Spots In Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup
Ford drivers Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after finishing in the top 12 of the point standings following Sunday's rain-delayed race at Richmond International Raceway.
· Matt Kenseth kept his streak of making every chase intact since the format’s inception while Roush Fenway teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle will join him in the 12-driver field
· Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are the only two drivers to make the chase in each of its five seasons. Kenseth has finished 8th, 7th, 2nd, and 4th in his previous four chase appearances.
· This will mark the third appearance in the chase field for Edwards, who finished a career-best third in his rookie season of 2005. He finished ninth overall last season.
· Biffle will be making his second trip into the chase and first since finishing second to champion Jimmie Johnson in 2005.
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 32nd) – “It’s very disappointing. I felt like the first 100 or so laps we had a top five car and the AAA Ford seemed to be pretty quick. It just seemed to turn a corner sometime after lap 100 there we didn’t have they speed. We brought out that one caution and seemed to have poor track position and the car really fell off on the long run. We’ll have to get it back and check things over and see if anything crazy happened, but a good effort by the AAA team, and certainly this one race doesn’t dictate how our season has gone. We’ve got 10 more races to try and get a win and certainly to finish 13th in points is our goal now, but running back there 30th and 25th, you don’t deserve to make the chase running like that.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 39th) – “That’s one of worst races I probably could have drove, so it was very frustrating and very disappointing. I’m glad we’re in in a way, but in another way with the way we’re operating, I don’t think we’ll be a factor when we get there. We’ve just got to get rolling and get back into getting some good finishes and get working together and doing all that. None of our cars were very fast today. We really missed it on the short track stuff for some reason. I don’t know, David spun out getting in there and I spun out as soon as he spun, so I think there was some oil up there or something. I can’t remember ever spinning out going into a corner, so when he spun, I saw him and I just kind of froze and waited a second and my car just spun right with him. If he wouldn’t have spun in front of us, it would have been a different day. We weren’t that good, we weren’t gonna run with the leaders, but it was probably a top-15 car maybe.” HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEXT 10 TRACKS? “I don’t feel very good about next week and probably Martinsville. Our short track stuff hasn’t run like it used to for some reason. We’re missing something with that combination, but our bigger track stuff seems to be running OK. Our Dover stuff is good and Carl’s been good at all the mile-and-a-halfs and big tracks, so I feel pretty good about the big tracks and don’t feel too good about the short tracks after today.”
DAVID RAGAN PRESS CONFERENCE – “I felt like we started the race off pretty good. I was happy with the car driving good and sometime after that third stop, we just seemed to lose it. We brought out that caution and got up too high and slapped the wall. It was kind of a freak incident. I felt like I had a right-rear going down. We pitted and everything was fine there and I felt that we still had a shot to get a top-10 or top-15 finish, but after 5 or 10 laps on a run we just went downhill. The car was wicked loose and I was barely able to drive without wrecking, so it was just kind of a long, frustrating day, like Kasey said, back there in the back. And poor track position, you couldn’t pass and just couldn’t go anywhere.”
HOW MUCH CONSOLATION DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR IMPROVEMENT SO FAR THIS SEASON? “Regardless of how we ended up today, I told everyone before the race that whether we made the chase or not wasn’t gonna solely be on the Richmond race. I can look back at three or four races earlier in the year we didn’t do a good job that resulted in the loss of a few points and also some races we had run good and everything was fine. So certainly everything is easier the second time around. Our speed has been in the race car, it’s just a matter of making good decisions on Saturday or Sunday. We’ve still got 10 more races to go. It certainly would be a disappointment if this was Homestead and this was it, but we’ve still got 10 more races to go to try to finish 13th in points, try to get a win out of the year and get some more top fives and get ready for next year.”
WERE YOU COGNIZANT OF WHERE THE OTHER GUYS WERE DURING THE RACE? “No, I never heard anything on the radio all day about where the guys were running. Basically, we had our hands full trying to make adjustments on the car and making sure the fenders weren’t rubbing, listening to where the leaders were at trying not to go a lap down, so we had our hands full today and the bottom line is I was driving as hard as I could to get the next spot or the next position. You never know what may be around the next corner, so, no, I never heard anything throughout the day from Jimmy or the spotter on where everybody else was running, but, obviously, when they’re in front of you, you can look at them and see where they’re at.”
