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September 27, 2015

Joe Gibbs

Matt Kenseth

Jason Ratcliff


THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by race winner Matt Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff. Matt, you won today at New Hampshire. You are guaranteed a spot now in the Contender Round. Talk a little bit about advancing on in the Chase.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we started off last week with a pretty decent week. You know, felt good about our run today and our chances to advance. But really just pretty darned excited to win the race, you know. These are all big races. They're hard to win. You ever get in a position to win one, you want to do everything in your power to be able to win it, no matter what the consequences are for the points, so I've got to be honest, I haven't really thought about the points or Chase or anything, just going to really enjoy this win and look forward to going to Dover next week. I love going there and hopefully have a good car there and be up front and be in the mix.
THE MODERATOR: Jason, this is the fifth victory this year for this team. Talk about the team's performance today and the win.
JASON RATCLIFF: Well, it was just great execution. Today Matt did a great job of methodically moving forward and giving us good feedback on the car. The guys did a great job on pit road of at least maintaining our spots every time we came down. This is a tough place to call a race because track position, you know you've got to get it, and then when you get it you know you need to keep it, and the cautions are so hard to predict, when they're going to come. A couple guys were on one strategy and they were going to be hard to beat. There was a couple cars there that were really, really strong and we needed to do something different. It worked our way, and everyone, like I say, executed perfectly, and there at the end, the car was at its best, and Matt was able to put the pressure on the 4 and bring home the victory.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by our race‑winning car owner, Joe Gibbs. Joe, you now have two teams‑‑
JOE GIBBS: Thank you. Nobody else in here is cheering.
THE MODERATOR: ‑‑ two teams now advancing to the Contender Round. Talk about the win today.
JOE GIBBS: No, I'm just really, really proud. As I've said before, I wished everybody back home could be a part of this. We've got all of our people back there that work so hard, and J.D. and the whole crew, the front office, and then everybody back there that works on the cars, I know the guys here really appreciate them because it's been really what's got us back where we can compete and be up front for wins I think is a lot of hard work. It really started back in '14 when we were having so much of a problem.
It's a thrill for us to be here. We all know that there's a lot of excitement because you're going in little three‑race playoffs, and all it takes is one mistake. Kyle today, felt awful for him, cut a tire down, and it shows you how things can turn very quickly. So it's a thrill for us to have two cars in, and we just need to focus this next week on Carl and Kyle.
But I really appreciate the fans here. We have a lot of sponsors, a lot of hospitality here because so many of our corporations, this is a big part of the country for them. I appreciate that, and we love coming here, and it was a great day for us, and Lord has blessed us with a great group of guys.

Q. This kind of goes out to any of you, but when the team cars have been really good and really dominant at a lot of tracks lately, and then today you kind of made the right calls and you did different things to win, if you're winning in all these different ways, what does that say about Matt's chances but really the entire Gibbs operation?
JASON RATCLIFF: Well, you know, it's like any sport; when things are going well, it provides a lot of opportunity. When you have fast race cars, and I've been asked a number of times this year, what's different this year, and the answer is everything is different. I mean, every department has been working really hard. The race cars are fast. The engine program is phenomenal. The pit crews are‑‑ it's just all of it. And when you have that, you open a lot of doors for a lot of opportunity, and I think that's why you're seeing success in a lot of different ways.
So you know, hats off to everyone at JGR. We have eight more races. We've got to keep doing what we've been doing. There's some strong contenders out there, very competitive. But yeah, it's been a great season so far, and hats off to everyone at JGR.

