Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after gaining one spot at Martinsville. He spoke about this weekend prior to practice. WHAT'S YOUR ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after gaining one spot at Martinsville. He spoke about this weekend prior to practice.
WHAT'S YOUR GAMEPLAN HERE? LAYBACK OR MIX IT UP AND RACE ALL DAY? "A lot of it depends on where you qualify and what the race feels like once you get going. Really, I think from the beginning of the year to right now the racing has changed drastically overall with the cautions. We used to get a lot of debris cautions and other cautions that bunched up a lot of restarts and a lot of green-white-checkers, but lately we haven't had that. Even at the end of Martinsville there were cars blowing up and trying to get to pit road and we kept racing all the way to the end. I think you need to keep that in mind and think about that here. It's happened before here, and even though I don't think it will, but you could go flag to flag without having a caution. You need to keep the draft the whole time and not lose that front draft, so I think I'm just gonna go race and see what happens from there."
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT TEAMMATES AND MAYBE TRYING TO PUT A BARRIER AROUND JIMMIE JOHNSON TO KEEP HIM SAFE? CAN YOU DO THAT KIND OF THING? "You just don't know what's gonna happen. One year we were here and I think Tony ended up winning, but we were running second to Tony while Greg and Carl hung back the whole time. Carl kept pushing Greg through the middle of the corner and Greg ended up wrecking and wrecking us with it and we were running second. I thought you couldn't be in a safer place because I was running second behind Tony and my two teammates were coming up on the outside with 10 to go. So it's just really unpredictable because you don't know what's going to happen. You can have the best of intentions and you can have all kinds of plans, you're gonna want to draft with your teammates, but at the end of the day whatever position you're in you need to try and make that work because you might be trying for something and it just doesn't work out. Sometimes when you try too hard to force it bad things happen."
ONE THIRD OF THE GUYS ENTERED HAVE GOTTEN UPSIDE-DOWN HERE AND THE LAST THREE RACES 40 PERCENT OF THE GUYS RUNNING GET WRECKED. AT WHAT POINT DO THOSE NUMBERS NOT BECOME ACCEPTABLE? "Whenever we come here, especially, I've been doing this for a while, I don't know if this is my 10th or 11th year here, and there have been some lulls, a year or two where people don't talk about it much, but every year you basically have the same conversation after the big wreck. The people that are in the wreck are upset as they should be, and you starting thinking about, 'Man, somebody could have got hurt.' People leave here upset because a lot of times you get in a crash and more times than not it's not your fault, it's one or two guys that make a mistake or don't know where somebody is at and take out 10-15 cars. It's just the kind of racing that is and you have to deal with it the best you can. You have to try to be in a position not to be in that wreck and hope everybody is okay after it's all said and done and get ready to try to do it again."
WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS WHEN YOU COME HERE? DO YOU TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT? "We really haven't. I think everybody is different and everybody has their own beliefs and theories about things. I don't really sit around worrying about that and Katie really doesn't either. I think things are mapped out for you and when it's your day, it's your day. We go out and try to do the best we can, try to make our cars as safe as we can, and it's not something you really think about when you're driving. If it does get to that point and you're thinking about it while you're driving or before you (get in the car), then you probably need to start thinking about doing something else."
IS THERE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BECAUSE OF THE NEW CAR? "Not for me. It's nice that we've been through a pretty good period without any serious injuries. That's nice. We went through a horrible period for a few years where we had some fatal injuries and some people injured pretty seriously. We went through that, so it's nice that things have been better lately. One thing you've really got to commend NASCAR for is they've spent a lot of their own time, money and resources to make that happen for us and they continue to do that. They're not standing still. They're always looking to try to make the tracks, the cars, pit road, everything safer each week."
-source: ford racing