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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Kasey Kahne
Matt Kenseth
Mark Martin
July 10, 2006


THE MODERATOR: Kasey, from the Cup test here at Indy, what did you learn this morning?
KASEY KAHNE: I learned -- I think there was a lot of people that were trying to get their cars to turn better. I know we were just with grip and the tire that's here, you know, none of us have been on it yet. You know, it's just something different. Trying to figure it out. I think we were getting better as the session went. I don't know where we're at compared to other people, but it didn't feel too bad.
THE MODERATOR: Sort of talk about coming into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in another month, why this is so important for you?
KASEY KAHNE: I look forward to it. Allstate is one of our really good sponsors. Coming to the Brickyard is obviously a track that I would really -- really enjoyed, would love to win it at some point. We came close two years in a row. I'm just looking forward to it, hoping to have a really good test this weekend. By the time we come back, hopefully I'll have a shot at it.
THE MODERATOR: It will be the fifth race in the Race for the Chase, counting down to the Chase, so a crucial event for everybody.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, it's definitely crucial. For us, we've -- I think we had a month there where we were really good. The last three weeks we've been really bad. We have to pick it up if we want to get in that Chase. I knew that would happen this year. That's how racing is. You have great weeks and off weeks. As competitive as the Cup Series is, it just seems like you can have -- things can turn around really quick. We have to get back on track and this will be a great race to do that at.
THE MODERATOR: Sounds good. We'll take some questions here in the press conference room.

Q. Kasey, what was your reaction when you heard that Montoya was going to race in the series next year and possibly Danica Patrick? What was your reaction to that?
KASEY KAHNE: I never heard about Danica. I definitely heard about Montoya. Man, it's awesome. I think Juan Montoya, he's awesome. He's a winner in everything he's ever been in. You know, racing with -- whether it's F1, IndyCars, IRL, won the Indy 500 in only one attempt. Pretty neat for NASCAR. Neat to be able to race with him, someone I've always enjoyed watching and thought was one of the best race car drivers.
I think it's pretty neat that he's in it. I was surprised as can be. I never -- I don't know if other people had heard or not. I heard about an hour after the press conference. I still didn't even know.

Q. What do you think is going to be the most difficult part about the transition?
KASEY KAHNE: Man, it could be different for anybody. You know, with his background, I don't know. I know for myself, just the heavy cars, the way they roll from corner to corner, trying to figure out how to make 'em fast, the adjustments you need to go fast, how to communicate with your crew chief just to make the car right so you can drive it.
I think -- I mean, I don't think he's going to have too much of a problem. It's going to take some time to figure it out. But he's got a lot of experience.
THE MODERATOR: Mark Martin has joined us. Mark, thank you for coming in. What did you learn this morning in the first session here at the Indy test?
MARK MARTIN: My cars were tight. The tires are limited. They're wearing too fast. We're not going to be allowed enough tires to do as thorough a test as we would like to be, as we would like to. Those are the two things.
We're having to conserve our laps and conserve our tires because we only get 12 sets. We probably would like to do more like 16, 18 sets with the way they're wearing. You wouldn't need that many, but we're only getting about 10 laps. It will get better, but right now we're only getting about 10 laps, 10 or 12 out of the right sides. After that, you're taking a risk.
THE MODERATOR: More questions, please.

Q. Kasey, you seem to have this just amazing magic mile-and-a-half race car that you won a lot of races with. Yesterday at Chicago, I was listening to you on the radio, you were extremely frustrated. Did you learn what may have been wrong with the car?
KASEY KAHNE: We haven't really figured it out yet. We just missed the setup. I said all along that that car I think it's as lucky as it is good. Michigan, we won because, I mean, of rain. We may have won it if we went all the way, I don't know. We were put in the perfect position to win there.
You know, it was just fast everywhere we'd been. We had other cars like that. Didn't feel any different to me. Yesterday we were in the 20 to 30s all day long. I mean, it's not like a magic car I don't think as much as it's just my team hit on the setup those other four races. Things went our way.

Q. Kasey, your team is doing so much better this year. What do you think is going to be the key to keeping that strong finish as you get towards the final 10 races?
KASEY KAHNE: I mean, just, you know, communication, bringing really good race cars to the track. That's what we've been doing all year long. We just have to figure out how to keep doing that. You know, we've had three off weeks. Hopefully we get it turned around next week at New Hampshire. Just communicating well with Kenny Francis and the guys, keeping things going smoothly. I mean, I think we've been close. It's a great race team. We had a couple off weeks. We'll get it turned around.

