Kenseth - Michigan Friday media visit

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Ford Racing

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, a two-time winner at Michigan International Speedway, met with media members outside his hauler prior to the first Cup practice session Friday at MIS.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Matt Kenseth, driver No. 17 Kroger Ford Fusion - WAS IT HERE IN JUNE THAT YOU HAD ISSUES ON PIT ROAD? “I have to be honest with you. I have no idea. I know we qualified well and finished second, but I don’t really remember the rest of the race to be honest.”

ANY PARTICULAR CONCERNS AS YOU GUYS GET READY FOR THE CHASE? “Well, I haven’t really thought that far ahead. We are taking it one week at a time and would love to be able to win more races obviously. This has been a good track for us in the past and we want to take advantage of that this weekend and really that is what is on the front of my mind right now.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DANICA? “You mean in general or something specific?”

HOW DO YOU THINK SHE WILL DO COMING IN NEXT YEAR TO NATIONWIDE AND A FEW CUP RACES? “If there was an announcement or something, I don’t know about it, so you will have to fill me in. I haven’t seen the news, so you have to tell me if there is something I need to know.”

SHE IS GOING TO RUN NATIONWIDE FULL TIME IN 2012 AND SUPPOSEDLY CUP SIDE IN 2013. “That is great. We have seen her improve a lot from when she first came in to get to the point where she is at now. I think that will be a good next step to do that series every week. We have seen big improvement, so I think that will be good.”

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND? “You never know what to expect but in the past this has been a great track for us. We need to take advantage of that this weekend and hopefully be up there in the mix for a win at the end. That is what my goal is.”

YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SET UP WILL FOR THE CHASE. ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU CAN COMPETE WHEN THE CHASE COMES WITH THE CAR YOU HAVE NOW? “I think we have four weeks before that and I am focused on those next four races to get up front and lead some laps and contend for some wins. I will probably have a better idea after that.”

THIS RACE TYPICALLY IS A FUEL STRATEGY RACE. WHERE DO YOU RANK YOURSELF AS FAR AS SAVING FUEL? “I think that is impossible to tell, honestly. I think everyone is smart enough to save fuel, but you have to have the fuel mileage to start with to be able to do that. I think it was 2008 when Carl won all them races on fuel mileage and he was getting better fuel mileage than the rest of us and they were like, ‘Oh man, he is so much better at it.‘ Then whatever happened there with that carburetor or whatever he had, he didn’t have any more and all of a sudden he got the same mileage as all of us. It has so much to do with what you have going on in your car and the tuning and all that stuff.”

IS THAT SOMETHING YOU GUYS DISCUSS DURING THE WEEK WHEN YOU ARE AT THE SHOP? “Not really. You always want to get the best fuel mileage you can. When we go to road courses we talk about it more. When we come to these places I think Jimmy and my strategy is always the same. You bring the fastest car you can and work on it to get it as fast as you can and hopefully the race comes down to performance and racing.”

OVERALL, HAVE YOU BEEN PRETTY PLEASED WITH WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS YEAR? “Yeah, overall if I had to take a snapshot of the whole season it has been a great year for us. You always want to do better and improve. You want to be on your game the last ten races when it really counts, but overall it has been a good season for us. We are only 2/3 of the way there and have a lot of racing left to do, but so far it has been good.”

YOU MENTIONED NOT LOOKING TO FAR AHEAD AND FOCUSING ON THIS WEEKEND. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU TYPICALLY DO OR DO YOU GET TO THIS POINT IN THE YEAR AND REALLY FOCUS ON THAT MORE? “I have always taken it one race at a time. I think every Cup race is a big race. You never want to give anything up any weeks. There are no free weeks. You never show up and don’t want to do your best. We try to go one week at a time. Yes, you try to plan ahead and look ahead but your main focus is this week and then you move on to next week.”

ARE YOU GUYS DOING ANY TESTING? “Not a lot. We did road course testing before Watkins Glen. We might make a trip to Milwaukee before New Hampshire, but there isn’t much testing you can do. I guess there are some places you can go to just say you go and test but if you are going to do that you want to learn something that will be beneficial or useful.”

NEXT WEEK, BRISTOL, IS THAT A PLACE YOU LOOK FORWARD TO? “Yeah, it is funny the stretch we went through. The road courses aren’t my best and you never know what will happen there, although I thought we ran pretty good last week. If we wouldn’t have had our problems it would have been better. New Hampshire is not one of my best tracks and Pocono before that. I kind of feel like, I hate to say relieved, but I am looking forward to the next five weeks a lot. They are all really good tracks for us and have been for us in the past. All the tracks coming up are tracks that feel like that. If everything goes right, we can win at them and that is always fun.”

THEY CHANGED THE BANKING AT BRISTOL A FEW YEARS BACK. HOW DID THAT CHANGE IT AND DID YOU LIKE THE OLD TRACK BETTER? “There are certain things I like about both of them. The car changed it a lot too. It wasn’t just the track, they changed the car before the reconfigured the track and that changed the style of racing quite a bit. These cars are a lot more stable and harder to get spun out and stuff like that. That changed the dynamic a little bit. The new track is more forgiving and drives like a bigger track. It drives like a ¾ or mile instead of a half-mile because it is so wide. I think both of them produce good racing but this one produces better racing as far as side-by-side racing and getting up alongside people and racing with people more than the old format.”

YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE THE GUY TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THINGS BUT IS RACING UNDER THE LIGHTS THERE COOL? “It is. The August race is always fun. It is the middle of summer and it is hot and the crowd is usually big and excited and they usually have a lot of action and cool things that weekend. That is one of the weekends that not only the fans look forward to but I think the drivers and teams look forward to it too.”

BEING FIFTH IN POINTS, IS IT FUN OR INTERESTING TO WATCH WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE WILD CARD SPOTS? “Yeah, that has been fun. Hopefully we can have a couple good runs and we won’t have to worry about that because I guess mathematically we still have to worry about that. Of all the changes they have made the last few years, I am not one that always probably likes change as some other people, but of all the changes made I think that is one of the best ones. It has been interesting to watch and has added a new element to going into Richmond and you don’t know who will be in the Chase or not until right to the very end.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags brooklyn, ford, kenseth, roush