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April 19, 2015

Joe Gibbs

Matt Kenseth

Jason Ratcliff


KERRY THARP:テつ Let's hear from our winning crew chief and our winning car owner.テつ The No.20 Dollar General Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing goes to victory lane.テつ We're joined by race team owner, Coach Joe Gibbs and crew chief Jason Ratcliff.テつ Congratulations to both of you.テつ Jason, just talk about getting back to victory lane.テつ You're going to get in the Chase, and just talk about you won from the pole.テつ It wasn't easy here tonight.テつ It was a long, hard‑fought race with a lot of twists and turns and anxiety and so forth.テつ How did you manage to keep it all together and get that 20 car to victory lane?
JASON RATCLIFF:テつ Well, it was pretty easy to keep it together from where I was sitting.テつ Matt, when you ask him that same question, he did a phenomenal job, as always, especially here at Bristol.テつ This place is unbelievable.テつ I get out of breath just watching him go around here.テつ Great night, obviously.テつ A few hours ago I was thinking we were going to do this deal tomorrow, to get it all tonight, all 500 laps and end up in victory lane, of course you mentioned how does it feel to get back to victory lane, it's always great.テつ Even if we were there last week, it never gets old. テつBut with the new format, to get a win under our belt and we can look at the season a little differently now, knowing that we're in the Chase, so I'm really excited.テつ These guys have been working hard.テつ Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing has been working hard and I think that shows.テつ I think we've turned the corner, and we've got a great season ahead of us.
KERRY THARP:テつ Coach, just talk about the win for Matt.テつ Certainly been a little bit of a dry spell there, but we certainly knew that it was going to happen sooner than later and certainly Carl ran well and so forth.テつ Talk about the win tonight for the No.20 car.
JOE GIBBS:テつ Yeah, I think it illustrates how hard our sport is.テつ You know, it's been a long time since Matt has won one.テつ Great team, everybody is back together from two years ago when we won seven races, led the most laps, and it just shows you how you've really got to stay on your game.テつ We fell behind some last year, and like Jason said, we've been working extremely hard.テつ A lot of credit goes to everybody back at Joe Gibbs Racing.
As far as today goes, I was talking to Bob Carter at Toyota, our big boss, David Wilson is over here, and I was talking to Bob Carter and he said, I think that's the first nine‑hour race I've ever watched.テつ We went a full nine hours.テつ Everybody did a great job.テつ I hated it for David Ragan and Snickers, we got in a wreck there.テつ Carl, going as hard as he could go, and it got away from him late there, and I think he's kind of kicking himself.テつ But he was giving it everything he had.テつ And then of course we had the wild thing happen with Denny.テつ He had a spasm with his neck and shooting pain.テつ We wind up flying Erik over here.テつ He got here with five minutes to go, went and got in the car, first time in a Cup car, and we put him in that situation.
I talked to his dad.テつ He said it was okay.テつ So we had a good story there.テつ And then he just‑‑ I thought he handled everything really well.テつ So a long day, big day, great for Dollar General, Rick Dreiling and everybody over there, really proud of Matt, and great job he did tonight.
KERRY THARP:テつ Matt Kenseth gets his win here tonight, he punches his ticket into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.テつ Congratulations, Matt.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Thank you, Kerry.
KERRY THARP:テつ 32nd career win for Matt Kenseth, his first here at Bristol Motor Speedway.テつ I think if you talk to a lot of people, including in this room, it's good to see you back in victory lane.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Thanks, I appreciate that.
KERRY THARP:テつ Just talk about how you got there.
MATT KENSETH:テつ I mean, it does, it feels good to be back here.テつ I mean, you know, not winning for as long as we could and then Nate reminded me of that the other day‑‑ just kidding, Nate.テつ But really, honestly, it does, it wears on you a little bit.テつ We had such a good 2013, we came a little short of the ultimate prize there, but we had such a great season, and last year there were some races we had some chances to win and just things wouldn't line up for us.テつ We just couldn't get it to happen.テつ Tonight was kind of the opposite.テつ Everything worked out.テつ We had a good car on the short run, not so good on the last 40 or 50 laps of the run and we had all them cautions and short runs at the end that really benefitted us.

