Daytona 500: Matt Kenseth Media Day interview

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion HOW DO YOU FEEL HAVING THE SIGNATURE EVENT FOR THE SPORT AT THE START OF THE YEAR AND NOT AT THE END? "I think if you polled every driver in the garage, I can't think of anybody that would say anything...

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion

HOW DO YOU FEEL HAVING THE SIGNATURE EVENT FOR THE SPORT AT THE START OF THE YEAR AND NOT AT THE END? "I think if you polled every driver in the garage, I can't think of anybody that would say anything different. If I would say to them if you could give me their Daytona 500 ring or a championship ring, I think almost everyone -- if not everyone -- would take the championship ring. So I think that that Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and I think it's good the way they have it set up. Winning the championship, I think, is the biggest goal everybody has for the whole season, so I think to have the big race to kick the season off and get everybody excited -- remember what's going on. It's the middle of winter. There's two-feet of snow in Wisconsin. They start thinking about racing and getting enthused for the season. I think it's great and then at the end of the year you run that 10 races for the championship and crown the champion for the year. I think it's a good strategy."

CAN YOU HAVE A STRATEGY FOR THE 500 OR IS IT JUST SURVIVAL? "Here it's not always necessarily surviving. In the past anyway -- I don't know about this car -- but it's been working on your handling and trying to get yourself positioned. There has been times in the last few years -- recent history -- there aren't a lot of times where we do green-flag pit stops. It just seems like we get more cautions, so it's not quite as big of an issue. But it used to be that you'd work on handling really hard. You'd make sure you didn't lose that front draft. You don't want to be out of that front draft in case there wasn't a caution, so you still try to kind of think that way -- at least I do. I'm not real big on that hanging back thing, so you go out there and race all day and try to get the car to handle and get yourself in position where you think you have a chance to win."

CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT'S LIKE GOING 190 ON THIS TRACK? "Not really. I can't really explain it. We kind of do it every week. Every track is different but we kind of do it every week. When you come here and test and you're not in the car for a month or two and you get out and run the first couple of laps, you're like, 'Man, I don't remember being this fast,' or it feels like you're going fast. But when you keep running and running, you don't really feel the speed as much. You're all going the same direction and you don't really always necessarily feel that unless you're looking at an object that's standing still or like you wreck. Those are the times you feel the speed, but you just kind of get used to it. You don't really think about how cool it is, you have a lot of other things you're trying to concentrate on."

WHAT WILL YOU WATCH FOR ON SATURDAY NIGHT? "I have some teammates in the Shootout -- most of them -- so I'll probably scan Greg and those guys and listen to their radio conversations and see what they're saying about the car and talk to those guys afterwards -- debrief and see what went on. But I think I'll just be watching the whole thing. How easy it is to pass or how hard it is to pass. How many cars it takes to team up to pass a car. Where the groove seemed like it was or the fastest car, so I'll just be watching the whole thing and analyzing and trying to get some ideas. The pack is half as big as what we'll have on Sunday of the 500, but it's about the size of the pack you'll have for the 150, so I think you'll be able to gain some knowledge just watching." HOW SIGNIFICANT WAS THE CARS MOVING AROUND AT TALLADEGA? "I think at Talladega they handled fine. I think anything would handle fine there with that surface and what they've got going on, but I think here is gonna be different. I saw some cars that were surprisingly very loose testing, especially in the first test. It was real hot and we had some tires coming apart a little bit and the cars were sliding around and all that. In the second test nobody had any issues, but it was 50 degrees, so I'm really curious to see it. I don't know the weather forecast, but I hope it's kind of warm and we can kind of see what's gonna happen with all that."

HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IS THERE GOING FROM ONE-CAR RUNS AND SIX-CAR DRAFTS IN TESTING TO A 20-CAR DRAFT OR 43-CAR DRAFT IN THE RACING HERE? "A single-car run and a pack of four or five is not a big deal. When you get to a pack of 10-12-15-20, that's a big deal. It's a lot different."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth