Ford Pocono Friday (Kenseth)

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES   

Good Sam RV 500 Advance  

August 5, 2011   

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American Muscle

Pocono Raceway               

FORD POCONO FAST FACTS:

•    Two current Ford drivers have NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Pocono.  Carl Edwards has a pair of victories (2005 and 2008) while Greg Biffle won this event last season.

•    Carl Edwards is leading the NSCS point standings by 11 over second-place Jimmie Johnson.  Edwards will be making his 250th series start this weekend.

•    Edwards and Matt Kenseth are currently the only two Ford drivers qualified for the Chase.  Kenseth sits fifth in the point standings. David Ragan is 7 points behind Paul Menard for the second wild card position.

•    There are 13 Fords entered this weekend and nine of them are guaranteed spots in the field by virtue of being in the Top 35 of the owner standings.

The Roush Fenway Racing team of Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and David Ragan all conducted Q&A sessions with the media on Friday at Pocono Raceway.  Transcripts of all four press conferences follow:

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – WITH YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS ARE YOU MORE INCLINED TO TAKE RISKS AND TRY FOR THE WIN BONUS THESE LAST FEW RACES?  “We approach every weekend to finish the best we can.  You go into each and every weekend with the thought of winning and doing everything you can to win a race, and I don’t think that really changes.  I guess when you look at the last couple of weeks, like last week with the 27 winning and some of those guys in the top five with three of the guys in the top five making it on fuel, I don’t know, do you look at it gambling like that?  If we had to re-do the race last week, I think I would have done it the same way that we did it because we had a real fast car.  I thought we probably had the second-best car as far as performance and I thought we pitted that race and did our strategy to win the race.  We can’t control when cautions come out or when they don’t come out and the circumstances worked out for those guys to be able to win, but I still don’t think we’d do it any different no matter where we were in the points, so we really go into every week with the thought of winning and we try to call the race to win.  I don’t think that’s really gonna change down the stretch.”   

IT SEEMS A LOT OF THESE RACES ARE BEING DECIDED BY FUEL MILEAGE, SO DO YOU MAYBE TRY TO STRETCH IT NOW EVEN THOUGH YOU NORMALLY WOULDN’T?  “It’s easy to say that after the race is over, but what if there would have been a caution with 20 to go?  Then we would have had the strategy to win and they wouldn’t have, so it’s easy to say after the race.  It’s like being a Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy to say that because that’s the way it turned out, but in the middle of the race you didn’t know how it was going to go.  We spent most of the day up toward the front.  We could actually pass pretty good for being there because we were pretty fast and thought we did all the right things to win the race.  I don’t think those guys made it by much.  If they would have cleaned the grass up one lap earlier, those guys might not have made it and we would have been in a position to win.  You don’t know what circumstances you’re going to have, so you make decisions on the fly and make them with what you think your best chances to win is.”   

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CARL COMING BACK? “I think whatever is best for Carl is what he should have decided to do and obviously after looking at everything he figures this is best for him.  I think it’s good for the organization.  Carl has been kind of the face for Roush Fenway it seems like the last few years at least, and he brings a lot of excitement and energy to the organization and, obviously, he runs really well and has a big fan and sponsor following.  So I think it’s good for the team.”          

WHAT DOES IT DO FOR THE ENTHUSIASM OF ROUSH FENWAY?  “That’s a little bit hard for me to answer.  That would probably be a good one for Jack or Steve Newmark or Robbie, somebody that’s more involved with the whole company.  As far as the 17 team, none of that has been a distraction for us, or I don’t think it directly effects how we run on the race track or anything like that. But I think for probably the 99 team and probably the engineering department, stuff like that, it’s probably a good thing because they’re not thinking about it or asking questions about it or worried about it.  They can just think about winning races and championships, so it’s probably good for his group.”   

WHAT’S THE WORST TURN HERE AT POCONO?  “I don’t think there’s a worst.  They all present their challenges.  I’d say, to me, the easiest turn used to be turn one and that, to me, is one of the more challenging turns now because it’s so rough.  There’s really only one groove through there that’s very smooth at all and with the high speeds down there and down-shifting it’s really hard to hit that same groove every time and hit that corner perfect, so I think that, for me, is one of the more challenging turns.”   

SHIFTING WAS A BIG TOPIC THE FIRST TIME HERE.  IS IT STILL A BIG DEAL THIS TIME AROUND?  “I think it really was a fairly big deal in my eyes because there’s not a lot of attrition anymore. Tires don’t blow out very often and cars don’t break very often. There were a few guys who broke transmissions and lost third gear or had other things like that happen, so I think it was a big deal. Having the right equipment in the car, but also managing your shifts on when to shift and when not to, and how careful or aggressive to be because it seemed like the more you shifted, if you shifted in every corner it seemed like your lap time was faster, but then you also had to balance that out between making a mistake and breaking something or making sure you get closer to the end, so I think it’s a big deal.  It gives something different to manage and to work on during the race.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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