Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion, both came into the Kansas Speedway infield media center after testing yesterday. Bayne was driving the new 2013 NASCAR Fusion while Kenseth was in the current model preparing for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Following is a transcript of their comments:
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion –
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TEST AND THE NEW PAVEMENT AT KANSAS?
“It was nice. We were here for the tire test and there wasn’t a lot of cars here, so I think the track is a lot different right now than when we left here after the tire test. They did a nice job. It’s pretty smooth. It seems like it’s getting faster and it feels all right.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion –
CAN YOU SPEAK ABOUT THE NEW SURFACE AND HOW THE 2013 CAR FEELS?
“I didn’t know what to expect with the track because I wasn’t here at the tire test. A couple of guys went out before I did and said it was a little bit slick, so I took it easy and we picked up speed pretty quick with that ’13 car. We started off with 32-second lap times, I think, and by the end of the day we were at 30.40’s or better. That’s a pretty good pick-up, but I think the track is just gonna keep getting faster all weekend – moving out. It seems like if you get the right-rear out of the groove a little bit, you’re sideways – at least with the cars that I’m in. I’m not sure how the 2012 cars are, but the track is just really slick outside the groove, so, hopefully, that moves up pretty quick. I notice the transitions going off of pit road and onto the race track are pretty steep here, so that will definitely force us to blend later on the straightaway in the race, but, other than that, the track is pretty awesome. I think it’s gonna be fun to race on and, hopefully, it gets widened out and really smooth. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and getting back in my 2012 car to see what we’ve got with the 21 team, but the ’13 car drives really good. I think they’re working on some different things to try to make the racing better. Obviously, the cambered rear end, to me, really sticks out as having the forward drive on exit and really being able to control the car with the gas pedal better. When it gets free you can get to the throttle and stabilize the car, but the aero package is still all up in the air, so I’m sure they’ll start locking that in later as we go, but, for now, we’re just throwing everything at it.”
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED –
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TIRE AND HOW IT REACTS? ANY CONCERN AFTER WHAT HAPPENED AT MICHIGAN IN JUNE THAT WE COULD GO THROUGH THE SAME THING HERE?
“It’s the same tire as Michigan. I thought when we tested here the first time it felt like it had a lot less grip than Michigan, I think just because we didn’t have the track wore in – kind of like the first time we went to Phoenix or actually the first time at Michigan as well. So I think it feels good. It feels like the same tire as Michigan. I think it’s the same asphalt – all the same people are making the mix for it and putting it down basically, so, to me, the track is still shaped like it was, although the banking changes a little bit, but everything looks familiar. It looks like Kansas and the race track and the tire feels just like the last couple times at Michigan, to me, or at least the last time there.”
TREVOR BAYNE CONTINUED --
THERE WAS SOME THOUGHT THAT THE HIGH GROOVE WOULD BE THE FASTEST WAY AROUND BECAUSE OF THE PROGRESSIVE BANKING. DO YOU THINK THAT WILL EVENTUALLY BE THE CASE EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT TAKE SOME TIME TO GET UP THERE?
“It’ll take a couple people blowing tires and getting up there to clean it off first probably because nobody is gonna want to go up there. I know that today, like I said, one half of a tire up the race track more than what everybody else was running was too much, so I think we’re kind of locked in for now.”
WHEN YOU GET HALF THE TIME YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GET WHAT DOES THAT DO TO THE TESTING PROCESS?
“I think for us with the ’13 car we had more of a rundown sheet of what we wanted to try, so it probably affected our test a little bit more, whereas the other teams are probably doing more balance things, and then they have checklists they want to go down, but, for us, you just eliminate some of the things that are less important or not as big of changes and you just take those out of the list and get to them later before we run these cars next year. So, for our test that’s how it’ll change it. Now tomorrow, when we get in our car, it’s all gonna be the same because we were only gonna do about two runs anyway.”
WHAT’S YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE CAR IS DIFFERENT BETWEEN NOW AND THE TEXAS TEST? AND WERE YOU ABLE TO GET IN A DRAFT OF ANY KIND TODAY?
“I only got behind one car and that was enough for me right now, so that’s one of the things they’re working on though. They want these cars to be able to race and to be able to be behind other guys. I was behind Jimmie Johnson and it got really free on entry, so we had to back up from that. We don’t know that it’s going to consecutively do that every time once we get the balance dialed in or get the aero platform changed, but from Texas I think everybody is on a little bit different deal now. Some people have a smaller spoiler, some people have the cambered rear end and some don’t, some have different pans in the front, so I think they’re just doing like a shotgun approach at this – like a shotgun blast on everything and seeing what they can come up with and what kind of feedback they get. I went straight to Brett Bodine and those guys and told them exactly what it did behind Jimmie there the one time, so I know it’s on the radar and it’s definitely something they’re focused on with these cars is making them drive good. I know that they’ve gone to all the teams and said, ‘What do you think will make our racing better?’ And they’re trying that, so it’s a big step for NASCAR to step outside the box and go to the teams and ask their opinions. I think that’s huge, so, hopefully, we’ll get them to where we can race and can pass. I know now that our cars are so much of a handful that we don’t want to be around other guys, so if we can just get the grip like they’re trying to do with the mechanical things, that will really help the racing.”
HOW WERE YOU CHOSEN TO DRIVE THE 2013 CAR?
“I think every driver is going to get their opportunity in the car. Carl has driven it and Ricky was in it at Talladega and now I’m in it.”