Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, sits ninth in the current NSCS point standings and is coming off a fifth-place finish last weekend at Michigan. He spoke to the members of the media after practice about returning to ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, sits ninth in the current NSCS point standings and is coming off a fifth-place finish last weekend at Michigan. He spoke to the members of the media after practice about returning to Bristol.
HOW DO YOU FEEL FOR TOMORROW? "I don't know, we had a pretty good last practice. We seemed to run okay. It's a little different than it has ever been here. This tire, I think, has at least thrown us for a little bit of a loop, so I think the racing is gonna be a little bit different than it has been in the past with this tire. I know the truck race kind of was, so we're still working on that, but we've had a pretty good day today so far, and hopefully I can get a lap without messing up qualifying and get a decent starting spot for tomorrow."
ARE THE TIRES WEARING MORE, LESS STAGGER? WHAT'S GOING ON? "I don't know. The biggest thing they changed, and I don't know what they use or how they do it, but when they came up with that tire for Indy to fill all the cracks in so we wouldn't wear the tires to the cords in five laps, it works great there because it fills the cracks in, but then we start trying to run them at Dover and kind of started wanting to use them everywhere, I guess. Like at Dover, it does the same thing. It kind of puts a quarter or half-inch layer of rubber on there and it's like slime. When you get behind somebody you just can't do anything, so it's kind of difficult. I hope there won't be any tire problems, like they won't blow tires, they'll be real durable, it just seems like it's gonna make it tougher to pass than it used to. I was watching the truck race and it reminded me of before you could pass so well here, now there are two or three lanes, and that truck race some pitted on lap thirtysomething and never pitted again, so I'm curious to see how the Nationwide race goes."
HOW IS JACK? "I think he's doing good. I haven't seen him today. I saw him earlier this week at the shop. I know he's here today, so he's been doing good. It was nice to have him back and in the meetings, so he seems to be doing well. He's been in an exceptionally good mood. I think everybody is happy to see him around. There aren't many people that make it through one of those ordeal, much less two, so it's pretty good to see him and Brenda back and put back together and back doing their everyday stuff."
SINCE YOUR FRUSTRATION AT CHICAGO THINGS HAVE TURNED AROUND. WHAT'S BEEN THE DIFFERENCE? "Everybody has been working hard on it. Obviously, at Chicago I came to the media center and I was frustrated and when you're frustrated you probably say things that you shouldn't say out loud in front of all you guys, but things have been getting better. Everybody has been running better. The 16 has been extremely fast. They were basically a pit call, or however you want to look at it, away from winning Indy and was one of the best cars there, and won Pocono. Last week, a lot of the race he had one of the best cars and it looked like he was in contention to win again last week, so they're outrunning us. Unless we're always the top-finishing car in the organization, there's always room for improvement, so we've got to keep working on the stuff. It seems like it's going a little smoother and we've been picking it up a little bit."
IS THE TIRE COMPOUND CHANGING ONE OF THE MORE FRUSTRATING THINGS TO DEAL WITH? "I think it depends. Some people figure things out than others. We're all in the same situation. When you show up here everybody has the same opportunity to sit on the pole and to win and to pit the race how they want. Everybody is on the exact same tire. It's not that you're here complaining about the tire or anything like that, it's just that this tire lays a bunch of rubber down - we ran it at Dover twice and I know they're gonna run it again in the fall. We want the races to be as good as you guys do and the fans do and everybody wants to be able to pass. Goodyear has been really good about talking to all the drivers as far as getting opinions and all that, but when it comes down to whatever they bring to the track, they're gonna bring what is best for them. Number one on their mind is always durability because when they blow tires, it's not good for advertising and that's why they're in it. That's the main thing and once they fix that, they always looks at performance. Sometimes it's frustrating when you get on something that you don't feel like you can maybe work on as much or pass as much as you wish you could, but we haven't even raced yet. It might be the greatest tire in the world, I don't know, but it just seems like it threw everybody for a loop today so far."
-source: ford racing