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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: QUICKEN LOAN 400


June 17, 2012


Matt Kenseth

Tony Stewart


BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN

KERRY THARP:テつ Let's roll right into our post‑race for today's 44th annual quicken loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Michigan International Speedway, and our second place finisher is Tony Stewart, he drives the No. 14 Office Depot Mobil 1 Chevrolet for Stewart‑Haas Racing.
And Tony, certainly, got here Thursday, tested Thursday, tested Friday, changed tires Saturday, you had a heck of a car out there today, and were racing for the win and congratulations.テつ Just talk about how things played out for you here today.
TONY STEWART:テつ I'm really proud of our guys.テつ You know, we did the Bristol test on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we have been in a track 11 out of 12 days in a row.テつ So I've got a bunch of tired crew guys and a tired crew chief and I'm a tired driver but I'm really proud of the effort they put forth in the last week and a half.テつ They did an awesome job at Pocono.テつ We had a fast car all week until the happy hour session last night, and you know, we just couldn't get ahold of the racetrack.
But I'm really proud of Steve Addington and our engineers.テつ They did a great job overnight and we started the day pretty much toward the front and never really lost that track position all day.テつ We had a pretty good car that we could pass with.テつ It was hard to pass, but it wasn't impossible.テつ But like I say, I was really, really proud of our guys.

Q.テつ How were the tires out there today?テつ And can you sum up your feelings for Dale Junior in winning that race?
TONY STEWART:テつ I thought the tires were, you know, they were pretty hard.テつ It was hard to run two‑wide through the corner.テつ You didn't see too many guys stay side‑by‑side by the corner.テつ Dale had the fastest car all day.テつ He could run pretty much the same pace the whole run.テつ We could do it for about the first half of the run and then we would lose pace.

Q.テつ Inaudible.
TONY STEWART:テつ No different to anybody else that does it.テつ It's not a national holiday, guys.テつ This morning, they were celebrating his fourth anniversary of his last win, so I guess we are all in a state of mourning now because he's broke that streak now, so I don't know what we are all supposed to think.

Q.テつ What's your sense what will happen in the second race in August?テつ Will they go back to softer if they get the blister problem figured out?
TONY STEWART:テつ I'm not sure what will happen.テつ Obviously the more age that gets on this track the better it will get.テつ The one thing that I think we need to give 100% credit to Goodyear for this weekend.テつ I mean, what they had to do yesterday was a really hard decision‑‑ or Friday night, I guess, it was a hard decision to make.テつ It was for the betterment of all of us as drivers and teams and for the sport.
So every one of us need to walk through the garage and stop at good year and stake every one of their guy's hands, because there were a lot of guys that worked really hard yesterday just getting the tires inside the track, they had to load them in, in the back of pickup trucks because they didn't get here before qualifying started.テつ They were trucking in tires, literally in the back of pick ups to get them in, and there was a lot of Goodyear texts that were mounting and dismounting and balancing a lot of tires.テつ Without those guys' effort, we would not have had the show that we had today.
KERRY THARP:テつ Congratulations and good luck out there at Sonoma.
Matt Kenseth, still our points leader, and he comes in here with a solid third-place finish.テつ He drives the No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and certainly you battled it and battled it the last couple of days and came away with a really good finish and you still got the points lead.テつ Talk about that.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, it was up‑and‑down day for us, we were fortunate to qualify good and the first couple restarts were not great but finally got our way to the front and had a good fuel‑only stop will and led a few laps, got behind in the pits, got behind that one time taking more fuel I guess than everybody else and resurfaced seventh and hard for me to get going on the bottom.テつ As soon as we pitted under the green, the next stop, we caught a yellow, so we got a lap down.
So from there, it was a battle back but we got the car pretty good at the end and we were able to make a pretty good charge and salvage a pretty good day out of it.

Q.テつ Can you sum up the weekend with the tire and with this race here at Michigan, did you enjoy racing here on this new repaved track, and what was your take on the tires?
MATT KENSETH:テつ You know, I did enjoy it.テつ It was very difficult at times, especially when you had four new tires on and they were just so hard and when you had people outside and the groove was‑‑ and you had a lot of air, so it was definitely a challenge, especially on short runs and on restarts with cold tires.
But overall, did a nice job with the track.テつ I don't know what they will do next time for tires.テつ It would be nice to have a little more grip when it's cold but yet they did a great job to bring some in here that wouldn't fall apart and that we could race on.
Overall I really like the track.テつ Your hope is that it gets wider before you can run anywhere on the racetrack, so your hope is it gets back to that sooner than later but overall I thought it was a competitive race and there was a lot of action out there.

Q.テつ You know Dale Jr. really well and known him for several years, what do you think this win means to him, and do you see him now emerging kind of as a championship contender because he's been so strong lately and was fairly dominant today?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, I don't know what it means for him personally to get that win but I know that even if he acts like it's not, it's probably a burden, having all your fans talking about you and writing stuff about you and not winning, but this year, you could see it was going to be a matter of time.テつ Really they have been the guys all year.
That 88 has had a ton of speed and always got finishes except for circumstances but they have been up there battling in the Top‑5 each and every week.テつ You could see they kept knocking on the door and today they were able to kick it down and dominated the race pretty good.テつ They were really fast all weekend and really happy for them to get that win.
And the championship part, I think they are definitely a contender.テつ I think they have been right up there in the mix each and every race, no matter, you know, what size or shape of racetrack, so I definitely think they are at this point in the season one of the favorites.

Q.テつ With all of the changes, was this race, how did it match up?テつ Was it as hard as you anticipated it to be or did you have an easier time adjusting?テつ Was it tough because of the changes?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, there was times when it was harder than I thought it was going to be and there was less times where it was better or easier.テつ It was extremely difficult, especially at lest for me, on four new tires and when they were cold and you're in traffic and you're on the bottom and really there was only one lane you wanted to be in, especially the way my car drove.
It was pretty difficult.テつ I don't think it was easier than what I thought.テつ As soon as they changed the tire, I knew it was going to be a challenge.テつ I think the other tire would have been easier to maneuver around the racetrack, but obviously the tire wasn't going to be able to hold up.テつ So I think everybody did really good to fix the situation and give us a little bit of practice and go out there and put on a race.
KERRY THARP:テつ Matt, congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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