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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: COCA-COLA 600


May 25, 2014


Kevin Harvick

Matt Kenseth


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

KERRY THARP:テつ Let's roll into our post race for tonight's 55th annual Coca‑Cola 600, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.テつ Our race runner‑up is Kevin Harvick.
Kevin, certainly had a strong car throughout the weekend.テつ Just came up a little short trying to defend that championship.
KEVIN HARVICK:テつ Yeah.テつ We had a fast car all night.テつ Just kind of fumbled again on pit road.テつ Got behind, got a lap down.テつ We needed a 700‑mile race to get back to where we needed to be.
All in all, they're doing a great job of putting cars up on the track, we just have to clean up on pit road.
KERRY THARP:テつ Questions for Kevin Harvick.

Q.テつ I suppose y'all figured Jimmie was going to get one sooner or later.テつ Do you look at that team and say, They're back?
KEVIN HARVICK:テつ I look at it as we let them slip one in front of us by shooting ourselves in the foot.
You knew that was going to come.テつ They've won championships and done a great job through the years.テつ They were solid all weekend, didn't make any mistakes, kept themselves up front all night and won the race.
In the end you're going to have to beat them in all ways, shapes or forms, just not on speed.

Q.テつ Can you elaborate as far as shooting yourself in the foot.テつ You also said if this was a 700‑mile race, talk about that.
KEVIN HARVICK:テつ We needed longer to pass the car in front of us, and we had a loose wheel.
KERRY THARP:テつ Kevin, thank you and good luck next weekend at Dover.
Our third‑place finisher is Matt Kenseth.
Matt, certainly you had a car that was running up front, you led some laps, went for the win.テつ Maybe just talk about how things unfolded there, particularly the last 15, 20 laps.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, I mean, everything kind of fell into place with us with that caution, people being under fuel strategy.テつ Our tire problem, all that, getting off sequence.テつ Everything fell into our lap.テつ Got a good restart, got out front.テつ Unfortunately didn't have enough speed to hold off Jimmie and Kevin and hang on to win.
Overall for the weekend, I thought it was a step in the right direction.テつ I thought we were more competitive tonight.テつ I didn't think we were quick enough to win unless everything fell exactly our way.テつ Even then I couldn't quite hang on.
Overall I thought it was a step in the right direction.テつ I thought we had a top‑five car all night.テつ Great pit stops, great adjustments.テつ Just couldn't hang on to it at the end.
KERRY THARP:テつ Questions for Matt Kenseth.

Q.テつ Can you take us through what punched a hole in the front grill of your car.
MATT KENSETH:テつ I honestly don't have no idea.テつ I didn't look at it afterwards.テつ I heard Jason say there was some damage to the nose from something.
I didn't run into anything. テつObviously a piece of debris went through it.テつ I never saw anything or felt or heard anything, so I don't really know when or how that happened.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
MATT KENSETH:テつ I don't know because I didn't even look at the car.テつ So I don't know.

Q.テつ Matt, seven wins last year.テつ This year I think so far you have nine top 10s in 12 races.テつ Any kind of frustration that you've been so close so many times this year and haven't been able to close it out?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Well, I mean, me personally, whenever your team does everything, everything falls the right way, they put you out in the front at the end of the race, you don't win the race, you're always frustrated and disappointed.テつ You don't get a lot of those opportunities.テつ Although I felt like I did everything I could possibly do, we just weren't quick enough to hold 'em off.
So, yeah, a little frustrated we didn't get the win tonight.テつ I thought we were in good shape tonight when we cleared Jeff.テつ I knew he was only on a couple tires.テつ He bottled up the bottom pretty good there when I went around the top of him.テつ I was hoping that would hold everybody back.テつ Got away pretty good.テつ Actually felt pretty good about it.
They said the 48 cleared him.テつ Man, he was just mowing me down.テつ He could do that pretty much anytime he wanted to tonight.テつ Every time I raced by him, when he wanted, he had at least 2/10ths in the back, or 3.テつ I had clean air, everything lined up, had the lead, I just couldn't go fast enough to hold them off.
That's a little bit disappointing.テつ I feel like we're gaining on it.テつ Certainly we're not where we were at this time last year, all of us there leading a bunch of laps and being in contention to win.
I feel like we had a top‑five car tonight and finished third with it.