Q.テつ Matt, what was your position?テつ How were you feeling on that long cleanup, and you knew rain was coming?テつ How did you feel about NASCAR's decision?
MATT KENSETH:テつ To do the green‑white‑checkered?テつ I mean‑‑

Q.テつ And to park the cars.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Well, I think the track is so small, I think you've kind of got to park them to let the track dry.テつ I don't think you can really realistically put just jet dryers out there and dry the track with cars running around there, because they are around the whole racetrack.テつ I thought that was a good call.テつ For me, I don't know, I think last year didn't end yellow‑white‑checkered or something?テつ At the end of the day, especially if you end up winning, you want to finish all the laps.テつ You'd rather win on the racetrack obviously than win under yellow.テつ I think if it would have totally lost the racetrack and it would have downpoured, I'm sure they would have called it, but I thought overall it was a good decision.

Q.テつ As the leader you weren't like‑‑
MATT KENSETH:テつ I've got to be honest with you.テつ At least 90 percent of the time or more, I'd be all about, man, call that thing because anything can go wrong.テつ I felt pretty good about where we were.テつ The top, you know, restarts so much better, just off of 4, the way the banking is.テつ I felt like unless I really, really messed it up I was going to be clear getting into 1.テつ I felt like our car was good enough to hold on for two laps.テつ I felt like no matter who was behind me unless I made a really bad mistake we were going to be able to hold on the way my car drove.テつ If my car was taking off real loose I would have been for sure worried about it.

Q.テつ Matt, you've got a reputation for not always showing your hand until the end and taking care of your car and always kind of being there.テつ You led the first five laps but then you didn't lead again until like 150 to go.テつ Were you biding your time a little bit knowing that you would have the car to beat at the end and that it was going to be a wreck fest night and you would make your way to the front or did you just get shuffled back and it just worked out?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, we ran really hard all night really.テつ After our last pit stop, I probably didn't run quite as hard because I figured that Jason wasn't wanting to pit again and our car was getting really tight at the end of the run so I was really trying to protect my front tires the best I could.テつ But then when he said there was rain coming, it might be shortened, I just pretty much forgot about that and ran as hard as I could.テつ I couldn't get by Kyle when I caught him.テつ I could see his car had a look that I knew was really bad for me.テつ His car was turning really good and I was getting tighter as I got closer to him, so I wasn't going to pass him if he didn't need fuel.テつ Thankfully it ran long enough, he did need fuel and we got them short runs at the end because our car would really fire off quick, but like I said, after a little while, it would back up a little quicker than some of the other cars.

Q.テつ Joe, you talked about having plans for Erik Jones for Cup.テつ Did he show you enough tonight that maybe he's ready for that?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Yeah, when you see a young guy like that and he gets here five minutes before, we put him in the car, I said, hey, you're not going to go unless you really feel good, you give me thumbs up.テつ So when they got him all in there and got him set, because we didn't have a chance to do anything, he went, I'm okay, and so we let him go.テつ But to see somebody that young get thrown into that situation, he handled it very good, smooth, on the radio he was really good, and I think it was a real experience for him.テつ But I thought he handled all of that exceptionally well.
You know, we know Erik I think has a very bright future.テつ I think it's going to be fun to work with him in the future.

Q.テつ Jason, earlier this morning when we were talking, you made it sound like your worst fear was a race that started and then stopped and had rain and cleaned the track off again and had a bunch of stops and starts to it.テつ That's exactly what happened out there and yet here you sit.テつ Was there something you just weren't telling us at that point?
JASON RATCLIFF:テつ Well, no.テつ That was my biggest fear.テつ I knew it would be difficult to work on the car if it started and stopped, started and stopped, especially if we got several different rainstorms and washed the rubber off the track.テつ You've kind of got to start over.テつ We anticipated having enough adjustment in our car to start on a green racetrack and then having enough adjustment as the track rubbered up to be able to work on it throughout the night.
So thankfully once we did get going in the later two‑thirds part of the race it did go green, I think we were able to make some good adjustments, thought ahead and had what we needed to work on the car.テつ I wish we would have had one more stop.テつ I think we underestimated the track changing there at the end, the last 140 laps, but all in all, yeah, that was my biggest fear going in, and sure enough, it happened.

