Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Texas Motor Speedway – November 3, 2013Camry driver Matt Kenseth (fourth) was the top-finishing Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Finishing Position: 4th
What happened when you got the pit road speeding penalty?
“We were just being too aggressive. Honestly, the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) had us from the time they unloaded until the time they put it back on the truck. They were just dominant all weekend. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and this whole Home Depot crew did a great job today of making adjustments trying to get it better. That speeding penalty got us behind — we definitely didn’t need that, but really I don’t know at the end of the day if that really affected our finish much. We just didn’t have what we needed to get any farther forward.”
How will you approach Phoenix?
“I thought overall tonight was a pretty good night. If I wouldn’t have messed up, maybe we could have ran second. Just go there and hope we have the car to win and go there just to be aggressive, race hard and get a good finish.”
How was the race?
“Qualified good, had really good pit stops and my team did a great job. I didn’t do such a great job. I was a little too aggressive on trying to get what we could on pit road there and got away from us. I cost us a little bit there at the end. Had some good adjustments, we just honestly never had the car to run with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I was a little off tonight — just could never get the balance and get it driving exactly like we hoped. Overall, it was a good night and we’re still in this thing. We head to Phoenix and hope we can go there and run up front and have a car to win.”
How is your confidence with two races remaining, seven points out of the lead?
“I’m still confident. I wish I was seven points ahead, but at the end of the day it’s in our hands. If you win both of the last two races and the math works out to where you still win it so it’s still in our hands. I have I think the greatest race team out there and we’re going to go there, work as hard as we can and try to get the best finishes we can and see where it ends up.”
Will you change strategy in the final two races?
“The strategy part is really easy. As the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) has proven time and time again, if you’re going to win a championship you have to win races and you have to go through him. We’ve had the same strategy since the first race of the Chase to the last one. You go try to qualify the best you can, lead as many laps as you can and try to win the race.”
Is the championship still up for grabs?
“We’re right in it. As good as my team is, even if nobody has any trouble — if we hit everything right we can have days like he (Jimmie Johnson) had today and we’ve had them this year. I still feel good. I’m confident, I’m looking forward to getting to Phoenix.”
Was the handling of the car off today?
“We were just a little off here. Honestly, throughout the test and throughout the day it just never got to drive like I really love. We made big improvements in the spring — in the spring we were really off and it is kind of ironic because statistically this has probably been my best track of my career until this year. We’re just a little off. I just couldn’t help them enough to give them the information they needed to get in the car what I needed to run a little bit better. It’s all on me, we just worked hard that first race, came and tested, worked hard through all the practice sessions, threw a lot of stuff at it and just never had it quite good enough.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot ‘Let’s Do This’ Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued)
Is seven points insurmountable against Jimmie Johnson?
“It’s not insurmountable. It’s still in your hands. The math works out if you win the last two races. It’s still in our hands,
it’s not like we have to have somebody have trouble. If we go out there and can out run everybody for two weeks then it’s
ours. We just go with that mindset and we’re still in this thing after eight weeks and we’re going to go try to get it.”
Are you surprised this is Jimmie Johnson’s first intermediate victory of 2013?
“Through all the years I’ve raced with that group (48 team), I haven’t seen them really bad anywhere. I think some of its circumstances, I mean he dominated Charlotte — just dominated the whole race at Charlotte and got beat at a late-race caution there. They are pretty darned good everywhere and you know they are, you know they are going to be on their game every week. We’ve had our game every week too and we’ve been a little off here and there, but man, we’ve been pretty competitive all the time.”
How do you feel going to Phoenix next week?
“I feel great going to Phoenix. We had a really great car there in the spring. We were really good at Loudon (N.H.), we were really good at Martinsville so I’m looking forward to getting there.”
What happened to cause the pit road speeding penalty?
“Everybody tries to use the lines to your advantage as much as you can and I just got out of my stall faster than I thought so when we got to that next segment I guess we were just going too fast. It was my bad. Even though I didn’t go past where we were supposed to go past, we just miscalculated a little bit and should have backed that down a little bit.”
Did you feel confident about getting back up front after the pit road speeding penalty?
“After they told me that I sped, there wasn’t anything I could do about that except for try to get back up there. Just came down pit road, took our lumps and tried to keep adjusting on our car and try to get all the position we could get. They came through with good stops and they did all the right stuff — I just couldn’t get up there any farther.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 13th
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was the race car?
“The Snickers Toyota Camry was fast — really proud of my race team. The guys did a good job. We had a tire problem early and the guys did a great job of fixing the race car. That wasn’t a bad wreck, but it was bad enough where it could have ruined our day and they all jumped in there and got the side pulled back out, got it away from the tires and the car still had speed in it. Kyle (Busch) did a phenomenal job of keeping us in the game and just keep chipping there. Kyle thought we had another tire going down, we short-pitted and it ended up working out in our favor strategy-wise and gained a lot of track position. Things were looking pretty good there, but like I told Kyle after the race — on a team, everybody is giving 100 percent and when everybody is giving 100 percent sometime they give 100.1 and that .1 gets you in trouble. Kyle feels terrible today because he sped on pit road late in the race, but this is a team and we’ve got his back. He was giving us all he had to give us the best finish possible and we took a little bit more than what was there. That’s okay, we’ll go to Phoenix and Homestead and race them.”
How do you feel about the remaining two Chase races?
“It’s the same as what we said at the beginning of the Chase — we’re going to race as hard as we can race for 10 races and at the end we’re going to see where the points put us. Hopefully, it’s good enough to be first. Realistically, at this point with two races left you’re probably not going to out-race the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 20 (Matt Kenseth) to accumulate more points than them to win the championship, but anything can happen. They can speed on pit road, they can have a failure, they can have a wreck. We’re going to give the next two races 100 percent and if them guys stumble a little bit then hopefully we’re there to capitalize.”MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 14th
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 30 Swan Energy/Lean 1 Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Finishing Position: 18th
ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 19th
How was the race?
“I wish I could give these guys a little better feedback on what I needed. We went a little bit the wrong way there in the middle of the race, but they made some good adjustments there at the end and we were fast — really, really fast. I’m just learning to work with these guys and they are giving me everything they’ve got. The Aaron’s Dream Machine was good there at the end of the race and we made good improvements. We learn from this one and take this momentum to Phoenix.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 28th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 32nd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 36th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 40th