Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, will be going for his third straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory Sunday night. Kenseth, coming off wins at Michigan and Bristol, is only seven points behind leader Jimmie Johnson in the...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, will be going for his third straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory Sunday night. Kenseth, coming off wins at Michigan and Bristol, is only seven points behind leader Jimmie Johnson in the point standings. He spoke about his hot streak before Friday's practice.
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CHANCES OF MAKING IT THREE STRAIGHT? "I think we've got a really good car. I'd be surprised if we were not competitive, but it's still tough to win these things and you've got to have everything go right to be able to do it. I think we'll have a competitive car and just do the best we can with it."
DO YOU THINK GREG IS THE GUY TO BEAT HERE? "I don't know. Obviously they've been struggling the second half of the year, more so than they were even when they started off. They started off real fast, so I don't know. Greg always runs really well here. I think he won here last spring and had the car to beat in February, but a lot of things have changed since then. We'll have to see."
HOW AMAZED ARE YOU TO HAVE WON TWO STRAIGHT WITH SUCH TOUGH COMPETITION? "I don't know if amazed is the right word. I'm real thankful we're able to win two in a row. We figured we'd have a good car going into Bristol. We had a good car there the last two races before that and, really, not much has changed as far as rules and all that stuff, so I figured we'd have a competitive car there, but who knows if you're gonna win. It takes a lot more than having a fast car, so I was surprised we were able to win those two in a way, but I was happy that everything went right and we were able to pull them off at the same time."
DO YOU EVER LOOK BACK AND SAY YOU COULD EASILY HAVE 6 OR 7 WINS THIS YEAR INSTEAD OF FOUR? "We've been in position to win a lot of races and I kind of believe in the law of averages. I think if you keep putting yourself in a position to win and the team keeps putting you in a position of having a chance at winning, you'll hopefully win your share. It's hard to say that when you're close at the end of some of them and lost them, but I still think if you keep putting yourself in that position that you're bound to win some of them."
SINCE YOU'VE CLINCHED A CHASE SPOT DO YOU CHANGE ANYTHING THESE LAST TWO WEEKENDS? "No, it's the same as the whole rest of the season. Right now we're only seven points out of the lead. We'd love to be able to overtake Jimmie the next two weeks if we possibly can. I mean, five points is still five points, so we want to be able to keep trying to operate at a high level here these last two weeks and on through the 10 after that."
SO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO STAY IN THE SAME MODE AND NOT LET UP? "Yeah, I think you work as hard as you every week. It's a competitive business and a competitive sport. No matter where you are in the points, you still want to go and put forth your best effort every week and try to win."
WOULD THERE BE A PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE IF YOU WERE LEADING THE CHASE? "I don't know. It's five points, but all the way to tenth it's like 45 or whatever. You want to be as high as you can going in and you want to get as many points as you can every week."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK? "I like it. I think it's a lot like Michigan. I think there's a lot of room to race out there. It's real wide and I think there's a lot of passing. I think it's exciting racing, but I don't know. More tracks that they've tried to change and make better, it's usually ended up being worse more so than better, so I don't know. Like Vegas, the last race Jimmie passed me the last corner and beat me by half a car length to win the race and they tore it up and re-did it because they said the racing wasn't good. So it's hard for me as a driver to figure that all out. Obviously there are other people that are smarter than me that can figure that out and figure out what they need to do on tracks."
HOW WILL THE TRACK CONDITIONS BE DIFFERENT THAN FEBRUARY? "I can't remember last week hardly much less in February with what the weather was like. We approach it the same. It's a night race here. It's hot this time of year, but at night the track probably acts more like it does in the spring. I don't know if this place changes that much. You just kind of go out and start practicing and see where your car is and keep an open mind and then adjust it from there."
HOW HARD IS IT TO PRACTICE AT DAY AND RACE AT NIGHT? "It's the same for everybody, so it doesn't really matter. Everybody is in the same boat."
WHEN YOU WERE TRYING TO MAKE THE CHASE LAST YEAR, HOW WAS IT TO HAVE SO MANY TEAMMATES TO WORK WITH AND WILL THAT HELP MARK? "I don't know if it helps any more or less, no matter where you are in the points. I think we all try to work together the best we can every week no matter how we're all running. If we're running bad, we all try to get our heads together and figure out how to run better. If we're running good, we all get our heads together and try to perfect the stuff, so I don't think it really affects it where we are in points. I think we try to work as closely together as we can every week no matter what."
THERE ARE POSSIBLY FOUR OR FIVE TEAMS THAT WILL BE IN THE CHASE FOR THE FIRST TIME. DOES EXPERIENCE MEAN ANYTHING IN THE CHASE? "I don't think it matters. If anything, the first year we kind of messed it up because we thought we were smart. We saved our tests and did all that stuff, which you can't do now anyway, but I think you've got to approach it one race at a time and get as many points as you can every race and don't worry about what they're adding up to and see where it ends up at the end. You can only do the best you can every week. There's not a big trick to it. The higher you finish, the more points you get so you try to finish as high as you can every week and see where it ends up."
SO YOU DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING? "I don't think you change anything. I think that you try to be smart and finish races and do all that, but you really try to do that all season. I don't know a race that, no matter where you are in points, you try not to be smart or to wreck your car to do whatever, so I don't think you do anything different. I think you just go out and take it one week at a time."
-credit: ford racing