Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of the Ford 400. He held a Q&A session after Friday's practice to discuss his hopes for a repeat and ending the season on a high note. DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of the Ford 400. He held a Q&A session after Friday's practice to discuss his hopes for a repeat and ending the season on a high note.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF ADVANTAGE HERE WITH YOUR PREVIOUS SUCCESS? "Not really. Nobody has been here with this car, except for a few people doing the tire test, so I don't think it really gives us an advantage, but you always look forward to coming to Ford Championship Weekend. We don't want to be shutout for the year, but so far we are. Hopefully, we can come down here and try to get a win."
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS AFTER PRACTICE? "The track is kind of unique, it's all kind of by itself, but the car drives similar to other tracks of this size and it's pretty much what we expected, so we have another day of practice to try and get it driving a little better."
WHEN YOU'VE HAD SUCCESS AT A TRACK ARE YOU MORE EXCITED ABOUT COMING BACK? "Yeah, I like the track so any track you enjoy or run good at, you always enjoy coming back to it. We go try to win all the time. We didn't try any harder last year or do anything different. We're not trying any harder or doing anything different here, we're just gonna work as hard as we can at it and hope that we can get a win."
DOES THIS CHASE BATTLE MAKE YOU RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY? "It doesn't affect it at all. We go out and race as hard as we can every week to try to get wins and try to finish as high as we can, so it really doesn't change it."
DOES THIS RACE GET LOST IN THE SHUFFLE OF THE TITLE BATTLE? "I don't think so. I think everybody thinks of it as Ford Championship Weekend. There are three championships that are gonna get decided the next three days. Even though ours is pretty much locked up, it's not 100 percent sure, so I think that you pay attention to the whole thing. You pay attention to the points race and you pay attention to who is winning and running good."
YOU WERE THE LAST DRIVER TO WIN IN THE OLD FORMAT. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CHANGES MADE SINCE? "That was a great year for us, but since then -- no matter what format they've implemented, we haven't been good enough to win the championship, so we've just got to keep working on it. The chase is different, but yet it's not. You need to go out and out-perform your competition every week. That's really what it's all about each and every week, and really for the whole season as well, so it's really not that much different. Everybody gets re-racked and it basically goes back to zero, but you still have to perform better than everyone else for those 10 weeks."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NO TESTING TO START NEXT YEAR? "I think the testing thing will be alright. I think either way it might even make the racing better. There are some tracks that we can test until we're blue in the face -- like Charlotte this year -- and until the track ages and they can bring us a little softer tire or make an aero change in the body or something, we're not really gonna be able to figure it any better or pass any better. One thing that I don't know if anybody has thought of is that without testing it might separate the field a little bit and make us able to pass a little bit more -- make the time differential a little bit more between the cars -- because when we test we all run so close to the same speed that it makes it really hard to pass."
KEVIN HARVICK SAID THEY'VE MADE A LOT OF GAINS AWAY FROM THE TRACK. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? "Yeah, the bodies are locked in and the splitter height is locked in and there's not a lot we can do to these cars anyway, so I think through some of the simulation stuff and other things that we do that we can probably learn as much as we can going to the track and testing. Unless they open the rules back up or they make an aero change to the body or they make a rules change, I don't know that how much going to these tracks as many times as they originally talked about was really gonna help us."
DO YOU THING THE DRIVERS ARE HAPPY ABOUT NOT HAVING TO TEST FOR THREE DAYS AT DAYTONA IN JANUARY? "Yes and no. I always enjoy going down to Daytona and testing and getting ready to kick off the year, but, again, with this car and the rules that they have, there's really not a lot we can do. We've been there twice with this car this year and they're not changing any rules as far as I know, so, really, you're just kind of going through the motions in a way. You go out and draft a little bit, but for as much practice as you have at Speedweeks and the Shootout and all the stuff that goes on, really that's enough. In my opinion, unless they make rules changes, there's really not much we can do to these cars anyways, so you just refine the stuff the best you can at the shop and bring your best stuff there and go from there."
-credit: ford racing