Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session before NASCAR Busch Series practice on Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed last week's Nextel All-Star Challenge and this weekend's Coca-Cola ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session before NASCAR Busch Series practice on Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed last week's Nextel All-Star Challenge and this weekend's Coca-Cola 600.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THAT SPEEDING PENALTY ALL WEEK? "Yeah, I was kind of over it until you had to ask about it (joking). Nobody knows what was gonna happen the last 20 laps. Everybody said Jeff Gordon was gonna win and he had a flat tire, so you don't know what's gonna happen, but certainly that took us out of a chance to win. It certainly cost us that and it was just that I made a mistake. It was a very unique situation where everybody had to pit but nobody was gonna get tires and nobody needed fuels, so everybody was doing stop-and-go's. Pit road was really busy. There were a lot of cars around. You didn't really have time to stop in your pit box and look in the mirror and see traffic and I just took off. The 11 car was trying to get in his stall and I was trying to make sure I didn't break my momentum and I got going too fast."
SO YOU WERE DEFINITELY SPEEDING? "Yeah, obviously. It's electronic. I don't think anybody is making anything up. I don't think there's any conspiracy. I was going too fast on pit road. It's pretty black and white."
WHEN IS IT TOO SOON TO START RACING GUYS WITH THE TIRES THE WAY THEY ARE? "You have to race hard the whole race. Even though it's a 600-mile race and you've got to pace yourself and have your car right for the end of the race and all that kind of stuff. It's so competitive that if you don't race hard the whole race, you'll probably go a lap down so you've got to do the best you can when the track is slick and hopefully you have the right setup for the end."
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO RUN THE INDY 500? "No, I really haven't to be honest with you. I've never really watched a lot of open-wheel racing. When I was younger and growing up, when NASCAR racing would come on I'd watch it, but otherwise I was busy racing our own cars and working on our own cars and I never really was around any of that type of racing before, so, to me, it's not as big of a deal as it is to maybe some other people who grew up in the area or started out racing open wheel stuff, but I've just always been a stock car guy."
DOES IT MAKE SENSE FOR NASCAR TO TRY AND MAKE ONE OF THESE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS A COT RACE THIS YEAR OR CAN YOU ACCOMPLISH IT TESTING? "I think you do it testing. Every track is a little different, but we've been to Darlington, we're gonna go to Dover and we're gonna go to some faster race tracks with the car -- and Talladega -- so I think we'll have enough idea. It's not gonna be that much different at Charlotte than it is at Dover, so I think we'll learn enough doing the stuff this year and then ease our way into it next year."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH GOING TO THE COT FULL TIME IN '08? "I would have been happier if we were going back to this car all the time (laughing), but certainly if we're gonna go to that car and that is the future, it makes more sense to run it every week than to have to run this car a few times and run that car most of the time. It's gonna save everybody money and it's gonna be a lot easier to concentrate on one type of race car, instead of trying to build two types of race cars for another season."
WHY HAS CHEVROLET BEEN SO DOMINANT? "I don't think it's necessarily a manufacturer thing as much as it is Hendrick Motorsports and some of those other guys just have their stuff together. They've been the team to beat. They've been on top of the COT car and they've been running good in that right away. All of the manufacturers are pretty even, especially when it comes to the COT. Those cars are almost all identical and it's just which team does the best job getting their stuff figured out the best right way."
YOU'RE IN BOTH RACES HERE THIS WEEKEND. HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR ALL THOSE MILES? "It's kind of the same as every weekend, but you try to stay rested and you try to eat right and stay hydrated and be ready for the race. Six hundred miles is a long, long time and the track conditions change a lot during the day and night. You've just got to be ready for it. You've got to try and be smart and you've got to be there at the end when it counts."
DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT NOT RUNINNG THE BUSCH RACE? "Not really. It's a Saturday night race and we don't race again until Sunday night, so you've got all day Sunday to kind of sit around and get rested up and ready. The Busch race is a lot of fun to race here. You get to race at night under the conditions that the 600 will end in, so I don't think it's a big deal. Physically, it's not a big deal. It's a fun race to run and hopefully we can learn something for the end of the race for the night after."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT THE TIRES LAST WEEK THAT MIGHT HELP THIS WEEKEND? "The biggest thing I think we all learned from watching it and being a part of it is that you need to be in the front. Every week you want to be in the front, but it was very difficult when you got behind. Your car was a lot slower if you weren't in the lead than when you were in the lead, so, I think you could take a fourth or fifth-place car and if you put it in the lead, you could win with it, and vice versa, you could take a winning car and put it in fifth or sixth and there's no way you're gonna get back up and win the race. It was very difficult to pass. The tire is so hard that when you get in dirty air it's hard to get any grip, so I guess that's the biggest thing is that track position is gonna be very important. You're not gonna want to make a mistake and lose track position at the end."
-credit: ford racing