Lenox Industrial Tools Qualifying Quotes
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, addressed the media this morning as part of his weekly Q&A session. Following is a transcript of that press conference.
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEK? “I don’t know. We’re running the COT car, so it’s a big, flat one-mile track and we haven’t been at a track exactly like that with that car yet, so that’s a little bit of an unknown, but I think we’ve got those cars better than what we had when we started the season, so, hopefully, we can get a good run in here.”
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO FENWAY PARK AND HOW HAS THE FENWAY MERGER AFFECTED YOU? “I’m looking forward to going up to Fenway Park tonight, so it’s gonna be exciting. I’ve never been up there before and never seen the place. From the competition side, it’s been the same. We’ve always worked as hard as we can to try to win races and championships and that’s what we’re still doing, so that’s all been the same. On the marketing side, they’ve had a lot of exciting stuff going on and it’s been a great partnership so far. I think it’s gonna be really good in the long run.”
HAVE YOU SEEN ANY INCREASE IN FANS APPROACHING YOU WITH RED SOX HATS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT? “Not a dramatic increase yet, but this is the first time since the merger that we’ve been up in the northeast, so I’m sure there will be more here than there have been so far.”
IT APPEARS TEAMS NEED TO HAVE DEPTH WITH ALL OF THESE CREW CHIEF SUSPENSIONS. HOW DID THAT AFFECT YOUR TEAM EARLIER IN THE YEAR? “I think four cars out of the top 10, if I’m not mistaken, have all had basically the same penalty so that’s probably the first time that’s ever happened in a season, so, obviously, they’re taking all this a lot more seriously than they ever have before. They’re policing things tighter and it’s different than what it’s ever been, so I think like any other sport, you want to build your team with as much depth as you can and the best quality people that you can, and it all starts with leadership. If the crew chief and team managers and those people have done their jobs, just taking one person out at the race track shouldn’t make a big difference. They’re still at the shop and preparing everything and getting everything ready and doing all that. It still makes a difference, but if you have a real good team and you have a lot of depth, it shouldn’t make a huge difference just functioning through the weekend.”
LOOKING BACK AT DAYTONA, DID THAT CATCH YOU OFF GUARD AND HOW FAST WERE YOU ABLE TO ADAPT? “I was caught very, very off guard at Daytona because I honestly didn’t know anything about it. I had no clue that we had anything going on or that we even had a chance of being in any trouble. I know we had no shot at the pole and that was the last thing that was on my mind. I was already back in North Carolina because they’ve done the schedule real nice the last few years and we get Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, so it wasn’t on my mind at all so I was real surprised, but we were able to pick the pieces up and get running fine, but we still had that 100-point deficit starting the season, which is always a tough thing and it definitely took us a few weeks to rebound from that and get closer, and you never know what’s gonna happen. We’ve had two bad weeks and might never rebound from it. You might miss the chase because of those 100 points. You never know what would happen.”
LENOX INDUSTRIAL TOOLS 300 QUALIFYING
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Boston Red Sox Ford Fusion (Qualified 22nd) – ARE THESE NEW CARS HARDER TO DRIVE THAN THE OTHERS? “Yeah, a little bit more difficult to drive. It’s just awesome to have the Red Sox/Lumber Liquidators car this week. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. We’re headed over to Fenway Park right now to go to the game, so it’s gonna be a good time. But, yeah, it’s definitely harder to drive. I got out of that Scotts Fusion in the Busch Series and got in this car here and it’s just way more touchy and really difficult to drive, but I think that makes it a little bit more fun in the race.” AN EARLY DRAW HERE IS HARD TO OVERCOME. DID THAT HURT YOU TODAY? “Yeah, the track is pretty slippery right now, but I just got loose off of turn two and kind of screwed up my lap a little bit. That’s how it goes. We’ll see how we end up, but this is gonna be a very tough race. I think it’s gonna be one of the toughest races yet. The cars are so touchy to drive that it’s gonna be interesting.” DO YOU LIKE THE TRACK? “Yeah, I love the race track. It’s fun. The Busch race is gonna be a blast. I’m just curious to see how this Red Sox Fusion works on Sunday. We were pretty good at the end of practice. I think we missed the boat just a little bit in qualifying, but it could be good in the race.”
BILL ELLIOTT – No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion (Qualified 37th) – “You get what you’ve got and that’s all we’ve got. The things you sometimes think you can capitalize on, you never can. It doesn’t take much in this business to miss something just a little bit and when you start out, you just never seem to be able to get to where you need to be. That’s kind of where we’ve been in practice.” IS THIS THE TOUGHEST TEST YET FOR THE NEW CAR AS FAR AS GETTING IT TO TURN TO YOUR LIKING? “It will be for me. The guys that ran Martinsville and some of these places have that little bit of extra time on me on the flatter stuff and that’s where I’ve tried to get going to where I need to be. I’m trying to help figure these things out and we’ll just give it our best shot and see where we end up.”
ROBBY GORDON – No. 7 Menards/MAPEI Ford Fusion (Qualified 16th) – “We were seventh in practice and sitting here 10th now, I’m not gonna complain about qualifying. I’m not a very good qualifier anyway. I always feel that my racing comes into play better than my qualifying. If we could qualify inside the top 15, I’ll be happy with that and we’ll just continue to work hard. This is our car of tomorrow program and this is what we’re gonna be racing next year, so, for us, this is the bright side because we’ve got a lot of positives to look forward to going into next season.” HOW IS IT TO GET THIS CAR TO TURN ON THIS TRACK? “We went to Milwaukee before coming here and that helped us. The guys at Ford encouraged us to do that and we did, and I think it definitely helped us. We just bounced a little bit too much into turn four and into turn one. If we didn’t bounce that hard, we ran a .67 in practice which would have put us fourth right now. That’s the best we ran. We slowed down eight-hundreths of a second over our best lap. Normally, we pick up and do our best lap in qualifying.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Qualified 33rd) – IS IT A HANDFUL TO TURN THESE CARS? “Actually ours turns fairly well. There on the qualifying lap I was just looking for a little extra forward bite. I felt like I got through the center pretty good and got to the throttle a little early and was just chasing it up on exit each lap. I really thought we could run a little better than that. I feel like maybe there’s a tenth or two-tenths laying out there if I would have drove it a little different. It was just a little loose for me, but our AAA Ford Fusion was pretty fast when we first unloaded and I feel like in race trim we’ll be alright even though we’re gonna have to do that coming from somewhere towards the back.”
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