Talladega II: Kenseth - Ford Friday interview

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, will try to put two weeks of bad luck behind him and get back in contention in the Chase for the Nextel Cup on Sunday. Kenseth, who is 11th in the standings and trails Johnson by 219 points,...

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, will try to put two weeks of bad luck behind him and get back in contention in the Chase for the Nextel Cup on Sunday. Kenseth, who is 11th in the standings and trails Johnson by 219 points, talked about this weekend's race.

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion

WHAT KIND OF RACE ARE WE GOING TO HAVE? "Probably the same as always for a plate race. I think you'll probably see about the same plate race you always see. The only thing that's more difficult and a little more challenging is the different engine package. You turn a lot of RPMs so I think there's a lot of opportunity out there to have some blown engines, and the other thing is it's very, very, very difficult to see. I think there's a very good chance we'll have an accident because we can't see and somebody is gonna run into somebody and probably wreck, but we do that a lot at these race tracks."

DENNY HAMLIN SAID NOT BEING ABLE TO USE HAND SIGNALS IS A BIG PROBLEM. "Yeah. You don't want to really put your hand out the window because at 200 miles and hour you could get your hand hurt, so you really don't want to do that. When you put your hand up in the mirror, you can't see over these wings. That was a big concern when we tested. I know NASCAR probably tried to find a clear material that we could see through -- that wasn't flexible so people couldn't mess with it -- and probably just couldn't find something in time. But it's hard to see through that wicker with how big the cars are. It's pretty tough."

WE'VE SEEN BIG WRECKS AT DOVER AND KANSAS, SO DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE A BIG ONE HERE? "If we wrecked that many cars at Dover and Kansas, we probably have a pretty good opportunity to wreck a lot of them here but you never know, it could be the opposite, it could go flag to flag, who knows. I've seen both at this race track."

ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS WITH YOUR TEAMMATES THAT AREN'T IN THE CHASE TO HELP YOU AND CARL? "There isn't any extra expectations from me. I think if you build a good working relationship with your teammates or your friends on the track that it continues to work all year long. If you don't, it probably won't work any better in the chase. You always try to help your team. I certainly don't expect any of my teammates to get out of my way because we're in the chase. If I can go out there and help Greg win the race because he's in that position, that's certainly what I would do -- whether it's this week or the first week of the year, and I think he would do the same for me as long as it's not hurting his position. So I don't think it should really change that much."

COULD VISIBILITY BE A BIG FACTOR? "I think it could be a big factor, I don't know that it necessarily will be, but I think it could be a big factor. It's very difficult to see. The weirdest thing is if you're pushing somebody, you're right on them and you don't know whether there's five cars in front of him or nobody in front of him. That's what the big concern is -- that you can't see forward and around the car."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN COMPARE IT TO? "It's kind of like driving behind a Ford Fusion on the interstate or driving behind a semi-truck on the interstate. When you're right on the tailgate of a semi-truck on the interstate and you can't see around them, it's a little bit intimidating. When you're behind a Fusion and you can see everything that's happening in front of them, you can react if there's an accident on the road. Here, if you're right up on somebody a wreck could happen and you're not gonna have any idea. You're not gonna see it until you're probably in it, so it's a lot bigger difference than I thought it would be."

CAN YOU SEE HAND SIGNALS? "I can't. I haven't seen one yet. The wing is higher. The wicker is higher. There's less angle on the wing, so that kind of makes the front of it even higher, so it's hard to see. I can't see anybody's hand inside the car at all."

WERE THINGS AS BAD ON THE TRACK IN PRACTICE AS PEOPLE THOUGHT OR IS IT THE SAME TALLADEGA? "The track is the same and the cars handle really good, it's just the biggest thing I think everybody is probably worried about more than anything is that you just can't see as well as we're used to seeing. That's the biggest thing that's hard to get used to. You don't have as good of a situation awareness as you had before as far as knowing where everybody is at. You're trying to focus on different things and that's been the hardest part."

HOW MUCH OF YOUR VISION IS GONE? "You can't see near as good as used to be able to see. You used to be able to see through a car and see if there was two or three or four cars in front of them and now you really can't do that."

HOW BIG OF A HINDRANCE IS THAT? "The way this kind of racing is, you're gonna bump-draft -- that's part of it. The biggest thing is if you're catching somebody and you want to push him to help him, well if you don't know if there's a car in front of him or not, how are you gonna do that? People are still gonna hit you and you might be right on somebody already and they can't see that car in front of you, so they could easily push you into somebody else and have a wreck. That's the hard thing. There are certain situations you get. If there's only one car in front of you, you're gonna try to push them as fast as you can and get your line moving, but if you don't know if somebody is up there, what are you gonna do? People are still gonna hit each other, that's just the way it is. That's the bad part, I wish you could see around them a little more. That was a big concern. It's not a surprise to anybody. It was like that in testing, so we knew we weren't gonna be able to see unless they found a clear wicker or something that would help, and we haven't changed any of the rules. It's the same car we tested and we couldn't see, so it's not gonna be any better today."

WERE YOU AWARE NASCAR DIDN'T WANT PEOPLE BUMPING IN PRACTICE? "I don't know -- not that much. I guess there was some. I saw some quarterpanels broke some bump covers and saw a bumper smashed in, so obviously somebody was hitting somebody."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT VILLENEUVE POSSIBLY BEING IN THE RACE? "That's the least of my concerns. I don't know much about him. Anybody can wreck or cause a wreck. If I was first starting, I would maybe try to start at some other tracks and kind of get used to these cars, but, obviously, he's got a ton of experience in other types of racing, but this is definitely probably a little different. Being in the chase and all that, I can see why people like Gordon are probably a little worried about it, but it doesn't really matter that much to me."

ANY CONCERN WITH IT BEING AN IMPOUND RACE? "No, because we were just here for two days and drafted for a day-and-a-half, so I don't think that's a concern."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth