Watkins Glen: Kenseth - Ford Friday interview

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in third place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at The Glen. Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, has one win and 14 top-10s through the season's first 21 races. MATT ...

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in third place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at The Glen. Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, has one win and 14 top-10s through the season's first 21 races.

MATT KESNETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion

"Our approach is the same as any week -- you show up and run the best you can and hopefully you have equipment that's capable of winning. Very seldom do you really have a chance that if you gamble and make it you could win, and if you don't you, you'll finish in the back. Very seldom you have that chance. So, obviously, if you have that chance you're going to go for the win, like you would every week. But, really, just show up with your best stuff and try to run the best you can."

HOW MUCH OF AN EFFECT DOES THE 10 POINTS FOR A WIN FACTOR IN? "Just the same. I mean, you go for it every week. I can't think of a race I've ever been in and said, 'Man, I could go up and try to win that thing or I could lay back here and finish fifth.' You try to win every race. There's really not much extra you can do. Every once in a while there's an odd circumstance -- like if you're two laps short on fuel, you might try to stretch it if nobody else could make it and try to win it on fuel, but other than that, there's not a whole lot you can do. You go out and run as fast as you can run all day, try to use you best strategy, do the best you can on pit road and go from there."

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY HERE AT THE GLEN? "The same as any race -- go try to qualify best you can and try to race the best you ca. Certainly, you have to do the pit strategy, you try to get your best fuel mileage you can, but really we haven't been that great at doing that. We haven't had the best fuel mileage, we haven't usually pitted the thing where we're in the front at the end, like the 42 and 26, some of them guys the last race. Certainly, we've got to work hard on that, have the right pit strategy and then try to be out front in the end."

WHAT TYPE OF OPPORTUNITY DOES THIS TRACK GIVE YOU TO TRY TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND IN POINTS? "Probably the same as any other race. Road courses are probably not my strongest suit. We've had decent cars here in the past but certainly nothing that we could've won with, so we've got to work hard on that. We're in a pretty good spot for the points as far as making the chase, so we want to get through these next five weeks and hopefully have a chance to get us some momentum here and get running a little bit better; hopefully, have a chance to win a race or two."

DO YOU EVER WISH YOU WERE RACING THE CAR OF TOMORROW EVERY WEEK INSTEAD OF SWITCHING BACK AND FORTH? "Not really. We go to different tracks every week anyway, so to jump in and out of the standard car or the car of tomorrow is not that big of a deal."

DO ANY EXTRA TESTING FOR ROAD COURSES? "Not really. Before we went to Sears Point we did a little bit just to shake the car down, but we haven't done any since then."

ALTHOUGH BOTH ARE ROAD COURSES, ARE WATKINS GLEN AND SONOMA MORE SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT? "It's really totally different. Some of the technique you might use would be the same, but really the technique's not like it was 10 years ago. Everybody's got transmissions where you don't have to use a clutch and all that stuff, so that's part's a lot easier than it used to be. The track is a lot different than Sears Point. To me, it's a lot like comparing Michigan and Martinsville. This place reminds me of Michigan, and Sears Point is real slow and slick, like Martinsville is. So, the tracks are really a lot different."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Centurion Boats at The Glen Advance, Page 2

Friday, August 10, 2007 Watkins Glen International

KENSETH, continued -- WITH ONLY SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE HERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THIS TYPE OF WEATHER? "I hope it dries up? It's the same for everybody. You don't really worry about it; there's nothing we can do about the weather. So, hopefully it dries up and we can get some practice. But, really, on qualifying day when it's raining, I really don't get too worked up about that. I haven't been too known as a great qualifier, and we're third in points, so if it rained out qualifying, it really wouldn't be the end of the world for us."

YOU WERE THE LAST CHAMPION UNDER THE OLD FORMAT. HAVE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CHASE CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS? "I think most people have grown to like it. They've made little tweaks here and there, but I think overall every body likes that if you're in the top 10 it gives you a chance to win a championship, where a year like this year if Gordon wouldn't have gotten fined in points he'd be 450 points ahead. It wouldn't be over, but it would be pretty much over unless they had disaster strike. So, certainly, it gets it close at the end of the year, I think it makes it more exciting for the fans and for the other drivers that are involved, except for the leader, going into the chase."

