NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: AAA 400
Topics: AAA 400
September 27, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined in the infield media center by our third place finisher, driver of the No. 17, DEWALT Ford, Matt Kenseth. Matt, tell us about your run.
MATT KENSETH: Ended up being really good. We didn't qualify very good. But we were really happy with our car. When the race started I didn't think we were quite as good as we were yesterday. But we were able to have really good pit stops.
The tire blackened the track up, but for whatever reason it made it really, really difficult to pass. We got most of our drag draft position through pit stops and restarts. I kept getting in the proper lane on restarts and my car would run for two laps, and I'd get two or three spots. And you had to do it right there because there weren't many people that could pass very good.
So we had a nice solid day on pit road. And the car was okay, also, and was able to get a decent finish out of it.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by today's second place finisher, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST by Chevrolet, Mark Martin. Mark, tell us about your run.
MARK MARTIN: I'm really happy with the result. You know, we missed it just a little bit. Our car was just not right on and it showed itself quite a bit on the restarts. It would hang in there really well on the long run. But it wasn't a car that could contend to win.
So I thought it was a great result for a hard-fought race by my team. I'm really proud of my race team.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the media.
Q. Did the impending weather change the conditions at the start of the race? Kind of have to wash the rubber off? Kind of heard at the competition yellow that the rubber got put down pretty good. What was your opinion?
MARK MARTIN: For me, it took 150 laps before the track started kind of -- we washed all the rubber off. For me it was a real struggle until lap 150.
Q. Jimmie's won this thing three times in a row and a win today. What do you see as far as the Championship Chase coming down to? Is it going to have to go through the No. 48 team?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know. He's only been two races. All depends on what happens in the next four or five six.
Q. Given the success you've had here, are you gracious at all that one of the Chase races is here in Dover?
MARK MARTIN: Say that one more time.
Q. Just given your success here, the fact that Dover is a part of the Chase?
MARK MARTIN: That's a good thing. It's not a good thing to have Loudon in the Chase. But you we've stumbled around and gotten first place there. So this team's, you know, just really on a roll right now. So, you know, it's really, really proud of them.
Q. I think the only person who was happy with your finish other than you is Carl Edwards, because he's kind of rambling right now, want to pick your brain on the whole thing. Can a guy come back from where he is now sitting 11th in the Chase with two down? What can he do? What can you say to him?
MATT KENSETH: I think no matter where you're at in the points, whether you're in the Chase or out of the Chase or where we are, I think you always want to get your best effort and best finish every day.
My approach never changes. Everybody asks me. But it really never changes. I don't come to the racetrack and say, Man, I don't want to win today. I want to run fifth. So we always go to win.
He's going to continue to do that. It shouldn't be a big surprise. It wasn't a big surprise to me we missed the Chase. I saw it coming for three months. We haven't been performing. The whole company hasn't been performing the way it needs to to win a championship. And that's not being negative or anything. It's just obvious. Everybody can see that.
So it shouldn't really be a surprise, really. You know, where they're at. Considering the results we've had all year. You don't just turn it around overnight. So everybody at Roush Fenway is working really hard to get the cars better, be competitive. We got behind a little, and we're working hard to get that back.
So I'd like to say it's a step in the right direction. We had really good pit stops. Our car was reasonable, it wasn't blazing fast, and we were able to get a good finish.
Q. (Asking if he can you win the Chase on speed alone)?
MATT KENSETH: Just on speed, without any luck or anything changing, you never know. Like Mark said, there are eight races left. That's a ton of races. That's a lot of points to beat, 1400 points or something to be made. So anything can happen.
But just on speed do I think one of our company cars can win? No, I don't. But anything can happen. They might be able to get that fixed and get that turned around.
Q. Given the fact that the Chase is so close. You are racing your teammates. Are the teams still open in the final eight races or will there still be the amount of sharing that's occurred throughout the season?
MARK MARTIN: It's my first time to be a part of Motorsports. If you're asking if we continue to share, I expect to. Yesterday's debrief was just as open as any other race all year. And we race each other hard on the racetrack, but off the racetrack, we all work for the same goal together.
Q. Johnson was so dominant today, and he can't get much more dominant. Do you feel almost like he's taken his best shot?
MARK MARTIN: You'll have to holler. I can't hear.
Q. Sorry about that. Johnson was so dominant today. Do you feel you've taken his best shot? I mean, this is -- you're still ahead in points and he had an unbelievable race today.
MARK MARTIN: It's just two races. And I think a first and the second is a pretty good way to come out of the gate. But we've got eight more to go, and all kinds of things can happen.
You know, I still say that there's 12 in it, and 12 can win. You know, it might be a challenge for a couple of the teams that are toward the back right now. But you just don't have any concept, I guess, of how much racing eight races is. It's a lot of racing. A lot of things can happen.
Q. It was very, very difficult to pass out there today. It seemed like guys would get up on another car, and they'd be .3 or .4 faster and wouldn't be able to make the pass. How frustrating was it from a driver's standpoint to have a bit of a one-groove racetrack? Could good year have done anything differently or things played out any differently to get a better race where the drivers could have run side by side more?
MARK MARTIN: Well, I didn't see any tire failures all weekend, so let's don't forget that and let's commend them for that. This was an additional challenge. This was a harder race than we usually have is, more difficult, I think, for the teams and the drivers. The teams to get the cars set up, and the drivers to drive them.
It was a real challenge. But on the other side of that, I didn't see one failure all weekend. Congratulations Goodyear.
Q. I was just curious talking with one of the crew Chiefs this morning during the debrief, they said you had some valuable information about the fact that they were fighting loose all weekend, and you had some suggestions if are them. Do you think that maybe some of your suggestions helped the 48 beat you today?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know. We were really, really, really fast at the end of practice yesterday. It seemed like everybody was paying attention when I was talking about our practice and our car and how it went. I don't think we were in his league today.
We missed it just a little, little bit. But I certainly it would make me very proud if something I said helped them. Don't forget, you know, that was one of my major goals when they brought me in. To be able to make a contribution to Hendrick Motorsports. I hoped I might get a win, but I definitely wanted to at least be useful.
So we're going to race them. We're going to race our guts out no matter where he we wind up. And no matter how they are. That dude still is Superman in my book, you know. Looked like it today.
Q. You pretty much said it all about Jimmie. But what can you say about a guy who just got his 44th win. He ties Bill Elliot for 14th on the all time win list. And he's done this in eight years. What more can you say about Jimmie?
MARK MARTIN: Yeah. I think I just said it. I'm pretty sure that are dude's Superman. And, you know, I have had the opportunity to see up close. I'm telling you, I see why he is so successful. I see why. He works harder at it than anybody else, I think, on the circuit.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations and thank you for your time.
MARK MARTIN: Thank you, guys.
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