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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Quicken Loans 400

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Quicken Loans 400

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Quicken Loans 400

Matt Kenseth
June 17, 2012


KERRY THARP:  Congratulations and good luck out there at Sonoma.
Matt Kenseth, still our points leader, and he comes in here with a solid third-place finish.  He drives the No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and certainly you battled it and battled it the last couple of days and came away with a really good finish and you still got the points lead.  Talk about that.
MATT KENSETH:  Yeah, it was up‑and‑down day for us, we were fortunate to qualify good and the first couple restarts were not great but finally got our way to the front and had a good fuel‑only stop will and led a few laps, got behind in the pits, got behind that one time taking more fuel I guess than everybody else and resurfaced seventh and hard for me to get going on the bottom.  As soon as we pitted under the green, the next stop, we caught a yellow, so we got a lap down.
So from there, it was a battle back but we got the car pretty good at the end and we were able to make a pretty good charge and salvage a pretty good day out of it.

Q.  Can you sum up the weekend with the tire and with this race here at Michigan, did you enjoy racing here on this new repaved track, and what was your take on the tires?
MATT KENSETH:  You know, I did enjoy it.  It was very difficult at times, especially when you had four new tires on and they were just so hard and when you had people outside and the groove was‑‑ and you had a lot of air, so it was definitely a challenge, especially on short runs and on restarts with cold tires.
But overall, did a nice job with the track.  I don't know what they will do next time for tires.  It would be nice to have a little more grip when it's cold but yet they did a great job to bring some in here that wouldn't fall apart and that we could race on.
Overall I really like the track.  Your hope is that it gets wider before you can run anywhere on the racetrack, so your hope is it gets back to that sooner than later but overall I thought it was a competitive race and there was a lot of action out there.

Q.  You know Dale Jr. really well and known him for several years, what do you think this win means to him, and do you see him now emerging kind of as a championship contender because he's been so strong lately and was fairly dominant today?
MATT KENSETH:  Yeah, I don't know what it means for him personally to get that win but I know that even if he acts like it's not, it's probably a burden, having all your fans talking about you and writing stuff about you and not winning, but this year, you could see it was going to be a matter of time.  Really they have been the guys all year.
That 88 has had a ton of speed and always got finishes except for circumstances but they have been up there battling in the Top‑5 each and every week.  You could see they kept knocking on the door and today they were able to kick it down and dominated the race pretty good.  They were really fast all weekend and really happy for them to get that win.
And the championship part, I think they are definitely a contender.  I think they have been right up there in the mix each and every race, no matter, you know, what size or shape of racetrack, so I definitely think they are at this point in the season one of the favorites.

Q.  With all of the changes, was this race, how did it match up?  Was it as hard as you anticipated it to be or did you have an easier time adjusting?  Was it tough because of the changes?
MATT KENSETH:  Yeah, there was times when it was harder than I thought it was going to be and there was less times where it was better or easier.  It was extremely difficult, especially at lest for me, on four new tires and when they were cold and you're in traffic and you're on the bottom and really there was only one lane you wanted to be in, especially the way my car drove.
It was pretty difficult.  I don't think it was easier than what I thought.  As soon as they changed the tire, I knew it was going to be a challenge.  I think the other tire would have been easier to maneuver around the racetrack, but obviously the tire wasn't going to be able to hold up.  So I think everybody did really good to fix the situation and give us a little bit of practice and go out there and put on a race.
KERRY THARP:  Matt, congratulations.

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