Kenseth comments on need to run up front at Dover

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion, comes to Dover International Speedway this weekend 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Kenseth held a Q&A session at his team hauler before the first of two scheduled practice sessions on Friday.

DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON THE PASSING OF CHRIS ECONOMAKI? “You would hear him when NASCAR racing first started being on TV, or at least being on TV in Wisconsin before I could see it in person, and you couldn’t help but notice Chris. He was one of the first and probably the most recognizable and famous voices there was with motorsports and I’m sad to hear about his passing.”

Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU HAVE HAD SUCCESS IN THE PAST AT DOVER. IS THERE COMFORT COMING HERE AFTER A COUPLE OF ROUGH RUNS? “Yes and no. Historically it’s been a good track for us from a performance standpoint, but it hasn’t been quite as good lately, although we have some good finishes to show for it. I hate to use the words make or break, but it sort of feels like that because if we come here and our cars don’t perform well, we’re probably in trouble for the rest of the year, so this is typically one of our best tracks. Greg usually runs up front here. Carl has run up front here a lot, and usually we have pretty good cars here, so, hopefully, as a group we’ll be faster.”

HOW DAUNTING IS IT TO KNOW YOU COULD RUN TOP 10 OR TOP 5 AND STILL NOT MAKE MUCH OF A DENT IN YOUR DEFICIT? “Jimmie and the 48 are the guys to beat every time you come here. They’ve been just extremely fast and dominant usually every time they come here. You just take it one week at a time. The only thing you can control is your own car and what your own team does and I think you just work as hard as you can as a team and try to get the best finishes you can every week. You can’t really do anything about where everybody else finishes.”

HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO PINPOINT WHY YOU HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO RUN UP FRONT RECENTLY AT DOVER? “We’ve been OK, but we just haven’t been perfect. We were able to win last spring with a pit strategy call. I think Jimmie and the 99 had the dominant cars, but we were able to make a good call there and get two tires and get out front and hold on. Other than that, we’ve just been a little off. We’ve been OK. We’ve been more competitive than other tracks on average, but we haven’t been dominant like the 48 and 24.”

DO YOU LOOK AT TALLADEGA AS A PLACE WHERE YOU COULD JUMP BACK INTO CONTENTION? “I do. For the first time in my career I’m probably really looking forward to going to Talladega. Our plate stuff has been extremely strong this year. I think we’ve led a lot of laps at all three plate races. They all ended on a green-white-checker. We were leading all three green-white-checkers, but unfortunately we lost the last two. I messed up both of them and didn’t do the right things, but we’ve had really fast cars. The 16 and my car have been really fast. We’ve been able to work together, stay up front the whole time in the plate races, and hopefully we can do that again and, if there is some trouble, take advantage of that for Greg and I and gain some points.”

IS IT BETTER TO WORK WITH ANOTHER CHASE DRIVER OR NON-CHASE DRIVER WHEN DOING THE TANDEM DRAFT? “Again, that’s something I don’t overanalyze. If we were in the Chase or not in the Chase, I would still try to work with a guy that’s gonna help you get your best finish. I think that’s how you look at it. I don’t think you look at anything else except for that. In all three races this year, the 16 and I have been able to work together and be up front and kind of know what each other is going to do and I think we’ll try to do that again.”

YOU MENTIONED THE WRECKS AT INDY AND BRISTOL TOOK OUT A COUPLE OF GOOD CARS. HAS THAT HAMPERED YOUR CHASE IN TERMS OF HAVING THE CARS YOU WANTED FOR THESE RACES? “I’m not really sure. Our stuff hasn’t been very fast. At Atlanta and Chicago, which are typically some of our best tracks, they certainly haven’t been very fast, so I know we’re always working and trying to make the stuff better. We know we still have improvement to do if we’re gonna be legitimate contenders down the stretch, so we’ve been working on it.”

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON QUALIFYING FRIDAY VS. SATURDAY? “I’ve kind of always like the schedule of an hour-and-a-half practice on Friday, qualify Friday afternoon, and then get some practice on Saturday. I think that always lets you look at a little bit of race setup Friday afternoon if you want, and then work on qualifying and have some stuff to look at Friday night so you can think of some ideas for Saturday to try. So I kind of like that schedule a little bit better, but it’s the same for everybody and you have to figure out how to make it work.”

Source: Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interviews
Tags economaki, ford, kenseth, monster mile, roush