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September 20, 2015

Carl Edwards

Matt Kenseth


THE MODERATOR: We are ready to start our first post race press conference. We are joined by our second‑ and third‑place finishers in today's race, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, both for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Just a general question for both of you guys. Seemed like the JGR cars struggled a little bit in the early going compared to some of the other teams, then came out strong in the end, Denny taking the checkered. Talk about your runs and that progression throughout the race.
CARL EDWARDS: I didn't see in the front for a while, but looked like Kyle was fast. He had a really fast car there for a long time. That gave us a lot of hope. We knew if we maybe we get our lap back, get back up there, we'd be all right. I had a speeding penalty. I set us back there.
Overall we planned on the racetrack changing a lot. I felt like my guys did a great job getting the car tuned in for the end. I felt like all of us as a group at JGR worked great together this weekend.
MATT KENSETH: I definitely didn't speed anywhere today (smiling).
We really struggled. We had probably a 15th‑place car at best and barely hung onto the lead lap all day and got the right line on the restart. Jason made some good adjustments, guys never quit. We were in the right line at the restart. Everybody got bottled up. I think passed seven or eight of them in the first corner, another two or three the next set of corners.
Somehow we wound up fifth. We definitely finished way better than we deserved today. But that's what you've have to do in these things, you have to try to take your days and try to make them the best you can.
Happy for Denny. Been a few months since he's been in Victory Lane. All our cars had really good finishes today, so that's important side of it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Carl, I know that you're only focused on yourself. There was a time you were a lap down and Denny was a lap down.
MATT KENSETH: Maybe in the past, but he's focused on all of us now (smiling).
CARL EDWARDS: It's easy to focus on Matt, because if you don't, he'll just go ahead and knock into you and make sure you're paying attention.

Q. You and Denny are both a lap down. You're running last of all the Chase drivers. Now you're first and second. Would you have ever thought that at that time?
CARL EDWARDS: No, not at that time. But I'll tell you what, my guys just do a great job on pit road, they really do. Darian never loses his cool ever. He played the game perfectly with pit strategy.
Then at the end, truly, once we got into turn one on the final restart, I was like, I got this thing. I got better tires than all these guys. Kurt was unbelievable on old tires. He got tires. I didn't know he had tires. Turns out he didn't, I guess.
Then I thought, Denny is mine, he's a sitting duck. He drove the wheels off of that thing. He really hung on with those tires that he had.
I don't know if that's exactly an answer to your question. But I was definitely surprised at Denny's speed at the end. I was really happy we got back up there.

Q. In terms of how aggressive the field was, was this race similar to last year's at all?
MATT KENSETH: I think it's aggressive every week. I think the competition is so close your best chance of passing is on pit road and your second best chance is on restarts.
When you get it mixed up there at the end, you have old tires, two tires, four tires all mixed in together, usually in a five‑lap run, it will be pretty crazy.
CARL EDWARDS: I really felt it was a little more aggressive from where I was sitting, some of the things I saw. I thought it was just a notch up. I feel like it's going to stay that way. I know there were some things. I just saw some guys barely slip into spots that I hadn't seen in a couple weeks.

Q. Talk a little bit about the quality of the Goodyear tires today and does it make you feel comfortable going into the next nine races?
MATT KENSETH: It's the same tire we ran here the last couple years. I don't think we run them the next nine races, except for maybe Texas. I thought they were fine for here.
CARL EDWARDS: I did like how they fell off a little bit. Seemed like it was fun to drive. The car got a little tougher to handle over a few laps. Towards the end of the day, it seemed like the track just sped up overall. Middle of the day, felt like you could really do something. I liked the tire.

Q. Did you have any thoughts on Kevin's comments on Thursday about Joe Gibbs Racing, beating him in the Chase?
CARL EDWARDS: No, none really.
MATT KENSETH: I think it's good to have confidence. He stepped up to the plate last year when the pressure was on, won the last two races to get in the Chase and win it.
I'd have that same confidence I guess if I was in that spot.
THE MODERATOR: Matt, Carl, thank you for joining us. Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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