NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Camping World RV 400 presented by AAA
Topics: Camping World RV 400 presented by AAA
September 21, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by driver of the 99 Office Depot Ford, Carl Edwards. Carl, tell us about your run today.
CARL EDWARDS: It was fun. I had a really good time. We took two tires at the end. I don't know if that was the right thing or not. But we still ended up having a great race. It couldn't be any better. There couldn't be a better third. We're leading the points, my teammates finishing in front of me, and having a good race like that. That's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by today's second-place finisher, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Matt Kenseth. Tell us about your run.
MATT KENSETH: It was like Carl said, it was really fun racing. That's probably the best racing I've seen in a long time. I imagine -- at least it felt like it from the seat. There were three of us racing there. In a way with Carl leading the points, there's two winners. I feel like the only loser in the crowd. We got beat. You hate to get beat when you're in them battles, but they're a lot of fun to be part of.
I think Greg had probably the best car there, and we were just all driving as hard as we could to try to hold him off as long as I could and I just couldn't do it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the media.
Q. The battle between all three of you, the fact you're teammates, you raced close and clean, or is it that all three of you have a reputation for being clean racers? Did the team thing play anything in that?
MATT KENSETH: For me, it really didn't. You know, whether these guys were driving for different teams or if I would have been racing Mark and Jeff, who were friends of mine, used to be teammates. I think you're going to race everybody the same. I think all three of us raced as hard as we could possibly race each other for the win without wrecking ourselves or each other. Greg and I, I was pretty close to wrecking us both on the backstretch one time. We just couldn't race any harder. The racing is always like that.
I know there's always the talk, more points to win and people race harder to win. But these races are so hard to win. We haven't been to Victory Lane yet this year. If you're ever in a position to win, everybody is racing as hard as they can. It just so happened today, you had cars that were very close on speed, we could all maneuver around. On the restart, we could all pretty much just go crazy. It worked out that way.
But it was a fun race. Like I said, we were all racing as hard as we could, for sure.
CARL EDWARDS: I think early in the run, I kind of realized Greg was probably the fastest, Matt was probably second fastest, and I was third. You know, I held him off as long as I could. Finally they got by me, and Matt held Greg off for a long, long time. It all kind of worked out.
But, yeah, I don't know. Like Matt said, I don't think it really matters that we're teammates. I think it matters that we respect one another. That would be the same for anybody out there.
Q. Guys, looked like you were running pretty clean, had the lead, then you came up upon a lapped car. How much did that take the momentum away when this happened?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know. I mean, we passed a few lapped cars. To be honest with you, I had my hands pretty full. I don't really know who we all passed, what side we passed them on. Seemed like when we caught them, everybody really yielded, gave us a lot of room to race. I don't think that was really a factor, at least from my standpoint I didn't think it was a factor.
CARL EDWARDS: The same.
Q. Every team has tracks that they're stronger at than other tracks. Makes sense you guys are good in Michigan, which is in Jack Roush's backyard. Why are you guys as a team so consistently good at this track every race?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. You know, I didn't think we were that strong at New Hampshire, but we ran really well there. You're always chasing the setup and the latest engineering stuff and all that. I think it just kind of goes in waves.
But, you know, so I don't know why I've consistently been so good here. I think as a group, this is probably the best we've been. Seemed like all of our cars were pretty fast today. You know, I don't know the reason.
Q. Matt, you made the ultimate sacrifice, losing Robbie. Overall what he's been able to do for the company, has it all been worth it?
MATT KENSETH: Well, yeah. I mean, I don't know if I made the ultimate sacrifice. I mean, he wanted to go. He wanted to go do that job. I mean, if he didn't want to do that job, he'd still be doing the old one that he had. He never got really let go or moved around or whatever. He was kind of ready, I think, for something different, to get off the road a little bit.
Certainly he's helped the company a lot. I mean, he's a guy that's really cut out for that job. He's the best guy I think we've ever had managing Roush Fenway Racing for the performance side of it and all that. I think it's been a benefit to all of us. He's been a huge benefit to my career, obviously, through the years. And moving him in that role I think has helped all of us the same. I think it's helped all the team, given us better cars, better employees, better pit stops, all that stuff.