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SPIN? “I just got really loose getting into turn one and chased it up the hill, and it looks like Matt was tucked up underneath me and as I was spinning around, he actually, I think he touched my left-front and kind of straightened me back up, which hurt him, but allowed me to keep on going and not hit so hard. I haven’t seen a replay of it, but I told the guys that maybe we had a tire going down or it seemed like something happened pretty abruptly that our car hadn’t had that characteristic all weekend and had that the rest of the race, so that’s something we’ll have to diagnose when we get back to the shop.”
IT SEEMED LIKE THINGS WENT SOUTH WHEN THE 01 GOT INTO YOU LATER. “The bottom line was Clint was on the bottom and just punted the 01 and shot the 01 up the track. I was on his right-rear quarterpanel and ran into him. I thought I might have had Clint about staying where I could have got around the 01 and maybe put a car between us, but he did what he had to do. He just gave the 01 a shot and I happened to be on the outside of him.”
MATT KENSETH PRESS CONFERENCE – YOU’VE MADE EVERY CHASE. “Yeah, I guess. I’m glad we’re in. It was a disappointing day. I was pretty much in the way of everybody all day. I was pretty much a rolling chicane after David spun in front of me and then as soon as he spun, I spun. I didn’t really have anywhere to go. I don’t know if there was oil out there or what it was, it was just weird. His car turned sideways and spun out and then mine did. After that, it pretty much ruined our day. We tried to fix it and got black-flagged for sheetmetal hanging off or something and lost a couple of laps and then everything just kind of snowballed from there, so I’m glad I’m in, but if we operate like this, we won’t do anything in here anyway, so everybody that’s in wants to run for the championship and we’ve got a lot of improvement to do to do that.”
BEFORE THE WRECK YOU SEEMED TO HAVE A DECENT CAR. DOES THAT GIVE YOU ANY OPTIMISM GOING INTO THE CHASE? “Well, I mean, we started fairly close to the front without qualifying and in that particular run, I think it was about an 80-lap run or something like that, it was a really long run. We’d run really bad for 25 or 30 laps and then the last 30 or 40 laps of the run we could run pretty good, but we’d lose so much ground in the beginning. It looked like it was better than it probably was because we weren’t around a lot of cars and could use a lot of the track and build our momentum. Like I said, the last 30 laps of a fuel run or 40 laps of a fuel run it was pretty fast, but the first part was pretty treacherous.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Finished 13th) – PRESS CONFERENCE – YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE CHASE AS THE SECOND SEED. “I think today was a good example of how our team could work with a little bit of adversity and under pressure. We did a really good job of coming back from a flat tire and a little wreck there. I thought my guys did a really good job, so I’m real excited about starting the chase. This is gonna be really fun. I’m just looking forward to getting rolling on it. I wish we could start that race at New Hampshire tomorrow.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 14th) – PRESS CONFERENCE – “I’m excited to be back in the chase after missing it for two years. We certainly worked really hard. We haven’t got any wins this year, so that’s been a little bit of a struggle for us, but we’ve had really, really, good solid runs and that’s what we’re gonna need in the chase to get up there in points. It was a little bit of a struggle today, but I’m looking forward to Loudon and getting onto some better race tracks and some mile-and-a-halfs that we run really good at, but just excited to get our car back in the chase.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WHAT DOES THIS CHASE LOOK LIKE WITH JIMMIE COMING ON? “Yeah, and I mean it’s not just Jimmie. I mean, look at how Tony ran today and Kevin and these two guys up here (Burton and Biffle). When everybody started talking about that (just a Kyle, Carl and Jimmie battle for the title), I did get a little bit of a chuckle out of it because that would be the best case if you just had to race one other guy, but today was a good example. A flat tire for me. Kyle getting caught up in the wreck. Jimmie going out and dominating and winning, anything can happen. A couple of races like that and it could be a whole new field of people that weren’t predicted to be up front, so, yeah, I think it’s gonna be a lot of guys. I think it’s gonna be defined by your bad days just like it usually is.”
DO YOU WORRY WHEN YOU SEE JIMMIE FINISHING LIKE HE HAS OF LATE GOING INTO THE CHASE? “Sometimes during driver runarounds the track, people will flash their t-shirts up at you and I noticed that Jimmie brought his buddy, Nick Lachey, this week and that was the only bare chest I saw this whole runaround, so that was his strategy, I think, to kind of shock us and it worked. It had me distracted – that hairy chest – and I didn’t need that before the race started, so Jimmie is working magic from all angles. I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh look, there’s Nick Lachey! Ohhh.’ They’re pretty funny guys.”