Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into this weekend's race. Kenseth has a 11 career top-10 finishes at New Hampshire, including a career-best second-place showing in...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into this weekend's race. Kenseth has a 11 career top-10 finishes at New Hampshire, including a career-best second-place showing in 2004.
WHAT ARE WE GOING SEE THIS WEEKEND? THERE HAVE BEEN EIGHT DIFFERENT WINNERS IN THE LAST EIGHT RACES HERE. "Last spring's race was unique, obviously, with the rain situation, so some of the guys gambled on being out front and pulling a win off like that, so that was interesting. But, I think track position is important here, obviously, it's better to pass than it used to be a long time ago. But, just like everywhere we go, track position is important. And you try to get your car to turn really good and then try to have track position at the end."
WILL DOUBLE-FILE RE-STARTS BE AN ISSUE HERE? "I don't think they'll be too bad here. It's widened out more than it used to be. The middle groove is probably the best, it seems like, it's where most people choose. You should be able to go a little lower than that, a little higher than that and not really have an issue, if everybody gives each other some room. So, I don't see this as being on the tracks that it's going to be an huge deal at."
YOU'VE HAD YOUR FAIR SHARE OF TOP-10S AT THIS TRACK. ONE THOSE DAYS, WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DID YOUR CAR HAVE? "We've only had really good cars here a couple of times. One time, we had a really good car here -- you've got to be able to turn in the middle without it being too terrible loose in and off, and we've had a hard time hitting that combination for several years. A couple of years when we got good finishes, we had been really loose and then got lucky and got extremely long runs where we could work the car up there in the long run. That's the hard part, is to get it to roll through the middle real fast without being loose on entry and loose on exit."
ARE THOSE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALL FLAT TRACKS, OR IS THIS TRACK DIFFERENT FROM, SAY, PHOENIX IN THAT WAY? "It's different. Every track is a little bit different, really. It's a lot different than, like, Phoenix, or any other flat track, I think."
AS A TEAMMATE, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR CARL EDWARDS TO REGAIN HIS WINNING FORM OF 2008? "Ah, man, I've got my own problems to worry about. That's on the bottom of my list of things to worry about. He won nine races last year, the 17 has won two in about the last two and a half years, so we've got our own things to worry about. We all work together real well during the week, really well during practice, share all of our information, all crew chiefs and engineers are working together great, but when we're on the race track racing on Sunday, we're racing for wins ourself."
GOLFERS SAY THAT, TOO; THAT THEY NEVER LOOK AT THE LEADERBOARD. DO YOU EVER LOOK AROUND AT WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU TO SEE WHAT YOU NEED TO DO OR WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN? "Yes and no. Usually, I kind of just glance at it. But the points you're going to earn over the year, it's pretty easy; the better you run, the more points you get, the better the finish the more points you get, so if you can be consistent top-10 runner and hopefully get top-fives more than half of them, you know you'll be in good shape in the points, and if you can contend with the leaders all of the time, but if you're back there, like we've done more times than not this year, struggling for top-20s, then you're prospects in the points aren't very good, and you're going to be right on the edge. So, we realize that we need to do better and need to do better every week, and try to get into winning form, is what the goal is really every week."
HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF PRESSING? "Yeah. Every week, in a way. This car is a lot different than the old car. It's easy to over-drive this car, and sometimes the harder you try the slower you go with these things. You have to remind yourself to slow down and be smooth, especially at some of these race tracks. But, you just try to get all the car will give you every lap -- it's really that competitive where you have to do that."
CONSIDERING WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS, WOULD YOU RATHER NOT GET THE NEW FORD ENGINE RIGHT OFF THE BAT AND RATHER HAVE SOMEONE ELSE RUN IT FOR A FEW RACES? "I'm under the understanding that we're probably not going to have it, really, this year for a full-time thing. I'm really not sure, but it doesn't matter to me. I have a ton of confidence in Doug Yates and the guys at the engine shop and whatever they think is best and whatever they decide to do, then I'm good with that."
ONE WEEK REMOVED FROM SONOMA, WOULD YOU BE OPPOSED TO SEEING A ROAD COURSE IN THE CHASE? "Yeah, I would be opposed to that, but it doesn't matter what I'm opposed to. It's just that we do it two times a year and we race ovals 34 times a year; I don't think road-course racing, in my opinion, is really what Sprint Cup racing is about. It's kind of unique and something different, so I'm going to go do it a couple of times of year and if everybody watches it a couple of times a year, but I don't think that describes at all what we do each and every week or that should really determine a championship, in my opinion."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THAM OUT OF THE SCHEDULE ALTOGETHER? "It doesn't matter to me. It's okay to go there once in a while. It's no big deal. Whatever people like to see is all right with me. Obviously, oval-track racing is what we usually do, and I would rather be on an oval track racing, probably, than a road course, but then it's kind of fun to change it up a couple of times a year."
-credit: ford racing