Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion, is a former winner of the Sprint All-Star race (2004) and one of two Ford drivers currently in the main event. Kenseth held a Q&A session at Charlotte Motor Speedway to discuss...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion, is a former winner of the Sprint All-Star race (2004) and one of two Ford drivers currently in the main event. Kenseth held a Q&A session at Charlotte Motor Speedway to discuss this weekend.
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WIN THIS EVENT AND COMPETE IN THIS RACE? "That was fun and this weekend is always a fun weekend for us with the way the practice and race schedule goes for the next week or so. It's always nice to get to race tomorrow night and kind of get a test for the 600 to see what the track is gonna be like at night. It's usually a fun week."
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN THE LAST 10-LAP SHOOTOUT, AND HOW MUCH OF AN EDGE IS IT FOR HAMLIN TO HAVE THAT FIRST PIT STALL? "You want to be leading. I think you want to be leading just about anywhere, except for the way Talladega played out, but, other than that, I think you want to be in the front and have your choice for the restart. You want to be leading. I don't think the pit stall really matters this week very much. It matters a little bit leaving pit road down there, but I don't think it matter a lot because every other pit stall is empty, so you always have an opening either coming in or leaving or both. I don't think the pit stall is gonna be a big deal as much as it would be for the 600 or if the whole field was out there and all the pit stalls were full."
WHY IS RACING ABLE TO MAKE ITS ALL-STAR RACE MORE WATCHABLE THAN THE REGULAR SEASON WHEN THE OTHER SPORTS ARE THE OTHER WAY AROUND? "Other sports are a lot different. They're a team sport, but none of those guys want to get hurt in their all-star game. It doesn't really mean a lot for winning a championship or going to the Super Bowl. For us, it's different. It's not really that physical of a sport. It's not like we're gonna go sprain our ankle in the car and not be able to race next week in the 600. Plus, our race is interesting and exciting. It's a lot shorter than normal and not a five-hour marathon like next week. It's a 10-lap shootout at the end with a $1 million payday with no championship implications or anything like that. The pit stops are real important. You kind of know what's gonna happen ahead of time. The pit stop contest Wednesday night is exciting, so I think it's just hard to compare. It's just a lot different."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT POCONO IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS? IS IT HARDER TO FIGURE OUT THAN OTHERS? "I haven't really thought about Pocono yet today. It's kind of in the back of my mind, I guess. We've had a couple of decent runs there. It hasn't been one of our strongest tracks, but it probably hasn't been one of our worse tracks either. We'll just approach it like any other race and go there to do our best."
WHAT'S THE ONE MEMORY THAT STANDS OUT ABOUT YOUR ALL-STAR WIN IN '04? "Just racing real hard with Ryan for the win. That was the year the tire didn't drop off a lot and guys were winning races on fuel mileage and staying out. He decided to stay out in the All-Star Race and he got that clean air and got away a little bit. I think we had four tires on and I could still barely pass him. I remember we were pretty loose and he was on older tires, and how hard we had to battle for that. It was a really fun race with him."
HOW DID PRACTICE GO AND DO YOU VIEW THIS AS A TEST SESSION FOR THE ROUSH FENWAY TEAMS? "I hope that we're testing today because that means we'll be better tomorrow (laughing). We really approach every race basically the same. The only time that, in my opinion, this race really changes is like last year when you had three-wide off of turn four and they wrecked. You might not have that in a 600-mile race. Somebody probably would have lifted, but, other than that, it's about the same. Yeah, you're out there going for the win, but every week if you're in position, you're gonna go for the win. Here, if we don't get running better, we're running 14th, how do you go for the win from 14th? You can't, so you still have to be in position to win and be competitive. I wouldn't say we really use it as a test. The whole test here, we as a team - just speaking for the 17, I can't really speak for the rest of the Roush cars - but we ran really poorly. We couldn't figure it out. We unloaded today and my car actually drove the same, so it's been a real struggle all day today. I don't have any idea what to expect for qualifying, but, hopefully, we'll be able to improve it for tomorrow night."
-source: ford racing