Q. Coach, can you just kind of‑‑ are you more excited for Matt or more worried about Kyle?
JOE GIBBS: I think the sport is just kind of crazy. It's the person we're having the most trouble, it seems like that's where you pull the hardest. Matt, he's in, so yeah, he's out, we go to Kyle. It's not really that way because as everybody knows, Dollar General, our sponsor, it's such a huge deal for them. It's a thrill. We called everybody there. It's Toyota, our partner that's worked so hard with us. It's hard to leave the racetrack when you know you had one car that just had a real tough time today, and we care so much about those guys, too. They've been with us for a long time. They're one of the longest sponsors, Mars is, in our sport, so we'll just focus on that and try and do everything we can to try and get Carl and Kyle in next week.
But this is a thrill for us today. To get that many victories, particularly in this sport, is so tough, and it's just great to see Matt today. I thought it was a great race on he and Jason's part because they kind of sat around there fifth, sixth, somewhere in there, kept working their way forward and kept getting the car better and better, and I think at the end it was real good.
Hey, it's great to be a part of something like this.

Q. Matt and Jason, can you just describe the end of race dynamics there when Matt, looks like you were well inside the window with tires and fuel, and Kevin Harvick was not? Did you feel like they were gambling at that point, and Jason, was there any talk about them running out of fuel and relative to your situation, especially when you're running third behind Denny and then you got in front of him?
MATT KENSETH: I'll start, I guess. Yeah, Jason did a really good job of keeping me informed. We were obviously fine on tires and fuel. We were pretty loose on a short run, and I was pleasantly surprised when we came out of the pits, we were only 9th or 11th or whatever. There was less cars staying out there and I thought there, we had a long enough run where the new tires are a big advantage, which surprised me because earlier in the race we had four and I think the 2 and the 4 had two tires and I couldn't catch them and pass them. Anyway, we were able to make some ground. Once we got out, there was about 40 to go and the new was off the tires and I was behind Denny and Jason started telling me he thought the 4 was going to be short on fuel, and then we raced for a little bit more and I was just kind of waiting so I didn't kill the right front and get too tight at the end of the run and then Denny was starting to lose the 4 a little bit so Jason was pretty adamant that I needed to ‑‑ if Denny couldn't catch him, I needed to get around Denny and start pressuring him to make sure he burned more fuel. From there on I pretty much ran as hard as I could every lap and just did everything I could to wrestle the spot away from Denny and run the 4 down.
With four or five to go, I didn't think I was going to quite get to him and get by him. Getting to him and getting by him was going to be two different things, too, but I didn't think I was going to quite get there, and honestly Jason told me he was going to be close and he was probably going to run out, but I didn't 100 percent believe him. So I was a little surprised when I saw him pull down with a couple to go.
JASON RATCLIFF: Well, I think you never know what another competitor's situation is, but we knew that possibly he couldn't make it based on our count, and the guys did a good job of calculating that and telling me that, hey, he's probably going to be one or two short, but he can save that in a 60‑lap run. So then at that point I felt like our car was at its best, and Matt had what he needed to go up there and pressure him.
But he was sitting in a good spot. When Denny and Matt were racing each other, I'm sure he was loving that, so we needed to go up there and race him hard, and we did just that. I didn't think he was going to run out that soon. I thought it would be closer than that. But just goes to show you how well Matt did of not letting him save and making him burn more fuel than he had to.

Q. Matt, do you take any responsibility for Kevin running out of gas? Do you feel like you pressured him enough that he had to push hard enough not to save?
MATT KENSETH: Do I take responsibility for him running out of gas? No. That is absolutely not. I was out there trying to win the race and trying to catch him and pass him, so I don't know what his situation is. We just‑‑ you know, I got bottled up with Denny and I couldn't get by him, and we were racing our guts out, and Kevin was on older tires so about 40 to go, I'm thinking, well, our tires are so much better we should be able to get him at the end of the run anyway and honest he just kept turning and he was so fast. Even with our tire advantage, I couldn't really get there.
Obviously I ran as hard as I could to get as close as I could to him because I wanted to beat him, and the faster he has to go obviously he burns more gas. But I didn't really know his situation other than Jason told me he might be a little bit short so we needed to get up there and try to run as hard as we could.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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