June 19, 2011 5:53 pm
Posted by Pete Pistone
KERRY THARP: Let's roll right into our post race press conference. Our race runner-up is Matt Kenseth. Currently sixth in points now after tonight's race.
Matt, certainly you gave it a heck of an effort there trying to come away with this win. Your thoughts about today?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had a really great car today. I'm happy that there was a caution and we didn't run out of gas and we got to race for the end. That was no fun running half throttle. It was nice to be able to go race, but unfortunately I didn't do a great job on the restart. I spun my tires, Denny saw me hanging back a little bit and took off. Once he's clear, it's really hard to pass, especially on a short run like that, the track gets black, it's all slimy with the new tires.
My car wasn't good on a short run. Took us about 10 laps. Didn't have enough to get around him once he cleared me there.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Matt.
Q. Your teammate, Carl Edwards, said something about the 2013 cars taking away downforce. I know Jack was talking about the new Mustang. What was he talking about?
MATT KENSETH: I'm right with you. I have no idea. I know nothing about the '13 car. That's not a lie. I know nothing about it.
Q. How frustrated were you today? Forced with fuel mileage.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I mean, you know, you try to not get too frustrated because it's a team effort, try not to make tons of mistakes. You try not to get too frustrated. At least the third time we haven't got a full fuel, fourth time, something like that. We recovered at Texas. We didn't recover at Charlotte. Cost us a shot at a win. We did it again here today.
We got lucky and got a caution so it didn't end up costing us, but it could have. We had a slow pit stop that put us behind. Hard to overcome that. Happy we got to second.
Q. Matt, to clarify, Carl Edwards said he feels like this race was too much about track position and NASCAR should look at taking downforce off for the 2013 cars. Seems like every week it's evolved into a track position game.
MATT KENSETH: I don't have any suggestions for what NASCAR should do.
But, yeah, it's been more difficult to pass I think lately. I like this new nose in this car a little bit better. But seems like it's just a little bit harder to pass. But I honestly think that's probably the tire more than it is anything else. Seems like the tires we've been running this year lay down a lot of rubber, which is nice. But on the restart, it was slime bottom to top. You are on top of all that rubber sliding. That's what it feels like to me. I don't know if that's what it is or not.
You do the best with what they give you. It's definitely an advantage to be in front. It's hard to pass, that's for sure.
KERRY THARP: Let's hear now from our third-place finisher today, Kyle Busch. Kyle is now fourth in our championship points race.
Kyle, talk about today's race. You certainly had a strong car for much of the afternoon.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we did. We had a really good Snickers Camry. It was fun to drive. Probably one of the best cars I've had here at Michigan in a while. It was good to come from as far back as we did. Had a good race with many of the guys out there. Once I got to the 17 and 16 up front, it seemed like it was even harder to race with those guys. We were all running the same speed. Lap after lap we would run the same time.
It was good to get out there and lead a little bit. I felt like if we could have went the rest of the way, we may have had a shot at beating the 17. He definitely caught us there on that one run there. But they pitted, and we may have been able to come out with him or in front of him, who knows. We had the restart and everything. Got bungled up. Dropped back a few spots.
Came to pit road for a couple tires. That final restart we got a good one, passed a couple cars. Once I got to third, I was trying to run with those guys, but my car was definitely better once I could get up to the top. Seemed like you couldn't get up to the top until later in the run at least after restarts. It wouldn't be until about 20 or 25 laps that my car would start coming in. Just too late.
Overall happy with today, happy with the finish. If you finish third in the last 10 races every single race, you might win this thing, so we'll take it.
KERRY THARP: We'll now open it up for questions for Matt or Kyle.
Q. Kyle, what happened on the last restart where you went from second to sixth?
KYLE BUSCH: I was just a little bit ahead of Matt. When I saw Matt start taking off, I took off. I guess I took off pretty good. I didn't spin my tires at all. I was too far ahead of him. I didn't know how that was going to look in NASCAR's eyes. I tried to back up a little bit, not beat him too bad from the start/finish line.
