Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, enters Sunday’s race in fourth place in the Chase standings and brings one win, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes at Phoenix in his Sprint Cup series career. Kenseth held his weekly Q&A session at Phoenix International Raceway just before Friday’s practice session.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CHASE, YOU SAID THAT YOU THOUGHT THE GUY THAT WOULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WOULD WIN ONE OR MORE RACES AND YOUR TEAMMATE HAS ONE WIN ALL SEASON WHILE THE OTHER GUY HAS FOUR CHASE WINS. ARE YOU SURPRISED? “It’s not over yet but Carl has had a spectacular eight races considering I think 11th is his worst finish. I don’t know what his average finish is but that is definitely consistent with this system. If you have some bad finishes it is hard to come back from. I am somewhat surprised he hasn’t won more races this yet, yet he has had a really consistent season and performed really well at the same time.”

IF HE DOES WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT WINNING ANY CHASE RACES, DO YOU EXPECT NASCAR TO BLOW UP THE POINTS SYSTEM AGAIN? “If he does with the championship I hope he doesn’t win another race because that will mean the heat will be off me. The year we won the championship we only won one race and it was Las Vegas as well. If he does win it, that would be great. Then I won’t have to listen to it anymore.”

YOU’VE WANTED ME TO ASK ALL YEAR ABOUT HOMESTEAD. NEXT WEEK WE GO THERE, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GO FAST THERE? “Kind of the same things it takes at the rest of the tracks I guess. Homestead is one of the few tracks that they redesigned and have done a really good job on it. There are two really good grooves and you can really pass there. It is a great race track to race on and one that most people look forward to going to every year because it is unique and challenging but yet you can still pass. You can put a good race on there.”

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LOOK MOST FORWARD TO IN THE OFF-SEASON? “Just having a few weekends at home. I will probably do some normal things like catch up with friends I haven’t seen for a long time because they work during the week, unlike us. I will try to get back home and do some snowmobiling a little bit and do some things that we don’t normally get to do.”

IS THERE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ON TWITTER THAT YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD FOLLOW AND WHY? “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. I haven’t been on it all week actually.”

SHOULD THEY FOLLOW MATT KENSETH OR ROSS KENSETH? “I don’t know. They can do whatever they want I guess. I don’t have a good one for you on that.”

THIS WEEK, KYLE BUSCH’S SPONSOR PULLED OUT OF SPONSORING THE LAST TWO RACES FOR THE 18 CAR. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT SPONSORSHIP WHEN YOU ARE OUT ON THE RACE TRACK? “I think about them a lot because mine backed out forever. Two races doesn’t seem that severe to me. I would be happy if I was set for next year. I think a company like that is probably very image conscience and that is something that you gotta think about.”

WITH A FULL SEASON OF THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM ABOUT OVER, DO YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER? “For the better? I don’t know. I don’t spend enough time thinking about if it has been better, worse or the same to be honest with you. The Chase has been tight and you guys probably know where it would be under the old system, I have no idea. It is really tight between at least two guys going down the last two races, that is exciting.”

YOUR SPONSORSHIP SITUATION FOR NEXT YEAR. DOES IT EVER MAKE YOU ANGRY? DO YOU THINK WHAT THE HECK ELSE DO I HAVE TO DO? “No, not really. Not at all really. I think that from the performance side we have been doing a pretty good job. You can always do better. That is the main part that Jimmy and I and the team can control. The marketing side and the sales side I don’t have much to do with. I don’t know what their challenges are or that type of thing. I don’t get angry. Probably more so than anything I am thankful for all the years I had such great sponsors I got to work with.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU THAT JACK HAS SAID THAT HE WILL RUN THE 17 NEXT YEAR EVEN IF HE HAS TO DO SO OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET? “It means he will probably lose a lot of money next year or he has made a lot of money the last ten years, or maybe both.”

DOES IT SPEAK TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM THAT HE WOULD GO TO THAT LEVEL IF HE HAS TO? “I don’t know. I don’t know how to look at that exactly. Do you look at it as a relationship thing or a business decision and that is one of the teams he has had that has been one of his better performing teams and look at it like a business and that he can’t stop running that team. I don’t know but I would assume that he has profited on the team the last 10 or 12 years and that is part of probably the business structure. When things aren’t great you try to keep running it and hope things will turn around and you get it funded again. I would think that, but I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it like that.”