NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Topics: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
October 27, 2013
KERRY THARP: We're going to roll into our post‑race for today's 65th annual Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger, and our third‑place finisher in today's race was Clint Bowyer. He drove the No. 15 5‑hour Energy Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. Maybe just talk about the race out there today for you.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it was too tight, too tight pretty much the whole race. We were really good in practice. I was pretty optimistic going into the race. But I knew I was in trouble first few laps on the track. I was just really bound up through the middle. I wish I was in as good a mood as he is. That was a good bullet dodged today for you, wasn't it.
MATT KENSETH: No. If you would have had been driving you would have won.
CLINT BOWYER: Well, we won't go there.
But proud of Pattie and all the guys on the 5‑Hour Energy Toyota, of course, but this was one that I felt like after the last few races here we'd have a shot at winning.
KERRY THARP: And Matt Kenseth came in second today, and he's the driver of the No.20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. You and Jimmie are currently tied in the points race. You would get the tiebreaker based on your number of wins. But you were in here Friday talking about Martinsville, and this has got to be one of your‑‑ maybe the best feelings you've had coming out of here. Obviously wanted to win, but can't feel bad after a second‑place finish.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I mean, whenever your team puts you in front for that last run and you're out there leading, you get beat, you're always a little bit disappointed. I just got beat by honestly experience and a better driver of this track. I was hesitant to change my line and do the things he was doing because what I was doing got me there and just got too tight at the end, which I wish I could do it over. I just got slowed up with some lapped cars and he got by. But overall it was a great day. I felt really optimistic coming into today. We had a great car in practice. It was an up‑and‑down day with our strategy that time, we got behind, but overall we had a really good car, and not as happy as Jeff but happy to run second.
Q. I don't know what exactly lap it was, but you were‑‑
MATT KENSETH: This will be easy to answer.
Q. You know what you did. You were on your radio, and you were saying that I guess you didn't pit, and it's what got you stuck back there in the traffic and you kept apologizing to your team. Let's address that first.
MATT KENSETH: Well, when we got in the back, we were leading or running 2nd or something and had three‑ or four‑cycle tires, and I felt I slipped the tires real bad a couple times on the previous restart, and that was when the 48 and that whole group pitted and we stayed out and we went all the way back to half a straightaway ahead of the leader, we backed up so bad. It was Jason's call and I ended up really‑‑ everything worked really good because we kept working on our car, got it better. But at the time I was like, man, I should have helped him more and told him I slipped the tires and felt like it was going to go backwards, so that was that call, I think.
Q. And then after the race ended you said over your radio, man, I screwed us up today. I'll tell you about it later.
MATT KENSETH: That was mostly just talking about me being hesitant to get off my line. I was running by the curb all day, and that's what got me there, and I never had enough breathing room on Jeff to move up and run the line that a lot of them were on entry to run higher and then drive straighter off the corner. And I think at the end of the day I hurt me. It made the car too tight. At the two‑thirds mark, I would just start sliding the nose, and I think some of that was because I was hesitant to get off that line, but I just never had enough cushion on him to do it and as soon as I would move around a little bit he would immediately gain two car lengths, because it usually takes you a couple laps to figure out exactly where it is, and he was just always too close. I just never could really try it to see where the lap time difference was.
Q. So all in all you leave here second, you finish second‑‑
CLINT BOWYER: Is this a conversation?
Q. So you leave with a second‑place finish, you're tied atop the points at Jimmie's track. Are you pleased with your day even though you didn't win?
MATT KENSETH: Is that the end of your question?
Q. I'm done.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I mean, gosh, for how Martinsville has been for me, how could you not be pleased. I mean, I think we led the most laps and finished second. The only guy happier is Jeff. Again, you're always a little disappointed when your crew puts you out front at the end and you can't hold on. I always feel that's on me because they put me there and gave me the shot, but overall what a great weekend. I really felt like if we came out of here in the lead or tied or close to it, I really felt like we got what it takes to race in the last three races. I feel like when my team is at its best and we do everything right, I feel like we can race anybody at these next three tracks. I feel good about that. Anything can happen, but man, we're in it, and we're going to three really good tracks, so hopefully we can perform here the next three weeks and have a race.
Q. Matt, is it just down to you two guys now? I know Jeff won but he's 26, 28 points now. Realistically is it just the two of you?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know anything that happened. I've got to be totally honest with you, I haven't looked at the points. Somebody told me Jimmie and I are tied. I have no idea. I think if you're within a race anything can happen. I think if you're more than a race behind multiple drivers, I think that makes it tough. I think if you're whatever you can get in a race, 48 points, if you're more than that behind more than one driver, more than two drivers, I think that's hard to overcome with three races to go. But as we've seen through the years, anything can happen. You just never know what's going to happen.