Q. You've seen a lot of people try this series. What was your reaction when Montoya announced he was coming to this series?
MARK MARTIN: I was real excited. Just like Kasey said, I mean, he's a world-class driver. Leaving F1 to come to NASCAR, you know, is a real compliment to all of us, everyone in NASCAR, where they have come, certainly have arrived. I think it's going to be great for everyone. It's really neat.

Q. When you look back, when you started in the series, would you have ever thought someone from Formula One would be coming to NASCAR with that kind of name?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know. You know, times were different. I mean, we did have Mario run some races, some things like that. To come full-time, maybe not. You know, maybe it wasn't strong enough and powerful enough and lucrative enough to draw a guy like Mario full-time. But, you know, it definitely drew, even back then.
But this is a major thing. It's quite an accomplishment for Chip Ganassi. I think it's really cool. He's at the age that he can come and do this. It's not getting late in his career, like some other open-wheel drivers that probably would like to make the switch now, that it's getting more late in their career.
It's good timing. I think I'm going to watch with great enthusiasm from the couch with a remote control (laughter).

Q. There's also a buzz now that Danica Patrick's team is exploring the possibilities of her joining this series next year. Your thoughts on that, what it would mean to have her running in the series?
MARK MARTIN: Oh, wow, you know, that would be another huge one for sure. I think it would be great, absolutely fantastic. She is definitely a major, major, major draw. It would be fantastic to see her getting involved at this stage in her career, which is in the early stages. It would give her enough time to really adapt to the cars and everything and make a go of it.

Q. Kasey, your thoughts?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I mean, I've always said that, man, if somebody like Danica, she does a great job in the IRL, if she was to come to NASCAR, that's pretty awesome for us, for her. I mean, NASCAR is a great sport, great racing series right now. Danica does draw a lot of people, it seems. You know, it would be pretty neat if she did come and race with us.

Q. Mark, how important is it to not be viewed as weak on a track in the sense that a competitor thinks he can muscle past you or push you out of the way? With everyone saying the competition is closer in the sport, are you more likely to see more conflicts late in the race like yesterday and even throughout a race?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know. I think that's looking awfully deep to try to pick that. I don't know anyone that I currently race with that is weak. I'm talking about if we want to reach on back into the guys that run from 30th to 40th on a weekly basis, I still can't think of a guy that's weak, that if you mistreat him or push their buttons, that you won't have your hands full. I don't see that part of it.
As far as aggressiveness goes, it has been escalating to some degree for several years now, but you don't see as much of that from the veterans as you do the newer guys that are new to it. So yesterday, if you're referring to yesterday, that was a little bit of an abnormal situation. I don't believe that Jeff intended for Matt to spin out, although I am pretty sure he knew he was going to hit him before he did.

Q. Is it a concern that you're seeing this type of action on a mile and a half? This is common at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond. As you go to bigger tracks, does this become more of a concern because of the speed involved?
MARK MARTIN: You know, all I can tell you is that we race out there under more difficult conditions than I'm able to describe to you. It's slippery. It's competitive. You're trying to do more with your equipment than your equipment will give you. I think what happened yesterday was a slip. It was a slip. Like I said, I'm sure that Jeff didn't intend for Matt to spin out. That's as far as I want to go on it. I don't think it's commonplace for people to spin one another out on a mile and a half racetrack, but it has happened, hasn't it (laughter)? Kansas, a couple years ago, I think Kasey got spun out at the end of the front straightaway.
KASEY KAHNE: Chicago.
MARK MARTIN: Chicago, okay. So it does happen. You know, I put that in a category of a slip.

Q. You go to Pocono in about two weeks. A lot of drivers say if you do well at Pocono, you're going to do well at Indy. What are the similarities between the two tracks? You hear a lot of drivers talk about the differences from the June to the July race, even though it's about six weeks. What are those differences and how do you compensate for that going into the July race?
MARK MARTIN: For me, you know, there are a lot of similarities because the corners are fairly flat and it's big. They're both big racetracks. As of late, it has got to be more and more different because Pocono is so bumpy, and Indy is not, that the bumps really create more of a challenge, at least for us at Pocono. It makes them quite different in that respect.
KASEY KAHNE: Myself, you know, the tracks are pretty different for me. I know we've ran decent at Pocono, at both Pocono races early in the year, then the second ones we've never ran that good at, then ran pretty good at Indy both years that I've been here.
I think it's a lot different personally that time of year the way the tracks are with being smooth, like Mark said, with the bumps at Pocono, that's a huge difference in the way that you can make your car handle and the way that you can set it up.

