Matt Kenseth, is one of four two-time winners at MIS, with his most recent Michigan victory coming in the 2006 fall race. Kenseth met with media members Friday to discuss Fords success at MIS over the years and look ahead to next weekend at ...
Matt Kenseth, is one of four two-time winners at MIS, with his most recent Michigan victory coming in the 2006 fall race. Kenseth met with media members Friday to discuss Fords success at MIS over the years and look ahead to next weekend at Bristol.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ALL THE SCHEDULE CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED AND THOSE RUMORED TO BE COMING? "I haven't really seen them all to be honest with you. I have glanced at it, but I haven't seen the whole schedule. It is probably cool to mix it up once in awhile. There are some tracks where you love going to but there weren't many people showing up in the stands. If you mix things up to try getting a different market or get more fans there it kind of makes sense from a business standpoint."
DO YOU LIKE CHICAGO LEADING OFF THE CHASE? "It doesn't really matter to me. Drivers are going to be a little bit biased because you are going to want to go to the tracks you like the most or run the best at. I really enjoy going to Chicago because it is the closest to home we ever race at and is one of my favorite places to go, so to go there in September will be fun."
WHAT ABOUT ATLANTA LOSING ONE? "I think for most drivers, Atlanta is a lot like Darlington or Rockingham, one of the most fun tracks we race on. It is one of the most challenging tracks and we look forward to that. As far as a track to compete on you are sad to see that go. Looking up in the stands though it is one of the weakest crowds we get at any track I can really think of all year and Kentucky has always had a ton of support for the Nationwide series. I am sure they will be excited to get a Cup race and fill the stands up." YOU HAVE A COUPLE TRACKS COMING UP THAT YOU LIKE, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK HERE AND AT BRISTOL TO SOLIDIFY YOUR PLACE IN THE CHASE? "I hope so. It has been a down couple of months. I don't think we have even had a top-10 in a long time. Hopefully we can be competitive here and get a good finish. In the past it has been a good track for us, but on the other hand we haven't finished or ran very well here the last couple of times. Some of the tracks, like Watkins Glen, which should be our worse, have actually been one of our best finishes recently. This is certainly a track I always look forward to and feel confident about, but it has been difficult to get finishes most of this year no matter what track we are at."
WHAT ABOUT BRISTOL, IS THAT MORE JUST SURVIVAL STILL? "Not really. Bristol has changed a whole bunch. It really changed when they went to this car actually. The old car was a lot different at that track. It was easier for someone to get turned around and this car now is much more solid and tougher to get spun out. When they changed that track they made it more forgiving. I think that the side-by-side racing you have there now has made the racing more competitive. It is not as much about crashes and survival as it used to be. There is a lot more room to move around and you can move your way to the front a little easier."
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO JACK SINCE HE HAS GOTTEN OUT OF THE HOSPITAL? "Not since he has gotten out of the hospital, no."
DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE HIM HERE THIS WEEKEND? "I don't know if he is coming or not this weekend. I have talked to him a few times before the races, but I haven't spoken to him since he left the hospital."
CAN YOU FEEL A DIFFERENCE WITH HIM NOT BEING AT THE TRACK OR DOES HIS PRESENCE MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOU AT ALL? "Yes and no. I think he would be the first one to tell you that if there was a huge difference or a drop in performance with him gone then he hasn't done his job building the team, the company or the organization the way it should be. His goal is to not have us feel a difference. His goal is to have quality, competent people in place to continue to run the company in a competitive manner. Certainly we miss not having him here and it is always nice to have him at the track and get some advice. He keeps a close eye on the teams and is a big help but the company is structured in such a way that it doesn't hurt if a person here or there is gone, even if they are key people."
WHAT WOULD A WIN HERE MEAN TO YOU WITH EVERYTHING JACK HAS GONE THROUGH THE LAST FEW WEEKS? "There are always circumstances that people will make a bigger deal or smaller deal about a win. Honestly, it has been about a year-and-a-half, so any win would be a huge win for us. We want to get back to victory lane and get back to being more competitive. It is maybe more special when it is closer to home or you have family or friends there or close to Jack's house or with all the stuff that has happened to Jack. Any win would be huge for us."
GOING BACK TO BRISTOL, THE LIGHT UNDER THE LIGHTS IN AUGUST, WHAT IS THAT LIKE? "It is always exciting. The fans are always really fired up about that race and so are the drivers and the teams. It is one that we always look forward to. It is a great atmosphere and fun for the fans and the drivers."
TEMPERS ALWAYS SEEM TO COME UP THERE. WHY IS THAT AND HOW DO YOU KEEP THEM IN CHECK? "It depends how your day is going, how it ends and what goes on. I don't try to approach it any different than any other race anymore. There is room to pass there and move around. You try to get your car handling as best you can and hope to be out front and stay away from the trouble."
WHAT DO YOU FOCUS ON GOING AROUND THOSE HIGH BANKS? "To just try getting around the race track as fast you can every lap. You can look around a little bit more for different grooves now that they have changed the track. If your car is handling one way, you want to run one groove. If your car is off a little bit you can move around and look for grip. Really you never used to search there because there was one line where you pretty much ran and had to make your car work there. Now the track is so wide and with that progressive banking you can really look around like you can at a bigger track. You just concentrate on trying to find grip and get around as quick as you can."
IN THE SPRING WHEN YOU WERE HERE THIS WAS A FAST RACE, JUST OVER TWO HOURS LONG, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS? "Must not have been many cautions."
BUT WHY WEREN'T THERE MANY CAUTIONS? "Nobody must have run into each other (laughter). I don't remember. I can hardly remember last week."
-source: ford racing