Q.テつ Matt, this is your fourth win at this track.テつ It's the most wins you have at any track.テつ Do you consider this one of your best tracks?
MATT KENSETH:テつ I don't know.テつ I really don't.テつ It's funny how it works.テつ Jason hates hearing this, but I always thought Texas was my best track, and for some reason, the last two years we've run terrible at Texas, right, and thought it was my best track.テつ I've always thought Martinsville was my worst track and I think Martinsville has been one of our best tracks the last two‑and‑a‑half years.テつ So I really don't know.テつ I mean, a lot of it is how you can get your car to drive and that type of thing.テつ So I do enjoy this track.テつ I've always enjoyed this type of racing, even though sometimes it's frustrating you get caught up in a wreck, you have those things happen, but I enjoy it because it's just so fast and it's a short track and you get to do more racing, I guess, less dependent on aero and other things and more racing.

Q.テつ For Coach, is there any concern about Denny's availability for Richmond next week?
JOE GIBBS:テつ If I had to guess, he said I could go tonight, but I felt like‑‑ he was honest with me.テつ He said, I'm not 100 percent.テつ I can go, and he was willing to go to the first caution.テつ But you don't want somebody, an athlete like that, getting in a car like that.テつ So as we talked it over, I just said, hey, look, let's don't do this, let's put Erik in there.テつ I think we made the right decision.テつ Hopefully with that, we didn't aggravate anything else, so hopefully he gets some treatment, and then we'll be good to go next week.

Q.テつ Matt, you've won at least one race, I think, just about every year of your career, and then you had‑‑ but you've never really won a whole lot until you had seven in your first year at Gibbs.テつ The weight of not winning after having won seven, did that seem particularly more difficult than it had in the past when you had gone through a winless season?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yes and no, I guess.テつ I've never lost sight of how hard this is and how competitive it is and how many good teams and drivers and crew chiefs and crew members and all that stuff is out there, and I think every team has ups and downs.テつ Last year overall I felt like we weren't certainly at our potential I don't think, not just us but as a whole group, as an organization.テつ I feel like we've made big gains toward the end of the year.テつ I feel like this year we've really been gaining on it, all of us.テつ Carl has been good enough to win the last couple weeks.テつ Just had terrible luck.テつ I think all of our cars could've ran in the top five atテつ Martinsville.テつ Fontana, we had a couple cars that could have won with the right things happening.テつ So I really feel like we're gaining on it.テつ Everybody's been working really, really hard on it, and you know, we've got two wins, and it's April, where last year we had two wins all year.テつ Hopefully we can build on that, and we can get all the cars to victory lane a few more times before September.

Q.テつ Joe, have you had an opportunity to talk to J.D. tonight, and if so, what did this victory mean to him?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Yeah, thank you for asking.テつ I think he has a special relationship with Matt.テつ They always joke with each other and they're always‑‑ I don't know what he said on the phone, but I got J.D. on there, and I think he ripped Matt right away‑‑
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yes, he did.
JOE GIBBS:テつ He's back to form.
MATT KENSETH:テつ He's like, "you won a race?"テつ That's exactly what he said.
JOE GIBBS:テつ I'll say one thing.テつ I'm not giving this to my grandkids.テつ This thing is awesome.テつ I love it.テつ Thank you for the gift here.
No, but J.D., I called J.D. right away, and like I said, he thinks a lot of Matt, so they joke with each other a lot.テつ So he's doing good.
MATT KENSETH:テつ And, oh, Kerry, because I like you so much, so tomorrow only, it's 20 percent off on DollarGeneral.com, so if you need diapers, paper towels, soap, what have you, you can go there and buy it.テつ Gatorade.
KERRY THARP:テつ I probably need all three of those.
JOE GIBBS:テつ Hey, it's on Matt.テつ Anything you need is on Matt.
MATT KENSETH:テつ The 20 percent is on me.
KERRY THARP:テつ I'll hit one on the way back to Charlotte.

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