Once I slowed my momentum down, the herd was coming. I had to let them go by me, regather, get my momentum built back up in turns one and two, go back after it. Once I got back like that, my car was perfect out front. In traffic there I was just a little bit too tight in the center, a little bit too loose off. It was hard to get the throttle down and accelerate back up to those guys.
Q. Kyle, what exactly was the ailment you were fighting all day?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know what it was. But just a center chest pain I had early in the race. It was really hard to breathe. Couldn't tell you what it was. I don't know. I've never felt that before.
Guys gave me some special sauce and dialed me right in, so I'm good (smiling).
Q. Kyle, were you close at all to coming out of the car?
KYLE BUSCH: No. I didn't feel that bad. You know, it was just hard to breathe. I had to take real short breaths. Felt like I was running a 400-mile marathon, which essentially I was. But I felt like I was running on my feet instead of in a racecar.
It was all right.
Q. If that last caution hadn't come out, up until that point what were you thinking? What were possible scenarios or options?
MATT KENSETH: I think I was going to run out of gas, so I was riding around half throttle, which isn't much fun. Didn't feel like racing. I was riding around slow, said I was two laps short. I wasn't going to save that. But I wasn't going to pit either. Just running slow, hoping for a caution.
KYLE BUSCH: We were pretty good to go the rest of the way. I was just trying to run down the next car in front of me. I think at that time it was the 27. He had just gotten passed by the 14. He was my next one. I don't know if I would have got there or not. We probably would have just finished where we were running.
Q. Kyle, obviously the weekend didn't start well for you guys at Joe Gibbs Racing with the oil pan thing. Apparently everyone pulled together. Didn't seem to affect anyone. You have your best 1-2 as a team of the season. When that happened did you just fluff it off, let's go do what we need to do here?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think the guys come in this weekend, you know, not knowing that we were going to have the problems that we had. It just was circumstances that came about that they had to deal with at the time. All the crew members and crew chiefs, that is. Once they got everything squared away and fixed, we got to the racetrack, it was business as usual.
I think everybody did a great job in that respect. We'll see what happens this week, if anything. But, you know, we didn't get to run 'em, so that was kind of disappointing for the engineering department I'm sure. All the hard work they've done on that stuff, you know. Some teams, they get away with it, other teams maybe not. In this case, we took it off. We knew that we just needed to run stock standard pieces that had been already approved and go on with our business.
Q. Kyle, about the track position. Seems like fuel mileage and where you are on the racetrack is determining a lot of the superspeedway races lately. What is your view on that?
KYLE BUSCH: I would go with that's the way it's been for a long time. I don't know that I've ever seen a guy in the last run of the race take four tires and drive by everybody and win the thing. Last time that happened was probably a long, long time ago.
I don't know that you can really change much. I think this has been a product we've had for a long time, maybe unfortunately we're just taking more notice to it. Like Matt said, the tires are good tires. They have a lot of grip. They lay down a lot of rubber. But we don't clean off enough of the rubber for enough lanes to race on when we go back green. So if you run in the cleaned-off part of the racetrack, you have a lot of grip. If you try to go up high, make it three- or four-wide, you start slipping and sliding, can't make up any ground. Hard to make up distance on the cars in front of you when you have that.
I don't feel there's anything wrong with what we have. I feel like we are able to race each other a lot more when we're side-by-side with this car versus the '08 car when we had the splitter and the wing on it, didn't have a lot of downforce in it. Them things were evil. They were just so hard to drive. We were all sliding all over the place. It was hard to get beside each other and race each other anytime.
Now there were a few times today where I drove it on the inside of somebody like Biffle or Matt and the car stuck and I was able to race with them instead of just praying for my life I wasn't going to spin out and wreck.
Q. Matt, you had fuel issues. Kasey Kahne had a real difficult situation with fuel. Do you have a solution for the fuel can situation? And what's the status of Crown Royal for next year?
