Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is currently in the top 12 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. He held a Q&A sessions after Friday's practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway. DOES THIS RACE LEND ITSELF TO MORE CONSERVATIVE...
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is currently in the top 12 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. He held a Q&A sessions after Friday's practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway.
DOES THIS RACE LEND ITSELF TO MORE CONSERVATIVE RACING BECAUSE OF WHERE IT FALLS IN THE CHASE CUTOFF? "I don't think it really has anything to do with that. I think there's a couple of things -- the main thing is the track has been reconfigured so it's much wider than it used to be. You have some options to pass cars, whereas before you didn't necessarily have that. If there was a guy in front of you and you were just barely faster than he was and he was stuck right on the bottom, it was almost impossible to pass him without running into him and moving him out of the way. Now there are a lot more options. You can run on the bottom, middle or top and you don't really have to move somebody out of the way or get moved out of the way to be able to pass, so I think that's the biggest thing. I think the racing here is always intense when you get in an area this small and this fast and run 500 laps with 43 cars out there."
DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT KICK-STARTING THIS FINAL THREE RACES TO THE CHASE? "Well, I did yesterday but not so much after first practice. Today has really been a struggle to say the least, so right now we've got a lot of work to do and we'll have to make a lot of progress that last practice to be anything decent at all. We haven't run really that great here since they switched cars and then after they reconfigured the track. It's all basically new for everybody. My teammates seem to be doing really good and I can't seem to figure it out for some reason, so we'll just keep working on it and hopefully it'll get better."
IS THIS PLACE MORE PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY DEMANDING? "It's a little bit of both. I think that all of our races are way more mental than physically. I think you see a lot of different sizes and shapes of drivers driving these things and people with different physically conditions, so I always think it's much more mental. But out of all the tracks, this is probably the most physical track that we go to."
HOW HAS THE CHASE CHANGED THINGS FROM A DRIVER'S POINT OF VIEW? "Maybe with some people in some situations. Ours, we've never really been in a situation where we really altered it a lot. I think the first year of the chase we tried altering our testing schedule when we used to be able to pick our tests and that kind of backfired on us, so I guess there are certain situations, maybe, where you'd change your strategy, but I haven't really been in that situation. We just do everything the same as we always do -- bring your stuff that you think is the best to the track and do the best you can to try and finish as high as you can and go from there."
YOU BACKLOADED YOUR TESTS IN '05. "Yeah. We tried to do all of our testing at the end and it didn't necessarily work out for us. We didn't really have a test team or extra stuff in place, so all the guys that were already tired from racing 26 weeks had to go to the track every week for two extra days and go test and do all that stuff and even if we did learn something, you didn't have enough time implement it in your cars anyway, so it didn't really work out for us. I think you just do everything probably the same as you would do it if it was all season long."
CAN YOU IMAGINE RUNNING THIS CIRCUIT AT 18? "Times change. It's a lot different now than it was, obviously, with the younger drivers coming in. You used to have to kind of prove yourself through the short tracks and do all that stuff, and it's not that drivers don't prove themselves now, but people start racing at five years old now. When I started racing, most people started at 16. Some kids were doing go-karts, I guess, but all big-bodies stock car stuff up in Wisconsin, you couldn't drive them until you had a drivers license so you couldn't really start any younger. I think that's a big reason for it is the kids can get experience a lot sooner than we used to be able to."
CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING IN CUP AT 18? "Not then I can, but in this day and age I guess maybe you could. I was kind of glad because it went well for me. I got to learn a lot about the cars and build cars and do all that stuff. We just did it for fun and I just got a lot of good breaks along the way and got kind of lucky. Back then, though, I couldn't really imagine it."
-credit: ford racing