Chicagoland: Kenseth - Ford Friday interview

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 USG Sheetrock/DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in third place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Chicago. Kenseth finished eighth last weekend at Daytona, his 12th top-10 in 18 starts this year. MATT...

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 USG Sheetrock/DeWalt Ford Fusion, is in third place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Chicago. Kenseth finished eighth last weekend at Daytona, his 12th top-10 in 18 starts this year.

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 USG Sheetrock/DeWalt Ford Fusion

ON JAMIE McMURRAY'S VICTORY AT Daytona. "That's really great for Jamie, and I'm sure his team feels good about it, I feel good about it. Jamie's a friend of mine, and it's really good for him, you can see it in his confidence, and for Larry Carter and that group, they've been working really hard on that deal and haven't had exactly the results they wanted, but this year they've been much, much stronger. They're real close to making the chase right now, and it was great to see that win."

HOW WAS HE DURING THE DROUGHT? "Jamie's always about the same, you know, whenever I talk to him. It doesn't seem like anything really bothers him too much; I'm sure it does, but it doesn't really come off like that. Jamie is pretty happy-go-lucky no matter what. I'm not saying it doesn't bother him, he doesn't want to run good, because I'm sure he does, but he always comes off as in a pretty good mood."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY? "I think the track will be real wide, they have been for the last couple of years, not matter where we've been -- even Charlotte, with new pavement, was pretty wide in the spring. So, I think whatever reason, with these rules and tire package, we've been able to run high a lot more than we used to. So, I think there will be two good grooves, and the racing will be good."

SINCE YOU'RE FROM WISCONSIN, IS THERE A HOME TRACK ADVANTAGE FOR YOU? "Well, not an advantage, but I certainly see fans and family and friends a lot more than, probably, any other track we go to. There's a couple that have a lot -- Bristol, places like that -- but certainly see a lot of people here that I used to see. It kind of feels like home, coming up here."

HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR SEASON, SO FAR? "It's been okay. I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement. I think there's a lot of things that we've done really well. It's been all right, but we need to be better to have a legitimate shot at the championship. We're not running good enough to go out there and dominate the thing and beat them guys every week and take it like that, so we've got to get running a little bit better to run up top with those guys."

WHERE DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE? "Just need to get running a little bit better. I think the teamwork's been great, we haven't had any engine failures, pit stops have been great -- we've just got to get running just a little bit better to beat them guys. You want to go into the Chase feeling like your performance is as good as anybody else's, and try to win the thing on performance. Just got to get running a little bit better to challenge the top couple of guys."

YOU WERE QUOTED AS GIVING YOURSELF A LOWER GRADE, LIKE A B-. WHY SO HARD ON YOURSELF? "Not just myself. There is no "I" in "team" so I think it's all about all of us. It's been about a B-. We started off real strong, we were able to win right away, we ran really good at the Daytona 500 and got wrecked right at the end. We started off really strong, but we kind of fell off a little bit. We haven't been really a serious, legitimate threat to win here for a couple of months, so we've got to get up to that. In my opinion, we've never been an A+, my grading scale's always at least a half a grade low, that's just the way I am, but I don't think you can ever be perfect. We're pretty good. I think we're pretty solid in the chase, unless we have some major problems coming up here in the next few weeks. Our goal is to win the championship and win races and we're just a little ways away from that."

IS THIS AN EXCITING WEEK FOR YOU BECAUSE OF ALL THE SUPPORT YOU GET HERE? "Yeah, for sure. I always look forward to coming back here. It's really a nice track, and it's a pretty good home crowd for us, so I'm always excited about coming here and having a shot at it."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth