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Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing - Q&A

Matt Kenseth locked himself into the 2013 Chase with his fifth win of the year, in what's proving a wildly successful first season with his new team Joe Gibbs Racing.
In the post-race press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, race winner Matt Kenseth spoke to the media along with crew chief Jason Ratcliff and car owner Joe Gibbs.

Q:
Let's roll right into our post-race for tonight's 53th annual Irwin Tools Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Our race winner is Matt Kenseth. He drove the #20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. This was Matt's 29th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, his fifth win in 2013. That leads the Sprint Cup Series. It's his third win at Bristol, and with this victory tonight he assures himself of at least a wild-card position in the 2013 Chase. He's joined up front by his crew chief Jason Ratcliff and president of Joe Gibbs Racing, JD Gibbs. Matt, congratulations. Very exciting race here tonight at Bristol, held off Kasey Kahne there at the end and put on a great show for the fans. Talk about this win. This is a big win for you obviously as we get ready to set the Chase field.

Matt Kenseth:
It's a huge win for us. The Bristol night race is one of the biggest races of the year. It's one of the most fun races to win. It's been a while since we won one. Man, it was a dramatic finish. I really put Jason in a box by speeding on pit road so we had to do a strategy different, because of that my car got so tight and could barely hang on there at the end. I'm glad we were able to pull it out. If we wouldn't have, it would have been totally my fault, so I was glad we were able to come back from that. I had a great engine and had just enough speed to hang on.

Q:
Jason, just talk about some of the things that you had to overcome here tonight, obviously that pit road speeding penalty didn't put you in a great spot, but Matt had a great car and y'all did a great job getting it ready, but talk about how you overcame that.

Jason Ratcliff:
Well, we felt like we left something here in the spring. We felt like we had a good car here. You never know how these things are going to turn out, but we were looking forward to coming back to Bristol and getting another opportunity to do that. We weren't as good as we hoped we would be when we unloaded or hit the track on Friday, but we made a lot of changes. Guys did a lot of good adjustments on the car. Car had some speed tonight as Matt mentioned. He said he put me in a box. He put himself in a box and dug his way right out of it. He did a good job on 200-plus-lap right-side tyres. I told him we got our money's worth out of everything. His air-conditioner quit so we got the money's worth out of that one, money's worth out of the tyres, maybe half a gallon left of fuel there at the end. Everything worked out for us right to the end, and it was the same old Bristol, dramatic finish right at the end.

Q:
JD, if we set the Chase field tonight Matt would be the number one seed, but talk about how this win has to boost the momentum for the #20. Certainly as you look at your other cars, certainly the #18 is on the cusp of clinching a berth and then the #11 was sitting on the pole this weekend, but talk about this victory for the #20.

JD Gibbs:
It's a huge deal for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole. It meant a lot, and the best part, Matt just reminded me, we just saved $700 not putting right-side tyres on, so that was a good money saver.

Jason Ratcliff:
I think that's being conservative.

JD Gibbs:
I'm that Gibbs that actually cares about money. (Laughter.)

Matt Kenseth:
I'll attest to that. (Laughter.)

Q:
Matt, considering Kasey's feelings towards the Joe Gibbs Racing organization but his reputation as a clean racer, how did you think that last 12 or so laps would go? Did you think he would try to pass you cleanly or were you worried about what he might do if he got to you?

Matt Kenseth:
Well, first of all, I only drive the #20 so I am only responsible for what happens with that. But I knew it was going to be a hard race. We had a pretty good lead, and our car was getting real tight and we ran down I think the #43 and the #17. I wasn't fast enough to go past him. If I would have went underneath him, Kasey would have went underneath me and won the race so I had to patiently wait and thankfully they were really courteous and moved out of the way, moved down and I was able to get around them. And then we were just going really slow.




Related Pictures

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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, competing side-by side with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, in the closing laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS, qualified seventh Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Menard is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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