Kenseth - Bristol II Friday media visit

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Ford Racing

Matt Kenseth, a two time winner here at Bristol, spoke to media members prior to the first Cup practice Friday.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – THIS RACE IS ALWAYS PRETTY INTENSE AND CRAZY. WITH HOW THE POINTS ARE AND SO MANY DRIVERS STILL IN CONTENTION FOR THE CHASE AND WILD CARD SPOTS, DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE EVEN CRAZIER? “I don’t know if it will be crazier than normal. It always depends on circumstances. This is always an intense race no matter where you are in the points. Everybody races hard everywhere, but this track creates a lot of action and aggression. It is a fun race to watch and a fun race to be a part of.”

IS THERE ANY REAL WAY TO RECOVER IF YOU GET TAKEN OUT HERE OR WHAT CAN YOUR CREW DO ON PIT ROAD TO KEEP YOU IN THE RACE? “Well that depends. Every situation is different and it depends how bad your car is wrecked I guess. These cars are way tougher than the older cars. It is tougher for someone to spin you out from behind than the older cars and wreck them as bad. They are a little more durable but it is certainly easy to get dinged up here and ruin your night for sure.”

LOOKING AT THE SEASON AS A WHOLE YOU GUYS WERE STRONG EARLY AND OTHER TEAMS HAVE STARTED TO PEAK NOW. IS THERE SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR PEAKING AT CERTAIN POINTS IN THE SEASON WITH RESPECT TO THE CHASE? “I don’t think you ever want to peak. I think you want to get better every week and keep improving. I think everybody in the garage basically does that. If you look at track records falling and qualifying times picking up every time we go back to a track you can see everybody gets constantly better. I think you just have to gain more than the rest of the competition. That is always the goal.”

LOOKING AT PEOPLE LIKE KYLE BUSCH OR EVEN THE 2 CAR, DO YOU CONSIDER THAT PEAKING OR JUST MOMENTUM? “I think, speaking of the 18, he is always really fast and always a contender to win whether he is racing for points or not racing for points. He loves to race, whether it is a late model race or his truck or the Cup car or whatever. He is always one of the guys to beat, so I don’t think that matters.”

WITH THREE RACES BEFORE THE CHASE, WHAT MORE IS THERE FOR YOU GUYS TO DO TO BE AS PREPARED AS YOU CAN FOR CHICAGO? “I think just trying to be as competitive as possible. I don’t think you want to go into the Chase and be running bad or be coming off bad finishes. Last week we didn’t finish the race off very good but we ran fairly competitively and I was very encouraged. The over-the-wall guys had the best day they have had all year in my opinion and the most consistent and fastest day they have had. They felt like they were in championship form and they were ready which was nice. We just gotta keep working hard and try to get our cars a little faster and just sharpen up everything all around the program before the last 10.”

YOU HAVE GREAT SUCCESS ON THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS, GOING INTO CHICAGO; YOU SHOULD BE ONE OF THE GUYS TO WATCH THERE RIGHT? “I hope so but there are a lot of things that are similar to these tracks leading to Chicago and that place. The tracks are different and the set ups are different and how you drive the tracks are different but the pit stops are the same and strategies are somewhat the same. A lot of the things we do are the same each and every week. You want to run good every week and be feeling good about it. You don’t want to have a rough three weeks and be going to Chicago on a down note and be like, ‘Okay, we didn’t have a good three weeks but we are going to Chicago and are going to flip the switch and turn it around.’ I think you want to run good every weekend and everybody feels better about that and gets confidence and a spring in their step. They feel like they are a contender. I don’t think it is make or break but I think it would be nice to have that attitude and feeling and have everyone excited to feel like they are part of a group that will contend.”

PIT CALLS HAVE BEEN A BIG FOCUS LATELY, HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THAT WITH JIMMY? “It is a little different and it has been different at times for several reasons. The tire is a big reason for that. We are burning less gasoline but we are burning more volume of fuel so our mileage is worse so we can’t run as many laps as we even did the year before. Those two things and then circumstances and how the cautions fall. Obviously if you can run 40 laps on fuel and the caution falls with 60 to go and it goes green to the end, strategy doesn’t matter much. It has been one of them years. There have been years like that if you think about it. In 2008 Carl won a lot of races I think four or five on fuel mileage. There have been years like that in the past if you look through and I think most people would like to see it all be about performance but that is just not logical.”

SOME ARE SUGGESTING THIS YEAR HAS BEEN MORE RADICAL THAN THE PAST COUPE YEARS. DO YOU HAVE TO BE MORE OPEN MINDED ABOUT THINGS AND HOW YOU TALK TO JIMMY OR WHAT YOU ACCEPT FROM JIMMY? “No, I think it is the same. I think you always think about it and it is circumstances. When you are on top of the pit box and you see the tires slow up three second somewhere and you run a half a fuel run, you know you are going to have to get four tires. When you see them slow up a second but after the cool down they are only four-tenths or three-tenths slower then you have to start thinking about that. Do you want two, do you need gas, how do I get out of pit road the fastest to get the best track position? Four tires aren’t enough advantage to pass the guys on two. There are a lot of things that go into that. I think it is different this year because of the tire and fuel mileage and it has been tougher to pass than in years past and I don’t know if that is the nose or what cause that. I think between those three things that has probably changed the strategy.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bristol, ford, kenseth, roush, sprint cup