Matt Kenseth sits inside the top-12 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into Sunday's Pepsi 500. He addressed the media after Friday's practice session at California Speedway. MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 R&L Carriers/DeWalt Ford...
Matt Kenseth sits inside the top-12 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into Sunday's Pepsi 500. He addressed the media after Friday's practice session at California Speedway.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 R&L Carriers/DeWalt Ford Fusion
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RIVALRIES IN THIS SPORT? "I think anytime there's any kind of conflict in any sport it makes it more interesting to watch. As long as I'm not part of it, I love it. I think it's fun to watch. I think it's entertaining and gives you something else to think about besides just the race. You're thinking about what's going on with maybe some drivers that have had some issues."
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A DRIVER THAT'S HAD A PROBLEM WITH A RIVAL? "That's hard to say. Maybe you go through periods where maybe you won't see eye to eye with a certain driver for a while or have a squabble or a disagreement or something like that. I guess probably friendly rivals is what Dale Jr. and I were throughout the Busch Series. We both raced for a championship and he won them both those couple years, but it was more of a friendly rival. We just had a good time racing each other, but it seemed like we were always racing for points and up there racing for wins and top fives." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS TRACK? "I like it because it's big and wide open and there are two or three grooves. You can pass, generally, when you catch someone. The wider the track is, the more opportunities there is to pass and put on a good race, I think."
HOW MUCH DOES A DRIVER INTERACT WITH HIS SPOTTER? "I think every track and every driver-spotter combination is different. I think there are some guys that don't like to hear them a lot and really look around and make most of the decisions for themselves in that car, and then I think there are probably other drivers that when their spotter says clear, they don't even look, they just come up or come down or whatever because they trust them that much. So I think every combination is a little bit different. Like at Bristol, all the cars are in a real small area and you've got to trust them a lot when things start happening. It's the same think like Talladega -- it's a big track but you've got all the cars globbed together, so you probably rely on your spotters more. But at a big track like this, you're usually pretty aware of your surroundings."
DO YOU WORK ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND FIGURING OUT THE BEST WAY TO DO IT? "Yeah, when you start with somebody. I think if you've got to work with them too much, you probably have to find a different combination. You have to find someone you're comfortable with and he understands what you want to hear, what you don't want to hear, when you want him to talk, when you don't want him to talk, and he understands you too, so I think everybody is just a little different."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SHOOTOUT CHANGE? "Whenever they have any kind of special event that you don't have to win a pole to be in it, that's usually good for us because I'm not a very good qualifier. I haven't read all the stuff, but I guess I've only been a part of that race once, maybe twice. You want to be a part of every event, so if they make a different way for qualifying, that's probably good for us."
DO YOU THINK THE CHANGE IN LAPS WILL HAVE ANY EFFECT ON THE RACING? "I don't think so -- not when you have that few cars out there. I'd imagine it's half the field or less and even as good as these cars draft, the smaller amount of cars you get out there, the harder it is to pass and to come from the back and do all that stuff. So I still think in a race like that, when there's not a lot of cars, you're gonna want to position yourself as close to the front as you can the whole race."
-credit: ford racing