April 26th, 2015
Matt Kenseth was the big winner Sunday at the Chicagoland Speedway on and off the track. On the track he won the race and off the track he leads the driver’s standings after the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
While he seemed in control most of the race, which was not the case as Kenseth told media members after the race.
“It was awesome. We had a really, really good car. Obviously the first 30 laps did not go well. That was at least 95% my fault. I don’t know what I was doing out there, but it didn’t go well. Jason got us some track position so we could get up there with the leaders. Held up there pretty good. Got up to second. Under green we got the lead when Jimmie had the problem, were able to adjust on the car some more, felt good about what we had when we got the rain delay. I was worried about the rain, the track conditions in the nighttime. I thought we were going to be better in a hotter, slick condition. But just shows I don’t know what I’m talking about. But, yeah, had a good car. Had great pit stops, great strategy, had that restart at the end. That push from Kevin got us out in front where we really needed to be.”
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff credit the crew for staying sharp during the entire race, which spanned eight hours.
“The team obviously performed great. The guys did a great job preparing the car this week. Making adjustments throughout the night. The racetrack had some rubber on it. Had some rain earlier today. Then we got that next rain shower, so the track went through a lot of different stages. The guys did a great job on pit road giving the adjustments we needed to get the car right, and again preparing the car for this weekend. They’ve done an excellent job all season. They’re doing what they need to do. As a race team, they’re bringing fast cars to the racetrack, executing during the race, they’ll be back home tomorrow getting the Loudon car ready bright and early in the morning.”
Despite some Toyota drivers having engine woes, including teammate Denny Hamlin, Kenseth was happy with the engine he had from Toyota Racing Development (TRD). “Honestly, from the time we got here, I was real happy with my car, real excited with my engine. I think TRD did a great job of giving us what we needed to qualify up front.”
For Kenseth a win is great, but the championship is the bigger picture in this Chase. “Every single point, every position is equally as important from here all the way until the last lap at Homestead. So you want to get as many points as you can get each and every week. We did a great job of that this weekend. You want to enjoy this, then go to work on New Hampshire tomorrow, try to go there and get as many points as you can. Just kind of take it one week at a time.”
Kenseth and the rest of the Sprint Cup Series are back in action this Sunday when they run the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Coverage begins about 1 PM EST on ESPN.