Q. Mark, I believe you spent a little time living here in Indiana, did some racing in your early days. Being from the mid south, mid region of the country, what does this place mean to you? What is it going to feel like when you strap in for the final time at the Brickyard 400?
MARK MARTIN: Well, first of all, yeah, I spent '79, '80 and '81 up in North Liberty which is, I don't know, a hundred miles north of here or something. I traveled a lot of trips down 31 or whatever that is, that highway, through here going racing and stuff like that. But to be real honest with you, you know, I was always focused on stock cars.
Growing up in Arkansas, I always identified the biggest race in the world as being the Indy 500, but I never associated what I did with the Indy 500. It wasn't something that I saw stars in my eyes. Never dreamed when I was cruising through here -- I did dream that I would drive NASCAR, but I never -- it never occurred to me that I'd ever be racing here. Really didn't. It just never really crossed my mind.

Q. When you got that first opportunity, they brought the race here, how big this event has grown, some say it has passed the Daytona 500, a lot of Midwestern guys, Rusty, Carl Edwards, is there some sort of sentimental value?
MARK MARTIN: For me, it's not going to be a major feather in my cap that I competed at Indianapolis, but for the guys who win this race, you know, it is. I'm still not sure that it's acknowledged as much as the Indy 500 because of the history and everything, but it certainly -- you're right, I mean, it is certainly a big important race. I always say that the size of the trophy and the size of the check usually pretty much indicates whether or not the race is a big deal. They're pretty big here for this one. Me, I like to simplify things (laughter).

Q. We have an off weekend coming up in a couple of weeks. Is this the right time of year to have an off weekend and what are your plans?
MARK MARTIN: I'm ready for that off weekend. I'm going to take my partner in our Ford store in Arkansas and Larry Shaw, who helped get me started in racing back in 1974, and their families and my family, we're going to pile up in my airplane and I'm going to leave the pilot home and we're going out to Vegas. I don't gamble and I don't drink, so it's an odd place to go, but I love it there, and so does Matt, my son. We just tear those arcades up, boy. We're going to go out there and play some video games, have some fun, eat some good food. I'm so excited. I'm really excited. I'm as excited about that as I have been anything outside of racing in quite some time. Matt is excited about going, as well.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I'm looking forward to the off week for sure. I've been building a Sprint car for the last couple weeks, myself and my cousin. We're going to do two races out in Washington at a track I used to race at. Been trying to promote it a little bit for a while to try to get a bunch of people to come out from all over there that I haven't raced in front of for a while, sign autographs for them, enjoy the weekend, Friday, Saturday night. Going to have a picnic the next day, a big fan club picnic that my mom is setting up. We've never had one of those out in Washington.
Should be a fun weekend, three days of work and fun put together, then just take a couple days off, stay at home with my parents, just enjoy it.

Q. (Where will that be?)
KASEY KAHNE: Grays Harbor Raceway Park.

Q. In 2005, Kurt Busch won the July race, went on to win the championship. 2004, excuse me. In 2005, Tony Stewart won the July race and went on to win the championship. As far as this being the first Chase race, how important is it for both of you to win this race or at least get a top five or top 10 come Sunday?
MARK MARTIN: For us it's huge. We have had three races in a row that have just been incredibly disappointing to us. We were in championship form the first 10 races of the year. It is important for us to get back on that or else. I mean, it's real important. We expect to run well. It's not my strongest racetrack, but we think it will be one of our strongest racetracks. We really feel good about our car, what we're going to do up there.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it also. We've had three disappointing weekends. We finished the races, but nowhere in the top 20. We need to get a good top 10, top five. I guess if everybody is winning the championship after they win that race, it would be a good one to win.
MARK MARTIN: Yeah.
KASEY KAHNE: Just need to get a good run. We need to finish up front and get some more points. We've been losing a lot.

