Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Taurus, was 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings six weeks ago after a 36-place finish at Pocono. Since then he has moved up eight spots as one victory, three top-fives, and four...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Taurus, was 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings six weeks ago after a 36-place finish at Pocono. Since then he has moved up eight spots as one victory, three top-fives, and four top-10s has vaulted him into ninth place. Kenseth has a 10-point lead over 10th-place Jamie McMurray and an 11-point advantage over 11th-place Ryan Newman. He spoke about tomorrow night's race prior to Busch Series practice Friday morning.
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus
EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE IN THE TOP 10 YOUR SITUATION HASN'T REALLY CHANGED FROM THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. "No, it's so tight right there that I think you've just got to go through things that you know how to do. If we're in it at the end of the day, great, we've made a great comeback. If we're not in it at the end of the day, we still made a great comeback and gave it our best. So as long as we walk away Saturday night knowing we did our best, that's all you can ask for."
HAVE YOU NOTICED A LITTLE EXTRA JUMP IN YOUR TEAM THE LAST FEW WEEKS? "Yeah, I think probably the last couple of months there has been, especially since we've been running a fair amount better. Our performance has been up and our finishes have been a little bit better, so I think everybody has been a little bit more excited the last couple of months."
WITH THE SEASON BEING SO LONG DOES IT HELP TO HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THIS CHASE BATTLE TO STAY FOCUSED ON AS OPPOSED TO HAVE ALREADY CLINCHED A SPOT OR BEING OUT OF IT? "I don't know. I think when you're running better in general, not necessarily where you are in points or what your goals are. I think your goals are to try and win every week, and I think when you're running better in general it's probably a little bit less of a grind and everybody is more excited to get to the track when you're running good."
WHEN YOU WON THE TITLE YOU BASICALLY LED THE LAST TWO-THIRDS OF THE SEASON. THIS IS SHAPING UP TO BE MUCH DIFFERENT IF YOU MAKE THE CHASE. "It's cool to come from behind and be where we're at right now, but we're not in yet so I guess that's a question I can answer if we make it in and get a little later in the year and we're a threat. Just to get in doesn't mean you're gonna run for a championship. It means your eligible, but it doesn't mean you're necessarily going to. That's a hard question. First, we've got to get in this week. If we get in and we get a good start and are running good six weeks from now and we're in the thick of things, that would be pretty neat to be able to come from that far behind and have a shot at it, but we're not in yet. We have made up a lot of points, but we still have to get in tomorrow."
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST FEARS YOU HAVE TOMORROW ABOUT THIS TRACK? "I really don't have any more than normal. We just need to run good. That's probably my biggest concern is to make sure our performance is good. We tested the other day and just kind of tested OK. I didn't think it was spectacular, so I guess that's my biggest concern is just to get running good. I think if we run good, everything else will take care of itself. You've still got to do everything right, but I think my biggest concern is the same as every week and that's getting the car to run good."
SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE WHEN SOMEONE HAS TROUBLE, BUT WILL YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE GUYS AROUND YOU IN THE POINTS ARE DURING THE RACE? "Sometime you can't help but notice once in a while, but I think if I'm running seventh at the end of the race and the car I need to beat is running second and that means we're not in, if I could be running second I would be. You're gonna run as hard as you can all the time anyway. I guess when it gets to the end you'll kind of want to know where people are - if they're really close to you or something like that - to try to maintain your position or to try to pass that guy - but you're always trying to run up front as hard as you can anyway. Basically, I think there are three or four cars we need to finish in front of and if we can finish in front of them we're good. If we don't, then we have a chance of not being in. You obviously kind of know who those are in your head and when you're racing you somewhat know where you are, unless you're in the back and have problems, so I probably won't really pay a lot of attention or be asking about where people are until right at the end."