NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sprint All-Star Race
Topics: Sprint All-Star Race
May 17, 2008
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: We'll go into our post-race press conference for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. We have our second-place finisher and our third-place finisher. Second place tonight was Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 DISH Network Ford. Third-place finisher was Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Nano Ford, Roush Fenway teammates.
Greg, you had a strong car most of the evening. What were your thoughts about how the four segments played out and where you finished up?
GREG BIFFLE: I tell you what, we were a mediocre car. I was running third, fourth right there. I just was way too tight. Way, way too tight. I think we finished up the first segment second, then fell back a couple more spots. We got the big break. Took a look at what Matt was doing and Carl, made some adjustments to our car. Pretty aggressive. We wouldn't have done something like that in a normal race. Loosened it up a bunch.
When the green flag dropped, I mean, man alive, I could not believe how fast my car was. It was unbelievable. I could just drive it anywhere on the map, drive it to the corner, hold it to the floor.
And Matt and Junior were racing really hard with each other. I didn't want to get up in the middle of that mix because I knew we had another segment to go. Once they cleared each other, I was able to get in there and get by them.
At the end, I thought it was going to be just easy. I thought it was going to be Saturday night drive. Just went down into turn one after the restart and the tires were way, way too tight like I was at the beginning of the race.
You know, then it got good, I chased him down. I had one opportunity. He kind of closed the door on me a little bit. I figured no sense pressing it right now. I got plenty more laps to go. Then it just got tighter and tighter as it went. I never got a chance to get back at him again.
But kind of crazy to think if I'd have just stayed out, I probably would have kept my balance and probably would have been able to win. Thought for sure two tires was the right call. But just excited that we ran that good.
Really excited for next weekend, for the 600. This is a big confidence boost for our team after Darlington. This is a big comeback for us.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Greg.
Matt, you've had back-to-back good finishes last week and this week. Your thoughts.
MATT KENSETH: Just happy to run that good. With the All-Star Race, honestly you guys might remember for a day or two, but I don't think anybody else remembers except for the winner who got the million dollar check. To finish third is great, but it's not like we finished third, got a lot of points, all that.
For us, it was almost like a test and it was a good morale booster for the team and I think a big confidence booster. We haven't really been running very good this year. When we have run good, we've had a lot of problems. We were kind of back in form a little bit. We were pretty competitive at times. Sometimes we were a little behind the 99, sometimes we were a little behind the 16, a couple other guys.
Overall I thought we had a pretty good car. If it runs solid like that for 600 miles, I think we will have a car that can be a contender, something I haven't felt like in a while.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Greg or Matt.
Q. You both alluded to how difficult it is to pass in this car. It seems like whoever gets out front is gone. Is that going to change anything with how you deal with track position in the future, specifically in the 600, because it doesn't seem like anybody can get by the lead here any more?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, it's kind of weird. When you're that close together competition-wise or speed-wise, you just can't pass. But earlier, you know, I was able to drive through that traffic and just mow 'em down and drive off. My car was 3-10ths faster than anybody else. When it's that much faster, you can pass.
You're right, when they are really close to the same speed, it's just so tough to get position on somebody. The old cars were like that a little bit. But this car's a little more like that. But, you know, big racetrack. You can run up and down the track, up the top, down at the bottom, try to get some clean air.
Q. Do you guys know what anybody can do that's running second next week for 600 miles? Is it going to be all about pit strategy, track position?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, there again if I would have had my car like I had it the segment prior, the segment prior we ran 4-10ths or half a second faster than the last segment. I just got my car off, where I would have been able to pass Kasey I wouldn't say easy, but without him taking tires, if I wouldn't have been too tight, I think I could have got by him.
But, yeah, I mean, you're just going to have to get a run at a guy. You're going to have to take his line away somehow, either way up at the top, get on the outside of him, or get up into the corner high, dime it down to try to get a run at him is kind of how you got to pass a guy.
But I think there will be passing. Just not probably a lot, I guess.
Q. Did y'all consider Kasey Kahne a legitimate threat to win this thing considering he had gotten in on the fan vote? What is your opinion on the fan vote in general?
MATT KENSETH: I guess Greg don't want this one (smiling).