Q. Can you compare the difference between the strength of the Roush Fenway organization now and go back to 2005, when you were all there and all running really well. Everyone seems to have overlooked this organization coming into the Chase.
CARL EDWARDS: I was new in 2005, but I knew there were times where our cars -- the car was carrying me a lot, you know, in 2005, especially at the mile-and-a-half's. I feel like we're better now. I feel like I'm better now. I don't know if I can speak for the whole team. I feel like when I go to a variety of tracks now, I feel like we can win, instead of just the mile-and-a-half's.
I feel great at the short tracks, the road courses, you know, the speedway stuff is getting a lot better, finished second there in July. So to me, I think that we are better off as a team now than we have been since I've got here.
Q. Every year in the Chase, people have been talking about multi-car teams, team orders, this guy is supposed to let this guy go. Can we finally put that to rest after today? Looked like you were mortal enemies going out there. I know you raced each other clean, but certainly no quarter asked nor given.
MATT KENSETH: The plan was to have Greg win. We just tried to make it look really good (laughter).
I mean, I don't know. From my part, I don't know about Carl and all that, everybody has to speak for themselves. The team order thing, first of all, Jack has never given me a team order in the car before. If he did, and it was for a race win, I am sure I would be fired on Monday because you're all going to race as hard as you can when it's for the win. Like I said before, it's really, really hard to win these races. Harder some of us than others. It's tough to win. You're going to do everything you can to try to do that.
Q. Matt, can you talk about the importance of your finish concerning where you started today in the points.
MATT KENSETH: Well, I mean, to be honest with you, I haven't really thought about the points. We didn't run really at Richmond. Carl and Greg were head and shoulders faster than we were last week at New Hampshire. We got caught up in that wreck. The championship isn't really even on my mind at this moment. If we can get some runs like this and lead some laps, hopefully get a win or two, you know, you'll get a lot of points and then you can kind of start looking at it. But you got to go out and run like that almost every week I think with as competitive as the Chase field is.
We're just kind of trying to take it one week at a time, get our cars better so we can run up front, and go from there.
Q. In 2005, Greg said that season still sticks in his craw. He came close, all five teams made it into the Chase, yet nobody won the championship. Do you think about that? Do you use it as motivation for this year perhaps?
CARL EDWARDS: I think about it every once in a while, think how I just -- how ignorant I was back then. I didn't realize how good, you know, I had it. If I would know what I know now -- if I knew what I know now, I mean, I lost the championship by 35 points. I thought, That was pretty easy, we'll just win it next year. I didn't realize what a great thing we had.
So definitely, I don't think about it a lot, but every once in a while, I kind of chuckle, thinking, I thought this was easy, you know.
MATT KENSETH: I hit the wall pretty hard last week. I can't really remember 2005 (laughter).
Q. Matt, it seemed in those last 20 laps, if Greg was going to go by you, you wanted to try to make him go inside. Was that your plan? Were you trying to protect the outside?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah. And it didn't work out too well because he got around me on the outside.
My car was really loose. When you get somebody outside of you, even with these cars, they're not as bad, it makes them looser, and it's hard to hang on to. If somebody can run outside and hold you kind of tight off the corner, where they barely got enough room between the apron and your car, it's very hard for the inside car to get off the corner. That was kind of my plan, as if they were going to pass me to get him underneath me, because I was pretty sideways. If I tried to run on the bottom, like I tried to run the bottom one time, I don't know who hit me, but we got into three and got bumped from behind. I got so slow getting in there, I got so sideways in the middle, I couldn't get back off the corner. I knew I needed to be on the top and try to carry as much momentum as I could, try to get away from those guys.
They get right up on you on the bottom, sneak outside of you. You're going to end up getting beat. Greg did finally somehow sneak outside of me somewhere down there I think when I was passing someone.