FROM A STRATEGY STANDPOINT, DID ANYTHING HAPPEN THAT WAS UNEXPECTED AND CAN BE USED AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE? "The first chase, I think, probably us and probably a lot of other people, really tried to over-analyze it -- we tried to save our tests and go crazy and test at the end of the year and do all that stuff, and I think we over-analyzed it. I think you just need to bring your best stuff every week, put in your best effort every no matter where you are in points or what's going on with championships and stuff like that. The higher you finish, the more points you're going to collect, so you just go run the best you can every week and go from there."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Centurion Boats at The Glen Advance, Page 3

Friday, August 10, 2007 Watkins Glen International

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in sixth place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings heading into this weekend's race at The Glen. Edwards leads the Busch Series standings by 787 points, and also will be competing in the Busch race at The Glen on Saturday.

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion -- IS THERE ANY BENEFIT TO HAVING RUN A ROAD-COURSE RACE LAST WEEK (IN THE BUSCH SERIES) AND THEN RUNNING ANOTHER ONE THIS WEEK? "I think running at Montreal in the Scotts Fusion is going to help us out here. For me, personally, it takes me about two hours to really get in the groove of road-course racing, as far as practicing braking points, and shifting and doing everything just right. I think it's going to help."

HOW IS YOUR INJURED THUMB FOLLOWING YOUR FIRST RACE ON A ROAD COURSE? "They put a T-handle shifter in it, and it worked really well. There was no issue at all."

ON SWITCHING BACK AND FORTH THIS SEASON BETWEEN THE STANDARD CAR AND THE CAR OF TOMORROW. "The car of tomorrow just drives a little bit differently, we don't have the travel in the front end, so that's a little different feel. But, on the road course, it really doesn't feel that much different because you have to have the front end so stiff anyway. Going back and forth between them, I think, is the toughest on the crew, because those are the guys who have to do all the work on different types of cars and manage that."

WITH THE CHASE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, DOES YOUR MINDSET CHANGE AT ALL? "It's still just one race at a time. We have to keep as many points as we can, make sure that we get in the chase, and then we can breathe a little easier and know that we're starting on equal ground with everyone. But for now, each one of these races is extremely important."

YOU WERE IN THE CHASE BEFORE. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? "I did learn some stuff the first time, being in the chase, but what we try to do is have the mindset that we're always in the chase, that we're always racing for points, we're trying to do the best we can. That's what we're working on."

THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH PRACTICE TIME. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE WEATHER LIKE THIS? "I just hope we don't miss too much practice. We need the practice -- I need the practice. I don't know if my team actually does, but I definitely need some laps here at Watkins Glen."

HOW HAS THE THUMB INJURY CHANGED YOU APPROACH TO WORKING OUT? "This thumb thing has made me realize how delicate you are -- you can't mess anything up if you want work out every day and race all the time, and not have anything hold you up. So it has made me work out a little easier and I kind of value that a little more."

MORE AEROBIC-TYPE WORKOUTS? "Yeah, I've been doing a lot of aerobic stuff, and it's probably good for me. My trainer's always telling me that I need to work more on the aerobic stuff than lifting weights, so this will be a good break."

IS THIS RACE A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO TRY TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND ON POINTS? "You never know. To me, this is a lot like a restrictor-plate race or something, with the way fuel mileage can pan out. The traps are out there, and you've got to be sure you don't screw your day up by getting in one of those. So, I don't look at this as a place where we can gain a bunch, I look at this where we have to avoid losing points."

WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS STANDINGS, DOES 10 EXTRA POINTS FOR A WIN MEAN MUCH? "I don't feel comfortable right now, where 280 points or something, we're not in a safe, danger-free zone right now. I'm just going to take it easy here and maybe two or three races down the road if we're in the same position we'll really go for it."

DOES PIT POSITION MEAN ANYTHING HERE? TOWARD THE FRONT THERE IS AN ELEVATION CHANGE. "I don't know about the pit selection here. The elevation is a little bit of a factor, but our guys are good, and being downhill hurts you trying to stop, but it helps you trying to get going out of the pits, so you never know."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Carl Edwards