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October 17, 2009

Kasey Kahne

Matt Kenseth

Joey Logano


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by second place finisher Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Carhartt Ford, and third place finisher Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports.
We'll start with Matt. Certainly you had to feel good about running up front getting that second place finish out there this evening for the No. 17 car.
MATT KENSETH: For us, our run was really good. All our guys did a good job on Pit Road. That was the fastest car we've had in a long time, qualified exceptionally well for us. We were able to keep our track position all night and make little adjustments. I wasn't fast enough to beat the 48, and Kasey in the long run was a good bit better than us at times. But we had a really good car and we got the best we could out of it.
It feels good for us to run up front. It's a good confidence booster for myself and for the team.
THE MODERATOR: Kasey, certainly you were running up front for most of the evening, had some tire issues there, I guess, at the end. But solid third place finish moves you up two spots from 11th to 9th in the points standings.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, we had a really good Budweiser Dodge. We were up there, Matt was up there, another couple other guys that seemed to be there all night. Jimmie was one of them. And we just weren't good enough that final run. We were one of the best -- the best car at times throughout the night, but the final run when it counted we weren't, and Jimmie showed up and beat us all.

Q. Kasey, it seemed like the restarts were really difficult for you. I don't know if it's a gearing issue or if it's just a matter of being on the colder tires and your tires were warmer. I guess can you clarify what you think it is that caused you to kind of slip back on those restarts and take a while to get going again?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I always have a problem when I start off the front row, this whole year, with restarts, and I just spin my tires. I try not to give it throttle and don't spin my tires, and I get pushed from behind. So I have a problem with it. The only time I can -- that's all I've got on that, because I'm -- that's all I've got.

Q. Obviously there's probably a lot of fans that watched tonight and are probably feeling kind of depressed that if they don't like Jimmie they're going to see him win a championship again. Can any of you offer any hope to the fans out there that maybe this thing is not over yet?
KASEY KAHNE: I don't think either of us can stop him at this point as far as points go. It's definitely not over. I mean, anything can happen the rest of the year. But if it doesn't, I think Jimmie is the guy to beat.

Q. For either of you guys, Jimmie led every practice, won the pole, won the race. Apparently Chad Knaus always wanted to do the perfect weekend. Can you put that in perspective what it means for a Cup driver to do that in today's era of competition?
MATT KENSETH: I don't know, I've never done it. I don't think there's much that team hasn't done. I don't know what leading both practice sessions really gets you besides bragging rights, but besides that I don't know if I've ever had a perfect weekend. I think you have to lead every lap for it to be a perfect weekend too, so he still doesn't have it. Them guys are awesome. Since them two got together, they've been, in my opinion, the group to beat every single year.
Whenever it counts and it's crunch time, they do this, and they've done this every year for the last four years, so it shouldn't really be a surprise to anybody.

Q. Matt, you've had such energy the last month. Your team has really started turning it around. It's kind of a weird question, but was missing the Chase one of the best things to happen for you guys? Was it the jolt that you needed to say, all right, we don't have to worry about that streak, it's over, we can experiment and try new things for the rest of the season and not worry about going for a championship?
MATT KENSETH: Nah, I mean, not missing a Chase. Honestly the way we were running if we would have made the Chase we weren't going to win the championship anyway, and I'd much rather obviously be in the top 12 and fight for the top 10 and be able to go to the banquet and do all; it means a lot to your sponsor and all the crew guys and morale in the shop and to me and everybody.
But the way we were running, if we got in, we weren't going to do a lot anyway. If we would have slid in and been 12th leaving Richmond and been in the Chase, our approach and how we prepare cars and everything would be exactly the same as they are right now because we were looking to try to get things better even if we got in, we weren't running very well, and we've got to keep trying to get our stuff better and see if we can learn some stuff this year. Hopefully finish the year strong would be good for all of our attitudes, especially mine, and hopefully start next season strong.
THE MODERATOR: Our top finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate is Joey Logano. He finished fifth tonight, and he drives the No. 20, the Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joey, congratulations on a very solid finish. How were you able to keep it up there all evening long?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we had a -- I think we started, what, 12th, and plugged along, got in the Top 10 and felt like we had a pretty good car. And then the first pit stop I go right by my pit stall. I was like, oh, well, we lost a lot of track position there, went back to about 32nd, 33rd, and from there just had to start battling back. Didn't seem like we could catch a break.
We tried to go for some pit strategy with two tires and everyone would do it, or some guys would do two tires and it would work for them and four tires weren't making up as much as you wanted to. Catching cautions the right way, felt like I was passing a car or able to pass a couple cars when the caution come out and at the restart.
I felt like things like that weren't helping our track position all day, but to come down at the end and get a top 5 out of it, that was huge for the whole Home Depot team. These guys deserve to be in the top 5 every week, so it's a big deal for me and for them.

Q. Can you just talk about those final laps and battling Jeff there, especially down the last five? He was saying that he really enjoyed the race, it was a lot of fun, and he could tell you were really trying to race him hard and race him clean?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I was trying everything I can. Me and Bowyer, we were running him down. I think both of us were faster. I think I was a little bit better than Bowyer. I was able to get by Bowyer and try to get to Gordon there, and he's a smart race car driver. He knew where my car was better than his, and he made sure he put his car there so I couldn't get by him. I had to try to work the bottom, and it's just hard to get a run off the bottom. He knows what it takes to keep people behind him, and we raced real hard. He got on my door, and I was chasing down on the bottom and trying to do everything I could do to pass him.
But I had a blast. To race against a world-class champion race car driver like that, running door-to-door for a top 5 finish or fourth place, it was a bunch of fun. You know, it's still really cool to me. I'm still a rookie to this whole deal, and to be racing Jeff Gordon, I never thought that day would happen.

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