MATT KENSETH: The fuel thing, I mean, the rules are the same for everybody on pit road. Everyone has the same piece of equipment to work with. I don't think we have an equipment problem, I think we have a problem getting it plugged in right away and making the exchange fast enough. So we're getting our tires changed so much faster than the fuel. Everybody else on pit road doesn't seem to be waiting for fuel. We drop the jack before it's full. I think that's a problem we have to keep working on internally. I don't think that's a rule or NASCAR problem. Everyone has the same rules and the same pieces. That's up to us to figure out how to do that as good or better than everybody else.
The status for Crown Royal, I'm not really sure what it is right now.
Q. Kyle, for some reason a lot of teams when they have controversy or chaos around them, they really fall apart. You seem to pick it up and run better when you're in the news for things you might not necessarily want to be in the news for. Why is that?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about (smiling).
MATT KENSETH: I've never really seen you run bad, so I don't know what he's talking about either.
KYLE BUSCH: Thanks, Matt. I don't know what he is talking about in reference to everything going on (smiling).
It's a matter of putting together, like I said, a couple weeks ago. You get in your racecar, put your helmet on, do your business as you're supposed to. You worry about making the racecar go faster.
These guys that I work with on the 18 team, the 11 team, all the Joe Gibbs Racing team, I'll include the 20 as well, we work with those guys a lot, they've been able to focus on what needs to be focused on.
Sure, sometimes at the shop there's time where you have five or ten minutes of giggling or laughing or whatever. Once that's over and they start working on things, they come up with some really good ideas and we've brought some good racecars to the racetrack here lately.
I can't say enough about the fab shop, body shop, everybody there that's been giving us good aerodynamics, Mark who is working really, really hard in the engine department. Seems like the pieces may not all be there being the best of everything, but we have one or the other, we have pieces of that. We're able to run competitively.
Sure, it's tough for some of the family members. Maybe they go home and they're like, Gosh, you guys are in the news or whatever. You have to put that to the side, not let it bother you, work on what's ahead and what's going to make your team better and faster.
Q. Kyle, is that some of the stuff you're seeing with what Denny has been able to do? Certainly he's put together over a longer period of time some top 10s, moved up in the points.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, if it wasn't for my mishap at Charlotte, I think we'd be doing pretty good right now. I had a problem there that I just was trying to get too much with not enough, lost a car there.
But, you know, we've been steady. Seems like when the green flag flies, we're a contender. We just need to be putting ourselves in the right place at the right time more often.
Today we thought we had that there, except the second to last restart we got bottled up, didn't quite go as expected. But we were able to rebound at least from possibly running sixth to getting a good third.
Q. Is that what you're seeing out of Denny?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know that I've not ever seen Denny struggle. He does do a good job at being able to steadily run well all the time. If it's seventh through tenth or top fives, he seems to be really, really good at that, always has been. It hasn't been long periods of time where he struggles with 23rd places, 28ths, 30ths. You don't see that very often out of those guys.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 4:24 pm
Posted by Pete Pistone
(It's a busy scene at Kansas Speedway this weekend)
NOTES AND QUOTES
Highlights from Friday’s driver availability at Kansas Speedway in anticipation of Sunday’s inaugural STP 400:
JAMIE McMURRAY AFTER VISITING HIS TORNADO-RAVAGED HOMETOWN OF JOPLIN, MISSOURI
“I woke up at about 1 in the morning and you just think about everything you saw, whether it was home or high school or just the town. And then I really couldn’t quit thinking about the stories that people shared with me about their loss. It’s just hard not to think about it.”
"I thought going there and seeing my childhood home was going to be the most devastating thing for me, and I was trying to mentally prepare for that. In reality, it wasn’t. It was to hear the stories and the fear and the voice of the people that went through the tornado. The fear when they told the story in their voice is something that you can’t explain. … [There’s a story] of a father [who] broke both of his arms holding on to his kid [who died]. Isn’t that crazy? I can’t imagine."