Q. You did hold them for a while. Did you think you might be able to hang on to this?
MATT KENSETH: Well, the whole time I thought I might be able to hang on to it, but I wasn't real sure. You know, you're never confident or sure about it unless you're driving away from it. When you look in the mirror, you see both cars getting bigger, they're trying outside, they're trying inside, you're side by side, you're sideways at the same time, you know your chances aren't as good as winning as when you're in the front driving away obviously. That's the only time I feel at least fairly comfortable with it, is if you're in the front, you're driving away, and they're getting smaller behind you.
Q. Carl, you and Kyle Busch have had your arguments throughout the season. When you get word that he has engine problems and is out of the race, what are your feelings and thoughts on that?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, there's too much going on -- I believe there's too much going on in the sport to hang on to some sort of little grudge or something like that. So to me, I just think of each of the other 11 guys in the Chase, you know, as people I have to beat. You know, if they have trouble, or if they have a bad take or something, and we finish in front of them, that's good. But individually, it doesn't matter which one of them it is.
You know, if you're sitting there at the end of the year at the banquet, there's somebody in front of you in points, it doesn't matter who it is or what their name is, they're still in front of you in points. So I think of all of them as the same.
Q. You hear during the weekends things with the drug testing, lawsuits and all, a lot of distractions not on the track. When you have a lot of fun, like you did on the track today, is this a reminder of what the sport is about? Do you need days like this for the sport?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I think so. We all got into this because we like racing. I mean, I don't think any of us really thought we'd make a living at it or get to do all the peripheral stuff. So for me, that's fun. That's like when we get our junk cars and run them around out in the field, nobody's watching, you just race real hard. I mean, that's what that felt like to me.
So I don't know if it's good for the sport, but it's definitely good for me.
MATT KENSETH: None of that's really a distraction for me. I guess it is kind of for you guys. You guys cover all that. But I'm certainly not one bit worried about drug testing. Obviously I think that's a good thing. I think we all want to be racing out there knowing everybody is on the up and up. So I think that's a good thing.
The rest of that stuff, I don't know. The more you guys cover that stuff, the more we can think about racecars. I don't really pay attention to any of that stuff too much. I mean, you read the headlines, but it's not really a distraction. All I really worry about is how fast we can get our car to run.
Q. Kyle Busch has given up on the championship after two races. Matt, you had a great day today, made up 10 points. Is he dead, gone and out of this thing?
MATT KENSETH: No.
Q. Carl, Bob was apologizing to you with 20 laps last. Talk about that decision on the last pit stop. You're leading the points. Do you feel people are racing you or Greg Biffle since he won?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. Bob has been doing a really good job quitting smoking. I guess he's over there half a pack already gone, frustrated. He's real mad at himself. He said, you know, he got all mad, then I guess he took his radio off and he didn't even hear me telling him that I think he did a good job. That was a 50/50 call. Bob's awesome. I mean, you know, if we would have taken four tires and the four guys behind us would have taken two, I don't think we'd have been able to pass all of them. I thought we were doing what we needed to do considering how we ran on two tires earlier.
I don't remember the other part. Oh, Greg or me. It really doesn't matter. You just race as hard as you can and get as many points as you can.
It's fine with me. I like leading the points. It's great. It means that we've got the most points. That's the best position you can be in. So I'm enjoying it.
Q. How much of a comfort is it knowing that you got a 210-point lead on the 18 after you spent most of the regular season chasing him?
CARL EDWARDS: I mean, it just doesn't -- it's great. You know, but it doesn't matter. You know, it just doesn't matter individually who's in what position. I think one of the interesting things is before the Chase started, you know, there for a little while, everybody was writing and talking about it's gonna be Kyle and myself and we were going to be the guys racing for the championship. Lo and behold, here Greg's won all the races in the Chase so far. You know, I think this thing could be so different in a month from now. I mean, you know, Kyle could be leading the points a month from now. He could win all the races, have some bad luck. I still think it's too early to speculate. It just doesn't matter right now, you know.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you for your time.
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