Q. For Clint, I know you hate all these guys, so it probably doesn't matter, but when you're racing Matt there at the end, does it cross your mind, hey, he's got a shot at the title, or are you just going for the second spot to get to it?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it definitely did. I was pretty gingerly going in because I had been loose in and I didn't want to drive it in any harder than I did getting into three because that one point didn't mean nearly as much as it could have cost him. But a fellow Toyota driver, we owe it to each other to do that, and certainly it wasn't for the win. If it was for the win he would have probably got out of the way because I'm pretty hungry. But that wasn't a big deal. Certainly on my mind, yeah.
Q. The outside lane was so treacherous it seemed like today that guys were playing games coming out of the pits. I think once, Clint, you appeared to stop near the exit to make sure you were going to get the odd number so you could be on the inside for a restart. Could you both address that? Seemed like the inside was the place to be.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, it was‑‑ it's just the nature of the beast here. You know, we got jumbled up there going for the inside. The 48 was very, very aggressive for the point leader to be dive bombing to the inside. I was all over the brakes to keep from running him over a couple times. But that's how important it is to get to the inside on these restarts.
It's not always that way. I mean, sometimes you can take advantage of somebody, maybe with too low of air it takes their tires to come in a little bit. They wash up and if you can keep them pinched down, you can get around them but you'd better get your business done quick. If you don't, within two corners you're in trouble because they're stacked up on the bottom.
MATT KENSETH: Was I supposed to answer that, too?
Q. Yes, please.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, inside is always better here. I didn't think the outside was any worse than usual, but I had a really, really good race car, too. The outside has obviously never been the preferred groove here. I don't know if it was any worse than usual. It seemed like when they cleaned the track up it was okay. If you had a real quick caution and the track wasn't clean, it was more difficult and I can't count that high to see where I'm going to be coming off pit road so I just get out of there as quick as I can.
Q. You just kind of answered what I was going to ask you, but I guess I'll ask Clint, did it ever actually impact your strategy coming off pit road to try to get an odd‑numbered start on the inside?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, you've got to‑‑ you know what I mean? Rules are rules, but you've got to take 100 percent advantage of all of them. That's certainly one of them.
Q. Clint, this is your best finish of the Chase, and I guess you moved up two spots in the standings to sixth. Considering the way you started the Chase, you get didn't off the way you had hoped; nice turnaround. Where would you like to be, I guess, when it ends?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, I've always had a goal of the top 5, and I guess I always have been except for that year that we got in trouble there the first race or whatever a few years back.
But you just take pride in being part of an elite group. Really to be honest with you, the elite group is the Chase, but if you can be inside the top 5, usually‑‑ if you can run good enough to be inside the top 5, a lot of times you'll have some sort of a shot at a championship. But certainly not the Chase that any of us was hoping for for our team, but we did that to ourselves, you know what I mean, and we've just got to make the most of the situation we're in, and certainly a good day like today does a lot towards that.
Q. Matt, coming into today, pretty much everybody was saying this was Jimmie's place and you needed to minimize your point loss, but in the end you gained points today. When you get home tonight sitting in the living room and nobody else is around, will you kind of give a big one finger salute to all of us that we're counting that out and letting us know you're still in contention for this thing?
MATT KENSETH: No, absolutely not. I do have to say, though, I felt like today was an opportunity. I felt like today was an opportunity to get our‑‑ to get a point lead back. I honestly did. We just had a great day on Friday and Saturday, and I know Jimmie is always the man here, and he's still the man here along with Jeff and Denny for sure. That group is always lights out. But I really woke up this morning feeling like‑‑ went to bed last night feeling like we had a chance to win clock. I know that sounds crazy because I haven't had that many good runs here, but we ran good in the spring, we were terrific at Loudon which has always been my worst track and this has probably been my second‑worst track, and Jason and the whole group at JGR gave us such good cars to drive. I can't tell you where I knew we were going to finish or what we were going to do, but I felt like today we were going to have a shot to win. I couldn't be much happier, but I am disappointed I got beat there at the end. I wish I could have done something a little better. I feel good about the weekend. I fell like we can go do some racing here in the next three weeks.
Q. Your crew chief was mentioning something about a little bit of confusion on a pit stop at one point that he felt like kind of hurt you guys a little bit. Do you recall the stop?
MATT KENSETH: No. No. I mean, I don't know if he was talking about when we didn't pit that time. There was that one time which I answered earlier that we probably‑‑ hindsight is 20/20. We probably should have pitted. We got so far behind. But it's funny. I saw Jason on pit road. I said, that's exactly how you planned the race, right, the strategy? He was like, oh, yeah, absolutely. It all worked out in the end. Certainly at the time it didn't feel very good because we were way in the back and we kept getting those little short runs and we could never get off cycle on tires to drive to the lead, and that took about 100 laps of our race away kind of to get back there.
But in a way it was okay. I think it made us work harder on our car. Certainly had to work hard to get to where we were at.
Q. (No microphone.).
MATT KENSETH: No, I don't think there was any confusion. He wanted me to stay out and I stayed out. I probably should have done a better job conveying what I thought of my rear tires at the time and maybe we would have made a difference choice, but it all worked out in the end.
KERRY THARP: Nice run here today. We'll see you at Texas.
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