KEVIN HARVICK ON WHETHER HE CAN KEEP THE “GOLDEN HORSESHOE” HE TOOK FROM JIMMIE JOHNSON
“I hope so. I hope we get to keep it. It is fun to be able to have performance in your race cars. I’ve said this about the No. 48 for a long time. They have had performance in their race cars and when they get in those situations where things are going their way, they are able to capitalize and finally, we’re able to capitalize when we have some breaks on pit road and we have fuel mileage, whatever the case may be. You car still has to be still running decent. When you get in those positions and you are able to capitalize on it, it makes it that much better. I hope we get to keep it until November 21st.”
JOHNSON’S RESPONSE ABOUT THE HORSESHOE
“Yeah, we’ve had some fun with it especially on the Twitter space with the whole horseshoe thing. It was something that Kevin said at California and we had some luck come our way. It started then and I couldn’t let it not come back after his good fortune the last couple of weeks. When I was in the situation having things going my way, sometimes things just go your way and other times they don’t and you’ve got to be running well and you have to be in that top-five window to take advantage of good luck. Last week things turned out well for him and I’m on the joking side of it all. I want my horseshoe back and I know he wants to keep it until after Homestead. Through Twitter there has been a ton of other fans, drivers and even crew members lobbying for their need for the horseshoe. So it’s been a fun week messing around with all of it to say the least.”
RYAN NEWMAN WHEN ASKED IF DRIVING A HIGH PERFORMANCE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD WOULD BE HARD
“Oh, my cars run pretty good. I’m like anybody else, I speed. If you go down the interstate very rarely do you find somebody doing less than the speed limit. But it’s that level of respect and it’s that level of responsibility of where you fit in. You’re going to be there matching everybody else’s speed or a little bit over or a little bit under. When you’re three times the speed limit that is way past crossing the line. I’m not saying that because I’ve gone three times the speed limit but in the right place and the right time, when there’s no cars around or people or roads or anything else.”
MATT KENSETH ON WHETHER THINK CAUTIONS SHOULD BE CALLED DIFFERENTLY WITH 200 THAN WITH TWO TO GO?
“Not necessarily. I think they should just be consistent and I think they have been pretty consistent when it comes to that. It is not easy to call a race. You want the fans to see a green flagged finish but you also have to have the safety of the fans and competitors and people on pit road on your mind at the same time. I know when they came back around there was nobody on the track and all the cars had cleared off there, so I don’t know. Part of the reason to have three green-while-checkered finish attempts is so that if you do have a mess like that on a restart then the fans can still see a green flag finish. There was two of those left, but like I said I didn’t really see it. I was on the tail end of the lead lap and I probably could have gotten a top-10 finish. Everybody is in a different situation and us as drivers are always going to look at it as what helps us the best in that particular race.”
TONY STEWART ON WHETHER SHOULD A RACE BE OFFICIATED DIFFERENTLY EARLY IN THE RACE VERSUS LATE IN THE RACE?
“My job is in the garage, I’m not going to get in that drama and that debate. I think it’s asinine to keep people talking about it. Nothing is going on now that hasn’t gone on for years here and it’s always been fine. Everybody is over-analyzing all this.”
KYLE BUSCH ON THE STATUS OF KIMI RAIKKENON AND HIS TRUCK SERIES PROGRAM
“I’m pretty disappointed that a lot of my quotes from last week got taken out of context and misinterpreted. As I did mention, Kimi Raikkonen’s people have paid in full. The contract terms did change. All we did was change -- they were going to run three to five Truck races. Well, they paid for the Truck races, but then he said, ‘Okay, let’s do a Nationwide race.’ So, we took those funds from the end of the year and put them to that Nationwide race. So, they are paid in full for the races they’ve run. We have not had any discussions on further on down the road what he wants to do. As he mentioned, he’s got Rally and other stuff that he’s worried about. We’re not mad whatsoever. We knew things would change so that’s why contracts are always kind of weirded-out anyway. If they want to come and run a few more Truck races, we’ve got the opportunity to do a couple more Nationwide races, and I’m sure myself and Joe Nemechek can put something together. It’s all up to those guys, really."