Pocono II: Kenseth - Ford Friday interview

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, heads into this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 in third place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings. Kenseth has 14 top-10s through the first 20 races of the season, and won at California in...

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, heads into this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 in third place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings. Kenseth has 14 top-10s through the first 20 races of the season, and won at California in February.

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion

WITH YOU BEING SOLIDLY IN THE TOP 12, DO YOU APPROACH THE RACES ANY DIFFERENTLY? "We approach every race weekend the same; we show up and think about winning and trying the best we can. This hasn't been a track, except for once or twice, that we've ever been a threat to win, so we just get here and dig at it as hard as we can and try to get our car competitive, and race for the best spot we can get on Sunday. You always hope you're a contender to win, but this one has usually been a bigger challenge than most."

YOU AND TEAMMATE CARL EDWARDS ARE IN THE CHASE RIGHT NOW, BUT THE OTHER ROUSH FENWAY TEAMS ARE MISSING. "Really, we've missed, too. We've just had really reliable equipment, I've got a great pit crew, we've been able to squeeze out the finishes, but we've had, as far as performance, we've been hit and miss, we've just been lucky to get lots of decent finishes, even though we haven't run as good -- like last week, for example, and here, last time we didn't run good but we finished okay. We've been kind of lucky that way. We know we have to get our performance up as a group. We've been working hard on it all year and I think we're gaining on it."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT POCONO RACEWAY? "I like that all three corners are different. It presents a unique challenge with three different corners, one of them banked, two of them flat, all different radiuses. It's fun to come here and see if you can get around all three corners decent and run good."

IS THE TUNNEL TURN THE TOUGHEST? "They always talk about the tunnel turn, I think that's one of the easier corners of the track. I think I struggle more in the other two corners of the track than the tunnel, but the tunnel's just kind of an off-camber -- it's not even really a half a corner, you just kind of slide through there. So, it makes it fun. It was more fun when you used to be able to shift and come through there in third gear, but it's still fun."

DOES MUCH TRANSFER FROM INDIANAPOLIS TO HERE? "I hope not. We didn't run very good at Indy, and the times we have run good at Indy we haven't really run that good here, so I don't so. People try to compare them, but I don't there's another race track on the circuit that you can compare to Indy or use your Indy stuff at, so I think if you've got a car that runs good at all the big tracks, it'll probably run good here. And, if you struggle at all the big tracks, you'll struggle here."

BY BEING COMFORTABLY IN THE CHASE, CAN YOU NOW TAKES SOME CHANCES? "It depends on the week. We've never run good enough on speed to win here no matter what kind of risks you take on pit road. You're always trying to win the races when you're up in the points. Maybe gamble on fuel mileage or something like that that maybe you wouldn't do, but to do that you at least have to be close. With the way our stuff has been this year, we haven't really been in a position to gamble hardly anywhere. We haven't really had a car in a position to say, oh, we're going to run sixth, unless we try this, we might be able to win. Whenever you get in that position, you always think it through, and more times than not you'll go for the win."

DOES YOUR STYLE CHANGE AT ALL THIS TIME OF YEAR, TRYING TO STAY IN THE CHASE? "No. The same. You try to go out every week and do the best you can."

DO YOU LIKE HOW YOUR TEAM IS RUNNING RIGHT NOW? "I think the team is doing great; I don't think the performance is good enough to win a championship right now, unless other people falter and we have a perfect 10, so we've got to get running better to be able to do it. But I love the way our team operates; they've been great. Our engine department has been doing a great job; we haven't had any failures, knock on wood, for a long time. Our stuff's been finishing, so that's all been good. So, we just need to get running a little faster."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth