NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil
Topics: Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil
November 11, 2007
JAKE HARRIS: We're now joined by Matt Kenseth of the No. 17 DEWALT NANO Technology Ford. Matt, tell us about your run out there today.
MATT KENSETH: Anyway, it was a great run for us. We got a great finish out of it. Obviously, I'm disappointed. We had a big lead there. There was so much out there. We got all that caution and got that all cleaned up. Wish we could have ran to that. But even with that, we still got a good pit stop and came out ahead of the guys that had tires.
I just couldn't get it done. I didn't have quite enough grip on two tires, and Jimmie snuck by there. And once he snuck by, it was over. I couldn't catch him.
Q. When you get in a race that some guys are off pitch, and some guys are off sequence and you have all this stuff going on, do you just kind of race for a race like that to even itself back up? It's almost like a staggered start, you have to see who is good at the end?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, it's kind of interesting. You're out there, and people are blown by you. You get the new tires and you can catch them so fast and drive by them. In a way, if it works out for you, it's fun. Cars run so close to the same speed that when you get them on different tires, you do a lot of passing and people are passing you a lot. It makes it interesting. You have a pay a lot of attention. We got lucky the way it worked out, Robby told me it did. But with everyone else on the racetrack, he wanted to us do what the leader did. It worked out. That's what got us to lead the all the laps and be up there. So we got fortunate on that car and worked out. We had the track position, I thought we did the pit calls right, we did everything right. Just got beat there and did that again.
Q. Just wondered what you learned about the o c t today that you can learn next year?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know that we learned anything in particular just today. I think overall we've been getting the cars better at Roush racing. Our engineering has been doing a good job getting the cars faster every week.
I think overall they're faster, but all the tracks are totally different, so we've still got all the winner testing, and figure them out at the mile and a half two miles, see how it goes.
Q. Can you talk about Jimmie just won his fourth straight race, and Jeff just sort of conceded the title. Just the dominance of that 48 Team, and have you ever seen a team step up the way they have?
MATT KENSETH: Well, yeah, I mean last year, there was that one other year when they were way behind and won all those races. They can do that every week. They're that good. They're just unbelievably good. They're good as any group I've seen.
Including Jeff in his hey day, not that he's not in it but when he used to win a championship by over a hundred points. They're so good, I don't know how you put yourself in position to win like that every week.
JAKE HARRIS: We're also joined by Greg Biffle, the driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford. Greg, talk about your run out there today?
GREG BIFFLE: : It was really good, up-and-down throughout the day. Track position, and pit sequencing, you're in front, you're in back. And this car's so, so hard to pass. You know, track position is just so important. You know, we just had to race our way from around sixth or so, seventh in that last stand on two tires to get up in there.
The car started coming alive. Found some adjustments in the end that made the car go. It was a little too late on the last pit stops of the day. But the car ran a lot better.
Q. When Jimmie got by you, did that make the difficulties or any difference?
MATT KENSETH: It did at the time. I don't know if it would have changed the final outcome or not. We were inside by side a lot longer. I don't know. Greg probably would have caught us and past us both because he would have used each other up pretty good.
Everybody needs to be out there racing. Doesn't matter where you're running. I wish he would have been more consistent, he was rung the top of one and two, and the bottom of three and four on every single lap. He was running in the top and sort of ran me into the wall. We ran the backstretch, and for some unknown reason he drove the top that lap, and drove up in front of me and stopped.
It would have been nice if you had a more consistent line that way you know where to pass him. That kind of got us, because Jimmie snuck by there, and he was going to have a lot harder time getting by than that.
Q. Is it over?
MATT KENSETH: Unless the 48 blows up or has a flat tire it probably is.
GREG BIFFLE: I don't think you're going to see the 48 run worse than whatever position than Jeff ran. I don't think it's going to be points, just a normal race. Something would have to happen in order for him to win. Same thing I told everybody last week, on performance, it's over.
They're just so stellar, he's winning every week, it's harder to run better than that. Performance, it's been over. But with the point structure and that many cars, obviously, if you have mechanical failure or flat tire you can lose a lot of points. But purely on performance, he's had a lot of people covered every time.
Q. Roush had a pretty good day. 99 was on the poll, and you guys 2nd and 3rd. And you talk about that a little bit
GREG BIFFLE: It's a at this moment to our C.O.T. point. Program, it's getting better and better. It's kind of a frustrating car because you don't have it figured out. And we try to work on it, and the only thing we do is make it worse. We can't get it any better.
We're doing a lot of work at the shop and showing up with it like it is. And making little minor changes around the wedge or track bar one round one way or the other. So that's all we're doing. It's a lot of confidence going into next year that we're getting them pretty close at the shop to bring them out to the racetrack.
Q. Is it encouraging or is it getting frustrating that you're not able to then get to first rather than to second or third?
GREG BIFFLE: It's both. It's frustrating when you leave the most laps and you don't win. You don't get it done. That is frustrating. But yet we've had four really great races in a row.
It's hard to run in the Top 10, and it's really hard running in the Top 5. And if you can keep clicking off Top 5 finishes, I mean, that's really good. I said it last week and I 'll say it again, if you keep putting yourself in position, you're going to win races. I just wish it could happen soon.
Q. This is for Matt or anybody, is Greg still there? Without having seen this, did either of you think it was possible at this age for a driver to reach double figures in wins in a single season?
GREG BIFFLE: I didn't think so, I wouldn't have thought it. We won six in 2005, and Kasey Kahne won 6 last year. That's a lot of races to win in a season. I thought it was probably possible after 2005. I had a enough confidence and thought that could be done again or maybe get 8. But ten, that is a lot of wins. And I would have never thought it.
Q. There's one on track pass today right there at the end. Can you sort of talk about the lack of passing for the lead on the racetrack, please?
GREG BIFFLE: The cars are all so close to the same speed. You build this rules package, and you make everything the same aerodynamically and give you so little stuff to adjust, all the cars are closer to the same speed than when you have cars where you can work and adjust on more stuff.
So closer to the same speed, harder it is to pass. That is easy to figure out. If everybody's running the same speed, it's hard to pass.
MATT KENSETH: The other thing is, when you get within three car lengths you don't really notice it. The older cars, you could get a car length behind or couple car lengths. Now you're three lengths behind a guy, and you don't really sense it, you just feel like the tire's kind of given up a little bit.
Because you're so on edge anyways that's all you can do, and you're three cars back. And you run up to the top and get it turned and get to gassing it, and you run by the guy in one straightaway.
If you get a run at it, down in the corner or get a lot of straightaway speed or something. It's like it's aero tight early, because it makes a big hole in the air because the car's bigger. You don't really notice it, it just gets numb and you can't continue to drive up on a guy a lot of times.
Q. Would it help if everything wasn't so stunted as in terms of set-ups? Sometimes I've heard people say the cars don't need to be equal, but if they were equivalent. Would that make it better if they were a wider parameter of adjustment?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, that's what we had last week. You guys will make your opinion of what's better and what's worse. That's what we had.
The fact is we'll race them all the time next year. That's about what you're going to see for racing. It is still good, it's still competitive, it's just different than what we're accustomed to driving, and different than what you're accustomed to seeing. I don't know if it's necessarily better or worse, but it's different.
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