Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his Q&A session following Friday's practice session at Michigan International Speedway. WAS IT SLICK OUT THERE FOR YOU IN PRACTICE? "You kind of threw me off with that one. We were ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his Q&A session following Friday's practice session at Michigan International Speedway.
WAS IT SLICK OUT THERE FOR YOU IN PRACTICE? "You kind of threw me off with that one. We were actually just sitting in the front of the lounge looking at the time sheets and the track is about seven-tenths of a second faster than it was in the spring. I thought the track was alright. Like I said, we were just looking over our times figuring out where we were and the track is about seven-tenths of a second faster today than it was the last time we were here on a Friday getting ready to qualify, so it looks pretty quick out there to me."
CAN YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE LAST TRIP HERE? "I hope there's something that can carryover. It wasn't that long ago, so we hope we can. We ran really well here in the spring. I think we had a car that could have won without that fuel mileage deal that went on there at the end. We were real competitive, but we seem to be a little bit off compared to what we were here a couple of months ago. We're trying some new stuff trying to get better, but we seem to be just a tick off."
DOES THE ROUSH SUCCESS HERE GIVE YOU MORE CONFIDENCE? "Not really just because of the Roush stuff, but in general at the 17 we've always run pretty competitively here. I can't think of many times we didn't run very good here, so it's one of our better tracks. Obviously, with where we are in points and not having a win yet this year, and all that stuff, it always makes you feel better coming to one of your better tracks."
HOW OLD DO FUEL MILEAGE RACES GET FOR YOU? "The fuel mileage thing and track position thing is really aggravating and gets old for everybody except for the winner. The winner likes it, but other than that it's kind of frustrating. It would be more fun to have the fastest group of cars racing for the win at the end. That's kind of what you always hope for and you hope to have the fastest car."
DO YOU FIND THINGS CARRYOVER FROM MICHIGAN TO FONTANA? "Yeah, they're pretty similar. They're a little bit different, but I remember Kurt winning both races at Fontana and then coming here and winning. Usually if you run good at one, you'll run decent or good at the other. Hopefully, we get running good this weekend and carry some of that momentum to California."
IT WAS 114 DEGREES LAST YEAR IN FONTANA. HAD YOU EVER RACED IN CONDITIONS LIKE THAT? "Yeah, the last time I can remember it being that hot was out there when the Nationwide Series had a stand-alone race in May or July, I don't remember when it was, but it was the second or third Nationwide race I ever went to out there and it was way over 100 degrees and was pretty unbearable."
DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE IN CHASE MODE ALREADY COMPARED TO SOME OTHER GUYS WHO ARE ALREADY LOCKED IN? "No, from Daytona all the way to here you're in chase mode because if you don't make the chase, you can't win a championship. We've been working toward the goal of first getting in the chase since Daytona, really. We wish we were in a better spot than where we were, but, on the other hand, it could be worse as well. We'll just keep working at it. We've been doing our best every week, we just have to keep doing that and hope the finishes will come."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE INSIDE THE CHASE OR MAYBE SOMEWHERE LIKE 13TH WHERE YOU CAN BE MORE AGGRESSIVE? "You'd rather be in than out no matter what time of the year it was. You want to be the highest you can possibly be in the points. Certainly, we'd like to be in better shape than what we are right now. We'd like to have some wins and we'd like to be securely in that top 12."
ARE YOU ON THE DEFENSIVE NOW? "No. The only time that would ever happen is like Jimmie last year at Homestead, whatever his points lead was and he finished something like 16th after he won four out of the five races before that. If something comes like that and it's for the championship or you're in that 12th spot and you've got 100-point lead at Richmond, you might be a little bit more careful, but, other than that, you're gonna race the same all the time. You give it your all. You give it your very best and just do the best you can every week and you hope the finishes will come along with it."
DO YOU THINK ABOUT POINTS LIKE AT WATKINS GLEN DURING THE RACE? "No. I don't think about anything in the race car, except for finishing and doing the very best we can do that day, and trying to figure out what we need to do strategy-wise and getting the car around the track, pit stop-wise -- all that stuff -- to get the very best finish we can for that particular day. You look at it during the week or on the way home. Usually on the way home Sunday night you look at it and see where everybody is stacked up and where everybody finished and where you are, but, other than that, you can't really do anything about it. The only thing you control is your car in that particular race and if you do your best job with that, there's not much else you can do."
-credit: ford racing