TNT Notes from Kentucky

Countdown to Green
Adam Alexander (host), Larry McReynolds (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst)

(TNT’s Countdown the Green crew interviewed No. 17 Matt Kenseth)

Kenseth on leaving some relationships after moving on from Roush Fenway Racing at the end of this season: “That’s the hardest part whenever you decide to do something different or leave an organization that you’ve been at for a long time. I have some friends and family over there and no matter how you spin it you feel like you’re leaving those guys behind."

Kenseth on preventing his decision to leave Roush Fenway Racing from becoming a distraction: “We’re the ones who control how big of a distraction it is. If we don’t let it become a distraction, it’s not a distraction. We’re the ones who have to perform every week."

(TNT’s Countdown to Green crew interviewed No. 5 Kasey Kahne on the set)

Kahne on his mindset coming off his win in Charlotte on May 27: “We need to keep it up, keep running well and be consistent to hopefully win some more races this year. We are going to have to win to make the Chase, that’s for sure."

From this week’s “NASCAR Generations" discussion on superstitions and rituals:

Jimmie Johnson on his raceday superstitions: “In my era of driving, with the motor home and our family, it’s a little bit different… I’m just most concerned about getting something to eat, maybe stretching. If it’s a night race, at this stage, my daughter needs a bath before she gets to bed…so I might be in my fire suit. There were a lot of night races last year where – fire suit tied around my waist – [I had] her in the sink, [washed] her up in the sink, [handed] her off to Mom, and out to driver intros."

Ned Jarrett on his superstition as a driver: “I will admit that maybe I was a little bit superstitious as far as the No. 11 was concerned. We would travel down toward Georgia, there’s a highway 11 somewhere through Georgia…we’d go out of our way to get over there on that No. 11 highway to go to whatever racetrack."

Jarrett on being scared behind the wheel of a race car: “The first time that I raced at Daytona…I was scared to death when I got out there the first time. No question about it."

Kyle Petty on whether or not he was ever fearful: “I never looked at it as a fear. You’re anxious, you may be a little nervous. You may anticipate. It’s your job, and you love to do it, but you never think about that side of it. You never think…it’s always worse when you’re lying in bed at night, and you think about what just happened."

Johnson on being fearful: “We all have a couple of those moments where it still, today, for myself, comes around…where like, man, that could have been so bad…I got so lucky."

Bill Elliott on being fearful: “I still [have] the car I won Daytona with in ’87 and went 210 [mph]. I look at it, and all it’s got is a seat in it – no leg braces, no helmet, no head support, no nothing. I mean, we are lucky to have lived through that era. All of us."

(TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed No. 18 Denny Hamlin prior to the race)

Hamlin announces that he’s extending his current deal with Joe Gibbs Racing: “I signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing and I’m proud of all the effort that everyone put in to get it signed. For myself, it’s great to know where you’re going to be in the foreseeable future and know that if I’m going to win a championship, it’s going to be with the team that I’m [currently] with."

Hamlin on rumors that No. 17 Matt Kenseth could join him as a teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing after the season: “I think he’s a great teammate to those guys at Roush [Fenway Racing]. I’m not in that organization so I don’t know much about it but I know what kind of character he has from what I’ve seen. On the track, I feel that I try to model myself after Matt and the way he drives so hopefully we can get him over here and we can have a very strong organization for years to come."

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TNT NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing presented by KFC from Kentucky Speedway
Adam Alexander (host), Wally Dallenbach (analyst), Kyle Petty (analyst), pit reporters Chris Neville, Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Petty on Kentucky Speedway: “It’s tough when you get on the inside lane and try to drive off of turn two here, it’s the fast way around the race track when you’re qualifying. When you get ready to race, you want to carry that momentum. This is a momentum race track."

Petty on No. 17 Matt Kenseth leaving Roush Fenway Racing after the season: “It’s going to be interesting to see where [Kenseth] lands and the ripple effect of where he lands. Does he replace an existing driver? Is there a new team that’s coming in? The rumor has been [Kenseth going to] the Gibbs organization and that begs the question: What happens to [No. 20] Joey Logano? This starts a lot of the ‘silly season’ as we call it."

Dallenbach on the mindset of No. 17 Matt Kenseth’s crew following the recent announcement of his departure from Roush Fenway Racing: “Matt is a guy that a lot of car owners would like to see [on their team]. If you’re making a championship run like Matt is, you’re not going to lay down. Championships are too hard to win. He’s going to give it 110% [the remainder of this season]."

Dallenbach on No. 18 Kyle Busch: “If the No. 18 [Kyle Busch] doesn’t hit the wall at least once during a race, his car isn’t handling. If his car is good, he’s usually bouncing off a wall."

Dallenbach on the challenge of making in-race adjustments: “It makes for a long night when you can’t make your car better."

Petty on how difficult it is to pass someone during a race: “These guys can run each other down but catching somebody and passing somebody are two totally different things."

Dallenbach on No. 2 Brad Keselowski’s win at Kentucky: “Talk about a relief for [the No. 2 team]. You have no idea how big this is for this race team. I think that’s going to be really important when we get down to the Chase."

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TNT NASCAR Summer Series – Post-Race Remarks

(TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed No. 2 Brad Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe following their win at Kentucky Speedway)

Wolfe on Keselowski: “He really thrives on [adversity] and anytime people think we’re down and out, he’s able to step up to another level."

(TNT’s Chris Neville interviewed No. 2 Brad Keselowski following his win)

Keselowski on if his three Sprint Cup victories this season give him an advantage in qualifying for the Chase: “Three wins feels pretty good and there’s never a guarantee but that’s as close as you can come. I’m trying to look forward. We’re trying to climb up the ladder and not have to worry about the Wild Card. I’m glad to have the wins to fall back on."

No. 5 Kasey Kahne on his performance in Kentucky: “My pit crew is really, really good. We just had a couple of mistakes…and we couldn’t get a good track position and had to fight for a long time. We had a great car."

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Kentucky Speedway: “The track changed a lot. The track is really rough and you slide all over the place. I’m ready to win. I had a lot of fun winning the other week (June 17) and I want to get back to victory lane."

No. 99 Carl Edwards on his disappointing finish: “I’m frustrated by how it all played out…it’s time for us to get it in gear. We’ve got to go. We’re really frustrated and I know we can do this."

No. 17 Matt Kenseth on his race: “It was a struggle. We really had a bad night out there, as bad as I can remember. That was tough…it was an uphill battle all night."

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