I mean, I think I felt like everybody was a contender, almost everybody. Even though we never raced with Kasey all night, you know, when you get out front with this car, it's like magic. If you got just the right balance, if you're a little tight, you get out in that clean air, it's a big deal. At Texas, we were just one of the boys, had a pit stop, got out in the lead, and we ran almost a half a second faster. We were in position to win the race, got ran up out of the way by a lap car, got back in fifth or sixth.
Track position is just so much more important with this car. There could be a guy running fourth or fifth all day with a good car, that would be really good out front, until he gets the chance to get there, you don't know what he has.
But never really thought of Kasey that much because we never had to race with him till the last pits.
Q. Matt, I realize when you're not running well it's always a good need for concern. Doesn't it sort of take you aback, I think you're 156 points out of the Chase, there were a few years ago when you were that far behind with three or four racing to go and made it. Do you think people are sort of hitting the panic button way too soon?
MATT KENSETH: Well, I mean, every year and every situation's a little different. The year when we came back, we got on a roll, we were running really good. We won a couple races. We were just running awesome at the time. We had a ton of momentum going, even though we got so far at the beginning of the year.
This year up to this point, it hasn't been like that. We've been behind. Oh, yeah, you can make up them points. To make up them points, you got to be running good, running better than all the guys in front of you and not have trouble. We haven't ran better than any of them guys and we haven't not had trouble.
If we can run like we ran tonight, even how we ran at Darlington, we had a top three our four car there probably, finished sixth because we were saving gas. If we have the car like we did the last two weeks, I think we can get back in it.
Q. Greg, you said earlier that your car was really tight, plowing through the corners, you may some aggressive adjustments. Seeing how well they worked out initially, is that something you may carry into next weekend, how you cater to the car for the next race?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I think exactly. That gave us a lot of confidence on making changes to our car under a green flag, caution pit stop. Any normal race, I think we got a good idea what that much adjustment we did is going to do.
What kind of blows our mind is that we didn't change anything and put two right side tires on it, then it just went back way tight again. It's hard to put your finger on it. It's so hard. It's a moving target.
But, yeah, I mean, now that I know what that did, certainly that's an option for us in the race, the 600, and everywhere else, Kansas, Chicago, any kind of track like this.
Q. Listening to what you're saying, it almost sounds like for next week we're going to see something quite similar to Texas. In that sense, did the test session last week here really make much of a difference? The test session was to make better racing here. Is it going to do that?
MATT KENSETH: Well, everybody has a different opinion on that test. In my opinion, the test did nothing to help us. I say that because you go out there in single car runs, run all day, the track is hot, greasy, whatever. Tonight is a lot better of a test. Even though it's half the field, you get half the field together, two- and three-wide, all racing as hard as you can race for that million bucks, that trophy, that's the true test.
Part of the thing is, you know, I'm sure the car is going to get better. I think the racing is okay. I don't think it's as terrible as everybody makes. It's probably not as great as everybody makes it. I've seen races here where after they paved it with the old cars where the same car led almost every lap, nobody could get up there and get around them. That's nothing new. Usually the guy in the front, especially if he has the fastest car, he's going to drive away. That's what racing is. Once the fastest car gets to the front, he's usually gone. I mean, that's what it's about.
I think this helps. I think there's things Goodyear can do to help. Although I think Goodyear did a great job last weekend at Darlington. They are doing a good job here. I think there's things you can do to help the car. When you get behind somebody, this car is bigger than the other one, when you get behind somebody, there is a bigger hole in the air and the car is more aero-deficient than the other car was. We can't work on the bodies. The old cars, we could come here and test, move quarter panels around, move fenders around, change noses. You could find an aero balance that liked that you could make work in traffic. These cars we can't mess with. We can't touch the bodies. We're not going to fix an aerodynamic push situation with this car 'cause we're not allowed to work on it unless there's some kind of rules change.
Q. Did it worry either one of you guys the fact that Kyle Busch was down a cylinder, that he was still faster than 18 cars in the field?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, that car has been fast. It's easy to kind of keep your momentum here. But, yeah, I mean, it was hard for me to pass him. I had a hard time getting around him because I was so tight once I got my car better.
We know they've been tough with everywhere we went, so... .
MATT KENSETH: It didn't surprise me. I think he could beat us all on six cylinders, easy - easy.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you.
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