Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, is coming off his second win of the season after taking the checkered flag in last week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover. Kenseth spoke about the weekend ahead before Friday’s practice for the Sprint All-Star Race.
AFTER LAST WEEK’S WIN DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE SOME SECURITY NOW AS FAR AS MAKING THE CHASE? “I guess there’s maybe a little more security, but it’s still really early and there’s a lot of racing to do. I don’t think two wins is going to guarantee a spot in the chase, so certainly there’s a lot of racing to do. We want to work our way up in the points a little farther. For three weeks in between Texas and Dover we didn’t have very good results, so we certainly want to get those kind of results (like Dover) on a consistent basis, but it also did feel great to get another win. To get two wins in that short of a period is really huge for me personally and for our race team. That gives us confidence and hopefully we can keep that up.
GUYS LIKE HARVICK AND KYLE BUSCH FEEL GOOD WITH TWO WINS AS FAR AS MAKING THE CHASE. YOU DON’T THINK THAT’S THE CASE? “I would think more than likely that would be OK, but you never know for sure what’s gonna happen. Jamie last year had three wins, I think the last one was during the chase, but he had three wins and he didn’t get in, so you don’t know what’s gonna happen. Also, I don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, we’ve got two wins so we’re in and we don’t have to worry about the next three months.’ You want to go out and try to win more races, you want to try to run up front and be consistent and be a contender week-in and week-out no matter what time of year it is.
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR TOMORROW AS FAR AS WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FOR THE 600? “Yes and no. I think no matter how you run, you use some of the information and you use some of your race experiences from the All-Star Race to the 600. There’s very limited practice. We have practice for an hour-and-a-half, so during that time you have to work on your pit road speed, your pit road entry, your pit road exit. You’ve got to work on a qualifying run and you have to work on your race run, so there is a lot to do in an hour-and-a-half. Realistically, there’s not much time to try a lot of different stuff. We showed up with what we thought was gonna be best and we’ll work off that and see if we can find some things to improve on it a little bit. To go out and try to win the race tomorrow night is the number one goal and then no matter where you finish there, hopefully you can gather some information that will be useable for next week.
The racing is a little bit different with the format ...
AS MUCH AS EVERYBODY SAYS YOU RACE ALL OUT EVERY WEEK, IT SEEMS WE SEE A NEW LEVEL OF INTENSITY IN THIS RACE. DO YOU FEEL THAT’S THE CASE? “The racing is a little bit different with the format, the pit stops and the pit stop qualifying and all that. If you’re in position to win the race at the end, you’re gonna race as hard as you can. Really, I think that happens every week. This kind of racing is really competitive and if you have a chance to win and you’re in a position to win, you’re gonna do everything possible to try and win that race. I don’t see it being a lot different. If you’re running 10th with five laps to go or four laps to go, you’re not gonna win anyway so you still have to have yourself in a position to win. There’s hopefully gonna be a few cars that are in that position at the end and they’re gonna race all out to try to win that race. You take maybe a little bit more risk out here or there’s a little less penalty if something happens to you because there are no points involved and it’s a shorter race. All of these races are big races and you want to try and win every week.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE TWO WINS THIS SEASON IS THERE A NEW LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE WITH YOUR TEAM? “Certainly the better you run, or the more races you can win or run up front gives you more confidence and momentum. You never know if you’re ever gonna win another one or, if you do, when it’s gonna come, but certainly the better you run in general, the more confidence I think you have as a group.”
-source: ford racing