Q. Mark, as you're in the middle of this season, winding up your Nextel Cup part of your career, what is it you'd like -- is there like a certain race you'd like to win before the end of the year, any certain things you want to try to accomplish before this season concludes?
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know, I haven't made the final determination on what 2007 race schedule is going to look like for me. Roush Racing hasn't presented me with the truck contract yet, although if they would have, I would have signed it and that would be done. I know what they're doing.
You know, I would consider doing a limited Cup schedule if it was with the right team. If I did so, to answer your question, the Brickyard would be on that, the Daytona 500 would be on that, races like Michigan, Dover, some of those races, races that might be in conjunction with the truck racing or whatever.
But, you know, that's why last year I said, I learned never to say "never." I'm not saying this is my last year on Cup. I'm not saying anything, if you get my drift. I'm waiting. Right now I'm focused on trying to make the Chase so that if we do that, maybe we can have another chance to contend for a championship. Somewhere along that line, things will really fall into place.
But silly season in 2006 is going to be the craziest in NASCAR history. I think we already see that. We've got Juan Montoya coming. I mean, that's just the start. It is going to be the craziest silly season I think you've ever seen. Experienced drivers are really hot commodities right now, guys that can get it done. It's going to be a really interesting fall.

Q. How important is it to have a good test that will carry over here to the Brickyard?
MARK MARTIN: Well, I've seen guys come here and have a bad test and come back and run good. But we sure don't want to do that. We don't want to hope for that.
I think we're off to a good start. You know, we seem to have respectable speed, much better than we've had in these three disappointing races. If we've got speed, I can -- my team and I can easily adjust our race car to suit my liking.
But when you don't have speed, you can adjust it to your liking, but you're still going to take a whipping on the racetrack. For some reason, we seemed to hit the track running today, and I feel good about it. You know, I think it will be -- it's a good time for us to test after taking a whooping the last three races.

Q. Mark, in reference to your comments about silly season, it seems to get sillier every year. Do you think that's reflective of the growth of the sport? Seems like there's more guys jumping around than there has been for a long time.
MARK MARTIN: Well, there's a greater demand for drivers that can get it done. Right now when you look around, the litter is picked over pretty well. We're going to have two, four, six, eight maybe even ten, but at least six or eight really strong, financially backed race teams, new teams, next year. Those kind of race teams that are coming in that are high-profile can't bring a guy in that they're taking a chance on that you haven't seen get it done yet.
Right now there's some drivers that are coming along, but you don't just take a guy off -- there's very few Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlins around that you can just take 'em, plug 'em in and they'll go. That's a tall order. It typically takes time, much more time than that.
That's what it is. I certainly (indiscernible) expect to see some retired drivers, Cup drivers, back in the seat next year because it's going to be crazy. There's a lot of teams that are going to come forth that are going to need drivers, and they're going to want drivers that have done it, got it done before.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it.
We are now joined by Matt Kenseth. Your assessment of your first session here at Indy.
MATT KENSETH: We didn't really get too much accomplished. On the way to the racetrack, I got ran into by a student driver. That was the start of my morning. I was at a stoplight. Biffle was following me from the airport. He always runs into me, so I thought it was him joking. It wasn't. It was a student driver and instructor just pile drove into the back of me. That was exciting. Then I got here, ran a couple laps.

Q. (No microphone.)
MATT KENSETH: I didn't even stop. They wanted to stop and fix it. I didn't care whether the bumper was laying on the ground or not. It was a rental. Rather pay for it than mess with that.
Got here, ran a couple laps, didn't run too good. Took a second car out. I wrecked that right away. It's been an eventful 24 hours. The beginning of our test hasn't been very good, to answer your question.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take some questions here for Matt.

Q. With that being said, Mark was in here and said that Jeff didn't intend to spin you out but intended to hit you. What's your reaction to that?
MATT KENSETH: I think Mark was being nice. I mean, I think that anybody honestly that's watched more than two or three races in their lives and watches replay knows that he meant to spin you out. I mean, my car was pushing so bad, you had to hit it pretty hard to spin it out. The weird thing is he would have passed me the next lap anyway. He was catching me so fast. You can clearly see, we got in the corner, we both got on the gas, he just picked up on the gas, kind of like earlier, and drove me over. I think it was intentional, but doesn't really matter what I think.

Q. I think Mike Helton said after the race it was a racing deal, really weren't intending to do anything to follow up on it.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, usually is.

Q. Do you feel like it was?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah.

Q. What was your reaction when you heard that Montoya is going to make the jump to NASCAR?
MATT KENSETH: I think that was really cool. I've never been a huge follower of open-wheel, I haven't really watched a lot of it. Stay pretty busy doing our own stuff and paying attention to all that. Probably haven't paid that much attention to it. Obviously, everybody knows who he is, how talented he is. I think that will be really great for the sport. I mean, I've heard everybody's reaction that I talked to, really excited about it, think it's really cool. Kind of a surprise to me, you know, when I heard it. But I've never met him. I don't know him. But I think it's really cool that he's going to show up there and race.

Q. You talk about Jeff Gordon. This is a guy that's won 75 NASCAR Winston Cup races, Nextel Cup races. Hasn't been winning as much. Do you think the pressure of not winning is getting to him? What's the reasoning behind spinning you out?
MATT KENSETH: Well, there's a few things. I mean, I was in his way. I was getting really slow. There's probably a couple things that went into that. You know, when I got into him at Bristol, which honestly was an accident -- if it wasn't, I would have told him it wasn't. You know, so I'm sure that probably had something to do with it, even though he knocked me out of the way first at Bristol, and I did get into him, it was an accident. Whatever, that was in the past. But I think that was probably in his mind a little bit. There was only three laps to go when we were trapped under the lap car. That was the cheap way, the easy way out, to do it.
And Jeff is smart. He knew -- Jeff is very smart, very calculating, knows what he's doing. He knew, you know, right where he did it there, that it wasn't really going to probably wreck me and he knew for sure it wasn't going to wreck himself, and he was going to be the leader. So I think that's probably about sums it up.

Q. Like you said, it hasn't been a great test so far. Does that bear on when you come back if the test doesn't get any better?
MATT KENSETH: Well, we have a lot of time left to practice. It doesn't always matter that much. I mean, sometimes it does. But, you know, for our test here, we took two cars that we really haven't had any success with. We took one new car, then we took a car that we ran at Pocono, which we finished okay, but we didn't run very good. At least we did have a couple better cars we could always bring back if our test wasn't good. We have our one car, which was our baseline car, which I managed to wreck yesterday for 20th. We have our other car that we ran at Dover, Atlanta, Charlotte or something, that ran real good for us. We got two cars, kind of our baseline cars, that we know we can go back to that will run okay for us.
We've always done okay here in the past. I think if you get your stuff right and you're okay at the mile-and-a-half's, you'll probably be okay here. Like I said, if we can't get these cars to run, we'll just bring back something that maybe we know a little bit more about.

Q. We have an off weekend coming up right after Pocono. Is this the right time of year to have an off weekend or would you maybe like to see it happen right before the Chase? What do you plan on doing for the off weekend?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, it's nice to have an off weekend move to the end of July instead of whenever it used to be, the second week of July. It would be nice to have one more, you know, instead of whatever it is, three off weekends in the first six weeks or eight weeks, whatever it is. It would be nice to move one of them to I think right before the Chase would be a great time, let everybody regroup a little bit. The excitement would be there and everybody would be ready to start. For the fans and anything, I don't think they'd miss anything. It would be one week off, everybody would be looking forward to the Chase starting. I think that would be cool.
My off weekend, I don't know. I'm racing on that Saturday up in Elko, Minnesota, a short track race. A couple of friends of mine have been building cars. I've been running their short track cars trying to help them a little bit and have some fun. Other than that, I'm not really sure. I go a couple appearances during the week. I was going to go up to the (indiscernible) in Oshkosh, maybe check that out a little bit. That's really all I got planned right now.

Q. For those of us who are not behind the wheel, can you explain the etiquette of blocking? Obviously, you would block an opponent to maintain your position. Are there rules for the guys behind the wheel as far as to block or not to block, because Gordon said you were blocking on Sunday?
MATT KENSETH: I did block down in front of him on that restart because, you know, on a restart, if you hang back behind a guy, anticipating what he's going to start, a lot of times you can get a run on him and pass him. NASCAR has a rule, which to my knowledge has never been enforced or done anything about it. You're not supposed to lay back more than a car length. He was laying back a couple of car lengths, trying to get a run and pass me. I knew once we got down to the corner, I could drive away from him. We had a better car.
That's kind of a -- I don't know, I mean, you got to pass people however you can do it. But it's kind of, you know, we're not even racing yet. You know what I mean? It's kind of hang back and try to get a run. So he did that several times. That one restart he got a run. You know, if somebody's underneath you and cut them off, run them off the track, I think that's different than pulling down in front of them. I just knew he was going to try to get to the bottom. I just pulled down to the bottom.
As far as the lap he spun me out, I don't think I blocked him out. I was still ahead of him. I didn't think he was under me at all. You know, until somebody's got some room underneath you, it's still your spot. It's your groove until somebody else has it. You know, somebody gets under you, whether it's a half inch or a foot, 10 feet or whatever, then it's his groove. But if he's behind your bumper, I think it's still the leader's groove.
Another thing about that on that restart, that is nothing that he wouldn't have done or I haven't seen him do several, several times. You know, I was at California a couple years ago and had a run on him. It was early in the restart. Everybody was bunched up. He ran me all the way down the infield on the backstretch. He's one of the guys that probably does it more than most, so...

