Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Carhartt/DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session prior to practice on Friday, where he addressed this weekend's race at MIS and his visit to Ford World Headquarters on Thursday with his fellow ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Carhartt/DeWalt Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session prior to practice on Friday, where he addressed this weekend's race at MIS and his visit to Ford World Headquarters on Thursday with his fellow drivers.
ROUSH FENWAY HAS HAD GOOD SUCCESS HERE. WHY? "Yeah, we've been able to do pretty well here. I think it all started with Mark Martin. He gets around this track probably better than everybody. When I showed up at Roush he was winning here all the time and he's been able to teach a lot of us maybe some tricks on how to get around here."
IS IT MORE PERSONAL FOR JACK TO COME HERE? "I don't think it hurts. He's only an hour or so from here and all of his businesses are here with Roush Industries, so I'm sure it probably means a little more to him than maybe some other tracks."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE COMFORT YOU HAVE BEING WITH FORD THESE DAYS? "I don't know about comfortable, but I'm happy we're driving Fords, obviously, but you always feel comfortable going to a track that you've had some success at, so we feel comfortable coming here, but anything can happen. But we feel good about being here."
WHAT ABOUT AS A MANUFACTURER AND THE HEALTH OF THE COMPANY? "I'm not really an insider, but I'm thankful that Ford has been able to stand on their own and be able to run the business the way they want to run it and be able to do it, so far, without any government aid. Hopefully, that doesn't end up being a disadvantage for them. They're pretty strong and healthy. They're making some great new products that we got to drive a bunch of them yesterday, so I'm excited about representing Ford and driving one."
WHAT DID THEY DO AT FORD YESTERDAY? "We didn't go to a plant, but we went to headquarters and talked a little bit about what's going on. We went and saw some new vehicles at the proving grounds and drove some of them, so it was fun."
WHY IS THIS TRACK SO GOOD FOR YOU AND ROUSH? "I don't know about always being good here, but we sure try hard. It's been a pretty good track for us in the past, but it's like any other track, really, when you've got fast race cars it makes your job a lot easier. But certainly it's a track I really love racing on. I'm looking forward to racing on it and going two-wide and three-wide and going real fast. It's a good track."
DOES THIS HAVE ADDITIONAL INCENTIVE WITH IT BEING JACK'S HOME TRACK? "It's basically the same every week. You put in 100 percent every week and try to run the best you can, but, certainly, if you're fortunate to have success here it's cool for Jack. A lot of his employees from Roush Industries get to come out here and watch -- a lot of people from Ford and the manufacturers -- so whenever you run good here, it's pretty cool because you've got a lot of other people here that make it all happen."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO FORD YESTERDAY? "It's always fun to go out there and check out the new products that are coming on line for the next year, or some of the current ones that are in the showroom. They've got a lot of exciting new vehicles coming out. We had a lot of fun running them around there yesterday and putting them through their paces."
ANY REACTION TO THE REPORT ABOUT JEREMY MAYFIELD THIS WEEK? "I haven't really even checked out any news, to be honest with you. I've been kind of busy and haven't paid any attention, to be honest."
FANS LIKE YOU AROUND HERE IN THE MIDWEST. DO YOU FEEL HOME HERE? "Yeah, it's always cool to race in the Midwest, it's just across the lake from where we grew up, so it seems like we get some more family and friends that come out here, and maybe some people that saw us race in the past in this area while I was growing up than a lot of other areas, so it's cool to come here."
WHAT IS THE ELEMENT OF THIS TRACK THAT CHALLENGES YOU? "It's the same as any other track, it's getting your car to handle good and trying to get it to go through the corners fast. That's the main thing. I don't think the double-file restarts will really be a big issue here. There's a lot of room to move around and it should make it exciting for a couple extra laps at least side-by-side, so it's probably a good place for it. Hopefully, the wave around thing doesn't work as badly here, where the people can pit and get free laps back all the time and get back out in front of the leaders. Here, I think we can get back around and lap them if they pit under green, at least, so I think that part will be better."
CARL HAD AN IDEA ABOUT THE LEADER STARTING BY HIMSELF AND THE OTHERS WOULD BE DOUBLE-FILE. WHAT DO YOU THINK? "I don't know. We could probably change stuff every week if we wanted to, I guess. In my opinion, we've probably had enough procedural changes for a while, so I think we should just let it sort out and see how it works."
WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY WITH THE MEETING YOU AND THE OTHER FORD DRIVERS AND OWNERS HAD WITH JIM FARLEY AT FORD YESTERDAY? "I don't think anything has changed on their commitment to NASCAR. It's always been strong and they've always said that the very last thing they would ever cut is the NASCAR funding because they realize how important it is to their brand and to their success in selling vehicles. It was just an update of what's all going on and what they have coming up in the future."
WAS THIS YEAR'S MEETING DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR? "Yeah, it was a little bit different, but it was just kind of an update of where everything is at. I think they're seeing some signs of recovery, but, certainly, I don't think they're comfortable where they are because they're not at levels where they were a few years ago. Auto sales aren't at that level overall, but they seem to be gaining some market share, which is good."
CHEVY ANNOUNCED TODAY THEY'RE GOING TO CUT SOME SUPPORT FROM THEIR TRUCK AND NATIONWIDE TEAMS. DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE TO BE WITH FORD? "Yeah, certainly more comfortable. Obviously, it's still a struggle for everybody. Me watching the business, I don't know what's gonna happen. I don't know what's gonna happen with basically the government running two auto companies and another one running itself, so I don't know how that's all gonna work out. But, certainly, I'm proud to drive a Ford and I'm glad they haven't had to go down the avenue the other two have."
HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN DRIVING THE CARS AND DOING TESTIMONIALS LIKE CARL AND GREG HAVE? "Yeah, we all did."
DO YOU FEEL NOW MORE THAN EVER YOU GUYS ARE AMBASSADORS FOR THEM? "I think we always should be, but it's probably a little more important than it would be if they were profitable right now. Last year, it was pretty cool how we got to drive all the vehicles. I think it's important for the people that are trying to talk about the vehicles, and sell the vehicles, to be in them and drive them, and learn as much as you can about them, and be honest about them. When you drive something that's really great, you want to tell other people about it."
-credit: ford racing