MATT KENSETH, DRIVER OF THE NO. 17 DEWALT FORD FUSION, IS IN EIGHTH PLACE IN THE STANDINGS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND'S RACE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY. KENSETH WON AT PHOENIX IN '02. IS IT A BIG DEAL TO FINISH AS HIGH IN THE STANDINGS...
MATT KENSETH, DRIVER OF THE NO. 17 DEWALT FORD FUSION, IS IN EIGHTH PLACE IN THE STANDINGS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND'S RACE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY. KENSETH WON AT PHOENIX IN '02.
IS IT A BIG DEAL TO FINISH AS HIGH IN THE STANDINGS AS POSSIBLE? "You always want to do as best you can, bring your best stuff and put your best foot forward -- you're always trying to win races and finish as high as you can finish. It's important to finish the season as high as we possible can. Hopefully, we'll move up in the points a little bit more, and have a good feeling about it going into next year."
DO YOU START EXPERIMENTING FOR NEXT YEAR? SOME TEAMS ARE MOVING PERSONNEL AROUND. "You can maybe move some personnel and that type of thing, but this car NASCAR has us locked in so tight, there's not a lot of experimenting, really, that can be done anymore. There's a lot of real little things here and there, but it's not very much. We used to be build new cars every year and try different body configurations or different-style chassis and stuff, but they've got so many rules and have got these things so locked in that there's not really a lot of extra experimenting and testing and stuff we can really do."
YOU'VE BEEN VERY CONSISTENT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. WITH TWO RACES REMAINING, YOU HAVEN'T WON, YET, IN THE CUP SERIES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2001. HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR SEASON? "There's been a lot of bright spots in our season, a lot of things I think we've done right and there's been a lot of mistakes that we've learned from to make our team stronger. There's ups and downs. I'm disappointed that we don't have a shot at the championship, and at this point we haven't had a win yet, but the bright side is we've been able to make the Chase, we've been able to be consistent, there's a few races we had good enough stuff to win in the right circumstance. So, you know, kind of right in the middle of the road."
ARE THERE OTHER THINGS OTHER THAN WINS THAT RACE TEAMS LOOK AT TO MEASURE SUCCESS? "Yeah, of course. It's not two teams, it's not like a football game where there's one winner and one loser, there's 43 of them out there, and obviously when you run sixth that's better than running 16th or whatever. You still measure how you are compared to your competition, and we haven't been as good as the top few of our competition who are the ones up there running for a championship. We've been as good or better than a lot of the teams."
AS CONSISTENT AS THIS TEAM HAS BEEN, COULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED GOING THIS DEEP INTO A SEASON AND NOT YET GAINING A WIN? "I don't ever expect to win. When we win, I'm happy about it, pleasantly surprised. I'm kind of like the Mark Martin deal -- I mean, you never know when you're going to have your last one, you never know if you're going to get another one. So, you've got to enjoy everyone that you get. It's really hard to win, obviously, Jeff hasn't won yet this year. It's hard to win these days. There's a lot of competition, these cars are close to the same speed. Everything's got to go right."
-credit: ford racing