Q. Going into New Hampshire this weekend. 2004, Kurt Busch won the July race there, went on to win the championship. Last year Tony Stewart won the July race there, went on to win the championship. It's the first race of the Chase. Explain to me the importance of Sunday's race.
MATT KENSETH: I don't think it's really that much more or less important than any other race. You know, it is one of the races, you know, in the Chase, if you make the Chase. That part's kind of important, to try to learn something there in July. I think winning the championship and winning the July race is a total coincidence. I don't think it means anything. But you certainly want to run good at all 10 tracks, you know, in the Chase, and that's one of 'em.

Q. If you look at NASCAR as a sport where you can't show any weakness, is there something almost inherent in a driver's nature, if something happened to him, like what happened with you and Jeff on Sunday, that at some point he has to exact a measure of revenge?
MATT KENSETH: I guess I didn't understand the question. I heard most of it. Do you have to do what with revenge?

Q. Do you expect at some point that you might have to retaliate against a Jeff because of what happened on Sunday?
MATT KENSETH: No.

Q. When he said he was sorry after the race, do you think it was a sincere apology?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, he looked sorry when he was out there doing them donuts. Looked real sorry (laughter).

Q. You're coming up to Pocono in about two weeks. A lot of drivers talk about the differences between the June and July race, even though it's about six weeks. What are some of those differences and how do you compensate for them? Last year you had to do a lot of charging to get yourself in the Chase. This year you're in second. How much of an advantage does that give you that you have some leeway to try some things out and figure out which direction you guys want to go when going into the Chase?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know about Pocono changing that much. I'm a bad guy to ask that. I don't feel like I do a very good job, you know, when I go there. The only thing I notice when I go back there, there's a different route or there's a different bump or hole in the asphalt or something, it seems like the place gets real bumpy real fast. That's the only thing maybe I notice different. They redid the curb in the tunnel turn the last few races, something like that. I don't know if the track really changes that much.
As far as where we are in the points, I mean, it's good to be where we're at in the points. But I don't think I would approach it any different than what we did last year. I think you approach every race to try to lead laps, to try to put yourself in position to win. I think you want to run at championship level. I think you want to keep your team running at a championship level. I think you want to have championship level pit stops every week. I think that's a big mistake some people have made, including myself, maybe being comfortable and say, oh, yeah, you're in the Chase, we'll run good them last 10 and maybe not put enough emphasis on races in the middle of years, races two-thirds of the way through the year before the Chase starts or something like that. I feel like it's very important to keep the momentum and keep running good and not break it, you know, to keep it going.
I think you take your best stuff every week and you keep looking for new stuff, keep trying new stuff, trying to make yourself better. I think you need to take your best stuff every week and put forth your best effort every week.

Q. You've been involved in some high-profile incidents on the track this year such as Daytona, Bristol and yesterday. In a long season such things do arise. Is this more than usual? Do you feel like you have a target? Is this a case of that's the way you have to run nowadays?
MATT KENSETH: I mean, some of it this year I've been into has obviously been my own fault, my own doing. Other things, I don't know, maybe you feel like you're a victim. But it's always usually you have something to do with it. You know, I don't like to be involved in conflicts. I don't like to be in controversy at all. I'd rather just keep to myself and go and do my job and not have any of that. But if you're going to be competitive and you're going to try as hard as you can every week, try to run up front, do all that, it's pretty hard not to ever get in a conflict with anybody. It's just part of the business.

Q. The aggressive driving or contact at the end of the race, common at short tracks, the nature of the beast. Does it become a concern when it starts happening at mile-and-a-half's? Do you think it's beginning to become more of a concern with the speed at the bigger tracks?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think that's one thing that probably maybe surprised me or disappointed me a little bit, what happened, maybe some of the reaction to it and everything. Just 'cause, you know, you spun through the infield and saved it and everything was okay doesn't mean everything was going to be okay. You know, we're running 100 miles an hour at Martinsville, or 90, and we're running 190 at Chicago. Just because the sport's had a pretty good safety record the last few years, I don't think we should ever take that for granted and put anybody in harm's way on purpose, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Matt, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
MATT KENSETH: Thank you.

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