Toyota Racing 2013 NSCS STP 400 Post-Race RecapsPress Release
The victory was Kenseth’s second consecutive NSCS win at Kansas and 26th career Sprint Cup victory.
Kenseth started from the pole and led a race-high 163 laps (of 267) en route to his second victory in a Camry after joining Joe Gibbs Racing at the beginning of the season.
The win marks the fourth of 2013 for Toyota and the second consecutive win from the pole for the manufacturer (Kyle Busch, Texas).
Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr. (fourth), Clint Bowyer (fifth) and Mark Martin (ninth) also earned top-10 results at the 1.5-mile oval.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Bobby Labonte (24th), David Reutimann (28th), Brian Vickers (31st), David Stremme (32nd), Travis Kvapil (36th), Busch (38th), Elliott Sadler (40th) and Mike Bliss (41st).
Three Camry drivers are in the top-12 in the unofficial point standings — Busch (seventh), Kenseth (eighth) and Bowyer (ninth).
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st
How were you able to hold off Kasey Kahne in the closing laps? “It’s funny, we had a big time softball game last week and we were talking about it a little bit. He’s (Kasey Kahne) finished second to us a couple times. Man, I really thought he had me and our car started getting loose into (turn) three and I got really loose getting into three with about five (laps) to go. I actually did it twice in a row and thought we were going to get beat. Thanks a lot to Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) and everybody at Toyota — big power. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), Sprint, Husky Tools, Dollar General, Gatorade, Citizen Watches and GameStop and Reser’s — we’ve got great partners over here. This is a dream come true to drive this stuff. It’s just awesome.”
How special is a win when you don’t know when your next will come? “You really don’t — standing here right now you don’t know if or when you’ll ever win again. Our cars have been so incredibly fast all year and we don’t have all the finishes to show for it, but I’m so thankful to have another win and hopefully that will get us up there a little bit in the points. I knew the first time I talked to these guys (Joe Gibbs Racing), I really started to feel it — these guys really are contenders. They’re an awesome race team and I’m glad to be with them.”
How strong was the race car? “This is such a fast race car obviously — be on the pole and really a dominant race team. This stuff runs so good and I took off there running and we were pretty good. At the beginning of the race I found myself not lazy, but not looking around a lot because we were leading so I really looked around. Chris (Osbourne, spotter) helped me out a lot spotting and did a wonderful job. Found some grip out there and got going, but with about 15 (laps) to go my car turned loose and especially into turn three. Almost lost it two or three times and gave up probably a second a lap to him (Kasey Kahne). I was afraid he was going to get me — one more lap and he probably would have.”
Were there many adjustments made to the car during the race? “It was really pretty good all day. We made some small adjustments I believe, but it was kind of like musical chairs — you had to be out front when the music stopped and I knew if we could be somewhere towards the front when you had that last caution and that last pit stop then we’d have a shot at it. Once we got back behind about fifth then it was hard for us to go forward. Our car was really fast in clean air — it was reasonable in dirty air, but it wasn’t quite good enough to catch all them guys and pass them. Thankfully, had a couple really crazy good restarts for some reason and made up some ground and that got us back in position.”
How strong is this team? “We’ve been incredibly strong. It is kind of cliché, but I really feel like I’m living a dream — this is a dream come true. This stuff — every single track, we were a little off at California, but other than that we had cars I thought that if all the stars would have aligned then we could have won the race. We’ve been incredibly fast and I’m just so thankful to be wheeling them and glad we could hold on.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is the strategy to close on Jimmie Johnson’s point lead? “Well, right now for us it’s just getting to next week. It’s getting to Richmond, it’s getting to Talladega and doing the best we can to continue the progress that we’ve been making so far. I still feel like we have — yeah, we’re running well, and yes, we’re winning races and doing the things we need to do, but I feel like we have a lot of room to grow as far as our race car. I feel like there’s still a lot of speed to find to be a contender in the Chase, and I feel like the adjustments we make from not necessarily from practice to the race but throughout the race, these races are long. You can be fast for 300 miles and let the thing get away from you at the end. That’s what makes them so difficult. So we have a lot of room to grow, which is good, considering as well as we’re doing now. So we’re looking forward to it, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Article Tags: Kansas City (KS), Kansas Speedway, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NSCS, STP 400, TOYOTA Camry, Toyota Racing