NASCAR » 23 February 2004
Ford Focus: Subway 400.
Ford finally broke a 13-race winless streak when Matt Kenseth clinched the Taurus' 75th Cup Series victory at Rockingham in North Carolina on Sunday. Kenseth's win marked the first for the Blue Oval since Kurt Busch won the night race at Bristol last in August.
The triumph snapped a 34-race winless stretch for the reigning Cup champion and gave Roush Racing an eleventh win in the last twelve Ford successes, dating back to the 2002 season and including each of the last seven victories. Ford now has 545 all-time wins in the Series, the most among manufacturers.
on holding out for the win:
"I was doing everything I could. Kasey [Kahne] almost got me in one and two one time. I didn't know whether to protect the bottom or the top, so I tried to protect the middle and get a good run off the corner and not overdrive the corner. The last lap, I had been loose off of four and I got up as high as I could to get a run down off the corner as good as I could and he got a good charge on me there. It was a close one."
on feeling how quick his pit-stops were:
"They [the pit crew] were on top of their game today. I think they wanted to come out and win the race today and show those boys on pit-road what they're made of too. This is the second year that these guys have been together as a group and you can really feel it. They've got the experience and they've got the enthusiasm. These guys are ready to go and tear it up this year."
on staying on the lead lap during a late race pits-top:
"We were already changing tyres. The first time [on lap 131], we didn't have a choice and the second time, [with 43 to go], I almost messed it up. They were going around and doing four and, luckily, they didn't listen to me and did what they were trained to do. It worked out good. We knew we were ahead of the field when they froze it, but it I still didn't know what they were gonna do when we pulled off of pit road. But I knew we were ahead of the field. We were further ahead the second time than we were the first time."
on making changes to the #19 car:
"We made some. I probably should have made more of a change the last couple of runs. I probably should have listened to [crew chief] Robbie [Reiser] a little more to tighten it up a little more. I was just too loose off the corner the last two runs and had to do everything we could to keep our DEWALT car out front. It was a handful at the end. In the middle of the race, it was just on cruise and it was awesome, but we lost the handle just a little bit at the end."
on finishing 40th:
"Something happened to the engine. I came off of turn two and it quit running. It's unfortunate. We had a great race car, but things like that are gonna happen. It's part
of it. If you're gonna be in this business, things are gonna happen like that and you just have to forget about it and move on to the next race. Mike did a really good job of giving me something I could race with. We weren't as fast as those guys on new tyres, but our car was really good on the long runs. He's got a good outlook on things and we'll get ready for them in a couple of weeks in Vegas."
on worrying about DNFs under the new point system:
"It's no different than it ever was. For the first 26 [events], you race the same way. You don't want them, but you're gonna have them so you just have to minimise the mistakes."
on engine problems with partners Roush:
"I have no idea what it has to do with. You'd have to talk to the motor guys."
on staying positive:
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