Q.テつ Both you and Kevin said you had top‑five cars tonight.テつ What was it about Jimmie's car that made his a first‑place car?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Man, I wish I knew.テつ I don't know.テつ Man, I wish I knew.テつ The 4 has been pretty much the class of the field all year.テつ The 48, they always run good, obviously.テつ Especially this place has always been one of his strongest tracks.
I don't know.テつ They were just really, really fast tonight.テつ The 4 was really fast tonight, it seemed like.テつ There were a group of them that seemed to have a little bit more speed.

Q.テつ Not having speed?テつ How much of a concern is that to you?テつ You can't address that easily, can you?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Well, I mean, we were working on it.テつ Whether you're the fastest car in the garage or the slowest in the garage, you're always trying to work on it to get better, so...
Panicking has never helped anything.テつ Like I said, I feel like we're gaining on it.テつ We've just been off a little bit all year.テつ Honestly I thought we ended the year really strong, Homestead.テつ Denny won.テつ We ran second.テつ Kyle had a good car.
We haven't been like that all season.テつ I don't know if it's the aero, rules changes.テつ We just have been off a couple 10ths at all these tracks.テつ We're digging hard trying to figure it out.テつ We're just not quite there yet.

Q.テつ With the emphasis on winning this year to get in the Chase, what is the pressure like to get one?
MATT KENSETH:テつ For me it's not any different.テつ I mean, I think the pressure and urgency to win is there each and every week.テつ At least it is for me.テつ These are all huge races.テつ Not many of us that get to do this every week.テつ There's even a smaller group that gets to do it at a real competitive, high level that actually has a chance to win these things, so...
It's a big deal to win any of these races.テつ Always has been.テつ I've never been in the front in the end and not wanted to win.テつ You race as hard as you can for these wins.テつ You hate it when you can't hold on and win it.テつ There's no more I can do about it.テつ We were in position.テつ I did everything I possibly could do and got beat.テつ It's just the way it goes sometimes.
You can only do your best and take your result for that day.

Q.テつ When you were talking about not panicking, I remember in New Hampshire last year you talking about how you try really hard not to get overly excited to the positive or the negative, something about you're a lot healthier if you just don't, that point of view.テつ How has that held up the last few weeks?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Well, I mean, it's definitely not a flat line.テつ I mean, it moves a little bit.テつ I think you try to, at least for me, stay away from the spikes.テつ Obviously when you're doing bad, it's easier for the spike to go to the frustrated side a lot farther than when you're doing good.テつ Just get overjoyed, not paying enough attention to work hard on it, whatever.
I think you just got to keep working on it the same, as hard as you can each and every week.テつ It's not like you can try harder and work harder and make it happen.テつ You just got to keep digging at it, keep trying to get better.
It's not like we're way off.テつ It's not like we're terrible.テつ All mile‑and‑a‑half's except for Kansas, we've been running top five or six.テつ We're getting better.テつ We're not way, way off.テつ We just need a little bit extra to run with those guys.

Q.テつ Is it easier to take that point of view when you know you're getting in the top seven and such?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Well, I mean, yeah.テつ You feel better running third than you do 33rd, for sure.テつ Definitely be more panicked if you couldn't stay on the lead lap than if you're getting beat at the end of the race and finishing third.テつ Certainly there's a difference there.テつ You can only work on it so hard.
Like I said, it was a good, solid night.テつ Just disappointed that we were in the front and couldn't win.テつ It's always a big advantage to have that clean air.テつ Thought I was going to be able to get away and I just wasn't able to.

Q.テつ Given Jeff Gordon sitting out practice yesterday, were you surprised to see him racing up there so hard with the back issues he had?テつ Have you ever raced with something like that?
MATT KENSETH:テつ You know what, I don't know a lot about his back issue exactly, how big or small it is, whatever.テつ Only he really knows what he feels like in the car.テつ I mean, certainly nothing Jeff Gordon does behind the wheel can ever surprise you.テつ Obviously, he's one of the best of all times.
As far as sitting out practice, there was a lot of practice here during the day.テつ Probably not the most important practices of the year really.テつ I think when you learn in the All‑Star Race, your first practice in the morning is probably a little more similar.
I, fortunately, knock on wood, haven't had to sit out any practices or races before.テつ Hope I never have to.
KERRY THARP:テつ Matt, congratulations on a solid finish.テつ Good luck at Dover.
MATT KENSETH:テつ Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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