Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, addressed the media during a Q&A sessions Friday.
IS IT HARD TO COME OUT HERE EVERY WEEK NOW THAT YOU'RE SO FAR BEHIND FOR THE TITLE? "It doesn't really stink. Do you think it stinks for 42 people right now? Not really. This is awesome. We get to do what we love for a living. We get to go try to make a race. It's a lot better to be in the chase than to be out of it. There are 30 guys out there we race against every week that didn't get to make it, so I think it's great we made it. I wish things would have gone better up to this point in the chase to where we were a contender, but, overall, it's been a pretty good year."
YOU DON'T GET DOWN AT ALL AND THINK, 'IF ONLY?' "Not really. There are certain things that happen that are out of your control and things that happen that are in your control you try to look at and try to fix and try to do better the next time and just keep trying to improve."
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BEAT THE 48? "I'm not gonna beat him. I think where Jimmie's at right now, if they don't make a mistake, I think it's theirs to lose. I don't think anybody can win it on pure performance right now. They've run way too good. I don't think anybody's gonna beat them by 10 or 15 spots a week, or whatever it would take to beat them, so I just don't think that's gonna happen. So unless they have a mechanical failure or a wreck or a flat tire or something, they're probably in pretty good shape."
ARE YOU IN A TESTING MODE FOR '09 NOW? "Yes and no. We're always trying to improve and trying to get our cars better. We're always trying stuff, but we're not gonna try stuff that's gonna have a chance at dropping us out of races and taking us out of contention to win a race or losing more points. We're not trying stuff like that. We still want to finish as high as we possibly can in the points. We certainly want to get back to Victory Lane real bad and we're out there just trying to bring our best stuff and do the best we can."
DO YOU FEEL WITH THE TRACKS LEFT THAT YOU CAN GET A WIN OR TWO? "I hope so, but just about every week we go to the track I feel like we've got a team that's capable of winning, we just have to figure out how to put it all together. I feel good about them all. Phoenix is probably our weakest link. For some reason we've been struggling at the flatter tracks like that -- at least we have or I have at the 17 -- so, I don't know. Hopefully, our stuff will run good at all of them."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO SEE THE GOOD LUCK JIMMIE HAS HAD? "I wouldn't say it's all luck. A lot of times you create your own luck by how you're running and how your performance is and not making mistakes and that sort of thing. Talladega, there wasn't much we could do about that. We were running second, I think, when we got wrecked or something like that, but then there have been other races like New Hampshire. We got caught up in a wreck, but we were running 15th or 17th or something like that. If we would have been running up front where we should be running, we wouldn't have got in that wreck. It starts with performance and they have great performance on the race track and off the race track and when you have that, your chances of not having bad luck and getting caught up in the wreck are much better."
WITH THE NFL AND WORLD SERIES ON SUNDAY WHY SHOULD PEOPLE WATCH THE RACE? "Well, I'm gonna be in it so I've got to watch it (laughing). I think all of the races are exciting. I think, obviously, Jimmie's got a pretty good stranglehold on it if he doesn't have problems, but I think this is one of the best tracks that we go to as far as action. Through the last 10 years or so there have been a lot of last-lap passes and a lot of real close, exciting finishes, so in my book anyway -- and everybody likes something different -- but I think this is one of the best races that we have all year."
DO YOU FEEL PEOPLE NOTICE WHAT JIMMIE COULD DO THIS YEAR BY MAKING HISTORY WITH THREE TITLES IN A ROW? "I think people really notice it. I think maybe being part of the sport you're thinking that they don't notice it as much. Maybe if you were part of football, maybe you wouldn't think they were noticing the football as much. I don't know. I think they pay pretty close attention to what Jimmie and that group has done and it's been amazing, really, since they put it together."
ARE YOU GETTING GOOD AT WAITING OUT THE RAIN? "I'm fine with not qualifying every week. We're not very good at it usually, although our qualifying has been much better this year. If we could take 10th and not qualify here, that would probably be good for us. This has been probably one of my worst tracks for qualifying and one of my better tracks for racing, so if we could start toward the front, that would be alright with me."
-credit: ford racing