Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, won the first two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season before finishing last at Las Vegas due to an engine failure. Kenseth spoke about the extremes to his first three races in the AMS media...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, won the first two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season before finishing last at Las Vegas due to an engine failure. Kenseth spoke about the extremes to his first three races in the AMS media center with reporters.
THOUGHTS ON ATLANTA? "I'm glad to be here in Atlanta. It's a track I always enjoy coming to. Last weekend wasn't exactly a great weekend. We only got to race three-quarters of a lap before we broke, so I'm glad to get here and get to try again. It was a long weekend last weekend for that, so I'm looking forward to getting here and see what our stuff is like. We've still only raced really one downforce race because we didn't get to race last week, and I'm real curious to see how our stuff runs compared to everybody else and get here to race 500 miles and see where we stack up."
HOW HAS BRISTOL CHANGED SINCE THE REPAVE? "It's changed a lot since they reconfigured it. It's kind of the more calm, friendlier Bristol than what it used to be. Since they reconfigured it, us as the 17 haven't had as much success there. I don't feel like I get around there quite as good as I used to. We used to have some little tricks that seemed to be able to help - some of the guys that have ran there a lot - and the track is just kind of more plain. It's kind of like a lot of other tracks, although it's still fast and small and stuff happens in a hurry, so I look forward to going there and trying to improve because it hasn't been one of our best tracks since they re-did it and we've run the other cars there. We've still been kind of searching for what we need there to run as good as Carl and some of the other guys."
WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER HALF-A-LAP LAST WEEK. DID YOU BEAT THE SNOW BACK TO CHARLOTTE? "You always hate it when you blow up, but nobody's gonna feel too sorry for me after the two weeks before that, so really once they said we were out, I just packed up and headed toward the airport and tried to get home. I made it home that night, but didn't beat the snow."
IS THIS THE START OF ANOTHER KYLE BUSCH HOT STREAK AND DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING WITH JIMMIE AND CARL GETTING OFF TO SLOW STARTS? "No, it's only the fourth week out of 36 races, so I don't think where anybody is positioned right now matters a whole bunch. I've never seen Kyle not on a hot streak since he went over to Gibbs to be honest with you. I know they struggled a little bit in the chase and had some problems here and there, but they've been one of the cars to beat if not the car to beat. It seems like no matter what he drives, no matter what track we go to since the beginning of last year, so I didn't really think that was gonna be any different or didn't see a reason why it should be any different because it's the same team and all that stuff. I think it's kind of the same guys that probably ran good last year are gonna be the same guys to look at this year. We know we've got to aim at the 48, 99 and 18 - all of those guys - you're gonna have to beat those guys to be able to have a chance to get some wins and to be able to position yourself for the end of the year."
DO YOU LOOK AT WHERE YOU STAND IN RELATION TO THE GUYS YOU RACE WITH ON A CAREER BASIS? "To be honest with you, I don't, no. I think maybe, at least I hope I'm not close to the end of my career, maybe when you're at the end of your career you kind of look at where you stacked up throughout your career - the things that you've done or not done or wish you could accomplish or you're still trying to accomplish. But I don't really look at that right now. To be honest with you, the only reason I knew the number of wins was when we won at Daytona they said that was 17 and there were all these 17s that lined up, so that was really the only reason that I knew. Really, I just focus on every week. The time goes by so fast and you just keep focused on next week, and it seems like they keep rolling by. You don't really have time to sit and think about what was good and what happened before, you're just trying to focus on that next upcoming race and trying to figure out how you can win that or finish that and get you positioned in the points."
WHAT WAS THE COOLEST PART ABOUT WINNING THE DAYTONA 500? "The whole thing was cool. Probably the coolest part was to be able to back it up at California, really, to be honest with you, once we got there. It probably works a little backwards than what you think . We got done with Daytona and we went and did all that crazy media tour, did all this stuff, and, really, that's when I thought about it the most. Once we got to the track at California - from then to today - I've probably thought about it way less than what I thought about it then. That was probably the week I'll think about it the most for the rest of the season. You're just not gonna sit and really think about it that much because you're concentrating on the next deal and trying to run good here. I think it takes 100 percent of your focus to be able to be competitive every weekend. It is so competitive and it's tough to beat these guys. There's a lot of good teams out there and I think once I was done with that week, we really just shifted focus to California and shifted focus to Vegas and so on. But a lot of parts were cool. Of the media stuff, Letterman was the coolest probably, if I had to pick a media thing because I always wanted to be on there. It took me a long time for them to let me sit on the couch."
-credit: ford racing