Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup going into this weekend's race. Kenseth spoke about the chase and other issues before Friday's practice. MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup going into this weekend's race. Kenseth spoke about the chase and other issues before Friday's practice.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion --
Does this race ever get lost in the shuffle of the chase?
"For me it doesn't. I take every race one race at a time and approach every race the same. I think each race from Daytona all the way to Homestead is important."
How good do you feel about coming to this track?
"You know I feel good about it, I feel pretty confident. We've had competitive cars at these tracks. It's a little bit different car than we've run at other tracks where we've run good this year, so I'll have to see how that is after practice. I do have some confidence here, but 400 miles and a full race weekend, there's a lot that you have to do right."
After last week, are you comfortable with your position [in the points]?
"Yeah we've had a decent couple weeks. New Hampshire we had a good finish and I was happy about that and last week we had an awesome car, a dominant car, we just didn't get the finish [we wanted]. We still had a pretty decent day in the points and we didn't have a big disaster, so I feel good."
How is the momentum of the team?
"I think it's good. I think it's been good all year. I think our performance has been pretty close and on average as good as anybody has been all year. There's just been some days we've had some trouble and some days we've haven't. I think as far as other people working together and not having any mistakes and all that stuff, I think our team has been right there with them all year."
With Jeff Gordon, they went a little bit when they weren't too good at these miles-and-a-halves. Is it not a surprise to see them figure it out?
"You know, things change in the business. Jeff's deal, he could do no wrong when Ray was there back in the day. When things change, I think it takes a while to get things moving again. It's always been a team sport and it always been about the team and not been about the team and not necessarily the driver. You can only go as fast as the car will take you."
Is it so engineering based when it comes to the setups?
"You know it doesn't never surprised me to see them [Gordon] guys run good. He's a four-time champion and he won the most races and all that stuff so it doesn't ever surprise me to see him running good."
Robbie has been hard on himself this week. Is he kind of on to the next race now?
"I don't know, you'll have to ask him. I don't think the finger was really pointed right at him. So, if he said that it's what he thinks; I don't think that was really the case."
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO SIT DOWN AND TALK ABOUT LAST WEEK WITH ROBBIE? "We've talked about it a very small amount. I mean Dover was Dover and there were a lot of things that we could have done as a group but it's a team effort. It's always more than one person making decisions; I mean we all work together. Hopefully we learn from it and try and do better next time. You just do the best you can every week and that's all you can do."
WHAT CAR DID YOU BRING THIS WEEKEND? "I don't know, it's a new car that we ran at Indy and never ran at anywhere else."
DO YOU EXPECT YOUR TEAMMATES WHO AREN'T IN THE CHASE TO HELP YOU DRAFT AT TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK? "Not any more or less than usual I don't think. Everybody is out there trying to win themselves and I've always had very good luck in working with Greg and Kurt when he was he was there and Jamie the last couple of races. Me and Greg have always worked well together no matter where we are in the points. With Mark, we've worked well together it just doesn't seem that we've been able to hitch together quite as much. It's like any other plate race, you work with the guys that will make your car and their car go fast. It might be a teammate, it might not. Working with a teammate, if my car is a half a second slower than Greg's and can't help his car go fast, he's not going to work with me and visa versa. It's more about how the cars work together than the who is driving them sometimes."
DO YOU LOOK AT THE PLATE RACE AT TALLADEGA AS YOU JUST HAVE TO GET THROUGH IT AND GO HOME? "You're always ready to wreck when you go there because there is a good chance. My cars have been more competitive there lately and everybody's done a good job and Robbie's done a good job and the engineering guys. The better your speedway cars run, the more confidence you have and maybe the less you worry about the wreck, but if the wreck is gonna happen, it's gonna happen. You can't really sit and worry about it. The only thing you can do is just try not be the one who causes it and if everybody goes with that approach, a lot of times there won't be one."
WHERE IS YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO THIS PART OF THE CHASE? "It's really not different. We really just want to go and do the best job we can and get as many points as we can every race. You talk about strategy, but that is really the strategy to it. You try to lead laps and you try to finish as far forward in the end get the most points. So we just approach it one race at a time and see where we end up."
YOU WERE PICKED BY A LOT OF THE CELEBRITY PICKS THIS WEEK. "That's pretty cool, I hope they're right. There is still a lot of work to do between now and Sunday night."
WAS THERE ANYTHING WRONG MECHANICALLY LAST WEEK WITH THE CAR? "No, we were good. We were just short and we were hoping to make it. Probably racing [Jeff] Burton and my car being tight on that last set of tires than all of the rest, you know when your car is tight you've got more wheel turned into it and you burn more fuel. We probably burned more fuel racing 'em and that caution didn't give us a lot of cushion. Everything was there; the calculation was there off the run before. Obviously that run we used more gas."
YOU'VE GOT TO BE GLAD TO GAIN SOME POINTS ON THE LEAD AFTER LAST WEEK. "I haven't really even thought about it really to be honest with you. We just got out every week and try to lead. Just disappointed last week that we didn't win last week and that was on my mind more than anything. I didn't really think about where we were at or who we had to beat, we just tried to win the race."
-credit: ford racing