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September 25, 2016

Matt Kenseth

Loudon, New Hampshire

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our second‑place finisher, Matt Kenseth the driver of the No.20 Dollar General Toyota. Matt, just talk about that finish.
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had a good car today. Guys did good, good pit stops, got me in position there with our strategy to have a shot for the win. 78 was definitely better than we were today, but we were able to get in position there.
Anyway, just didn't do a good job on that last restart and Kevin did a better job than I did there, so he was laying back just a little bit, which you should to try to get a run, and I spun the tires in the restart box a little bit, and once he got alongside of me through 1 and 2 it was pretty much over.
Short runs were not our strong suit at all today; took about 10 laps for me to really get a rhythm and get going, kind of get away from people. Used up pretty much everything I had holding Martin off, so just disappointed we didn't come home with it.

Q. Matt, after this second‑place run, and you won at Dover in June, what's your confidence level going into the elimination race?
MATT KENSETH: Well, I feel good. I feel like our performance is good. You never know what's going to happen in these races. You never know where you're going to finish. But certainly I feel like as a group our performance has been really, really strong all year. You know, we've just got to execute and get the finishes, try to finish as good as we're running.
We were strong in Chicago. I thought we had a top‑five car and I made a mistake there and we got ourselves a little bit behind and finished ninth, and today I thought we had a solid second‑place car at least all day, and then they gave me a shot to win, and I didn't hang on for it, but they did a good job of putting me in position to win and came home second. I feel like our performance was good, we've just got to get the finishes every week.

Q. It's rare to be disappointed with second, but after the run that you've been on here, do you leave here disappointed or do you feel good that you still are in solid point position?
MATT KENSETH: You know, I don't want to say I don't care about the points because you care. You want to advance to the next round. But it's really the farthest thing from my mind right now, or even them last few restarts you want to win. You're in position to win and you've got the preferred groove or the preferred line for the restart, which is usually a pretty big advantage here, and never really had to race Kevin all day. I knew he was strong up there but he wasn't up there by the 78 and a couple of those cars. Felt great about my positioning, felt good about my chances on that last restart, and I just totally didn't get it done, which is disappointing. The restart before that and the one before that, when the 78 was there, I had much less confidence. He was very, very, very strong, and it was all I had to hold him off.
Anyway, I was hoping I could have got through the gears a little better and cleared him getting into 1. I think I probably would have been able to hang on, but I just didn't get that done.

Q. After the race you just expressed a little bit of frustration about I think you used the word micromanaging from the tower on the restarts. How would you like those things to be examined, and how much did that‑‑ I don't want to say it got in your head but just affected how you handled those restarts?
MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I mean, it's Jason's job to tell me that the tower says something. They made it sound like I slowed down the last time.
But in my opinion the leader is always supposed to have the advantage. He's the leader; he earned that advantage. They said I slowed down a little bit last time, which I've got to re‑watch it. I don't really think I did, but if I did at all, it's because the inside car was laying back a little bit, and you want to make sure he gets up to your nose so it's a fair restart. If he's back at your door and anticipates a little bit, it's not a fair restart. He's going to be equal to you or a little bit better.
I thought I did a good job on that restart, then the last one I saw Kevin at my door, and I should have known better. I should have went deep in the box and waited, and the acceleration was probably better down there anyway, but I didn't; I went right at the first line, and he anticipated a little bit of that and got rolling good through the gears and then I got through the gears bad. I spun the tires in second, I spun the tires in third, so I had a really bad restart besides all that.
So anyway, I don't know. I felt good about what I was going to do there at the end, but I should have known better; when I was looking out the window I could see his right front tire. I should have known not to go; I should have just waited because it was my prerogative to wait until the last line, and I should have just waited until he got even with me and I probably would have had a better chance.

Q. When you're restarting with Harvick beside you, is it any different than when Truex is beside you, kind of a fellow Toyota who you know may race you just more, for lack of a better term, gentlemanly, because you know he's kind of your teammate?
MATT KENSETH: Well, I mean, yes and no. I wasn't worried about Martin crashing me. I wasn't worried about Kevin crashing me. I wasn't worried about them different like that. Obviously Martin had a win and we didn't, so I probably didn't leave him maybe as much room as if it was the other way around. But I knew they were both going to race hard for the win. I actually felt better about the last one just because I didn't really race him all day. He was I think running in third, me and the 78 were up there. I thought as long as I got to Turn 1 first, the last restart I was going to have ‑‑ I felt the best out of that one than any of them all day, and that ended up being my worst one. I just did a bad job managing that whole last restart.

Q. How big a threat do you consider Harvick for the title?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know, he was first the first year and second the second year, so I'm thinking he's a pretty big threat.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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