Ford driver Matt Kenseth held a Q&A session after Friday's practice session at Pocono Raceway to discuss the weekend ahead and other issues. MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion HOW WAS PRACTICE? "Our car is running pretty good. This...
Ford driver Matt Kenseth held a Q&A session after Friday's practice session at Pocono Raceway to discuss the weekend ahead and other issues.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
HOW WAS PRACTICE? "Our car is running pretty good. This has usually been a track where I feel like we really struggle, but we ran pretty well here -- probably the best we ever ran -- in the first race, so I guess it's a case of so far, so good. Our car seems to have some pretty good speed and it's driving alright."
HOW MUCH OF A HELP IS IT GOING TO A PLACE FOR THE SECOND TIME? "It helps, especially with this car. We've never raced here before with this car, so all these tracks we see for the first time, it really helps when you go back the second time because you have some notes and some things to look back on."
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO LOOK AT YOUR PLACE IN POINTS AFTER LAST WEEK? "I still haven't really looked to be honest with you. You just go out and do the best you can every week and get as many points as you can. I don't really worry about it -- you go on. Usually after the race if you gain, you'll look at it and see where you're at, but somebody said we were 11th, but, other than that, I don't know."
DOES YOUR STRATEGY CHANGE NOW AND GET MAYBE MORE CONSERVATIVE? "No, I don't think your strategy ever really changes. The only time it probably would change at all is if you've got about 100-point cushion on making the chase or something like that and you go into Richmond you might be more careful. Like Jimmie last year at Homestead, he won all those races in a row and had 60 or 70 or 80-point lead, so he ran 16th or 17th all day just to be careful. So I think there's a time where you can do it if it's the last race, but, other than that, it's always so close you can gain or lose so many points in one race that I don't think you can really ever change your strategy. I think you need to go run hard, finish as high as you can. The higher you finish, the more points you get so it's a really pretty simple formula -- you just go out and finish as high as you can every week and run as hard as you can."
IS IT FRUSTRATING NOT HAVING A CUSHION? "I honestly won't think about it until we get to Richmond, if we still have a possibility of getting in or getting out -- if we're in that spot. Other than that, I don't really think about it because, really, like I say, it's an easy formula -- the higher you finish, the more points you get. You just go out and try to finish as high as you can every week. If that's capable of winning, you hopefully will be in a position to win the race and if not, you try to get the best finish out of it you can."
DO YOU KNOW WHO IS 10TH-13TH IN POINTS? "No. At this point I really don't care. There are six or seven races left, so I don't really care at this point. You just keep working at it."
FRUSTRATING TO COME OFF A RACE LIKE LAST WEEK WHERE IT WAS CIRCUMSTANCES THAT KIND OF PUT YOU OUT? "Yeah. It was kind of disappointing for everybody with the way the race played out. It's easy for me to say because I was the guy who had things go bad, but it's almost like, 'Man, I wish this race didn't pay points,' or we could do a do-over or do something different to make everybody happy. I don't think anybody was happy with it -- the drivers, the fans, the teams, NASCAR, I don't think anybody was happy with the result, obviously. I didn't think it was anything we could really control there. We were probably running only 70 percent when we blew that tire, along with everybody else. I don't think we could have really done anything different about that. There were actually two other guys that blew them at the same time I did, it's just that mine was more severe and the other guys were just getting flat. I know Carl's was all the way flat when he got to the pits. That was the longest run that they made us run all day and when they figured out we couldn't run that far, they backed the runs up by a couple laps."
WILL A NEW TEST POLICY HELP PREDICT WHAT COULD HAPPEN WITH TIRES? "In that situation at Indy, unless there are a lot of cars there, I don't think we would have prevented the situation because they did a tire test there. They had three or four cars there and with a new testing policy, if you can run and only three teams show up at the track, you're kind of probably gonna have the same result. They'd probably think, 'Oh well, when everybody gets here, the whole track will rubber in,' and that never happens. So unless every team was there and ran for two days and Goodyear looked and said, 'Man, it never got better. We better do something else,' I don't think it would have mattered."
IS THERE A HANGOVER AFTER A WEEK LIKE LAST WEEK? "I hope not. I mean, I don't. You just show up at a different track and go full speed ahead and just do everything you usually do. You usually feel bad about it Sunday night and maybe Monday morning when you go in the shop and see the car and the guys that have to fix it and do that stuff, but then you get over it pretty quick and move on to the next track."
YOU'VE MADE THE CHASE EVERY YEAR. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO KEEP THAT STREAK GOING? "It's important to make it just because if you don't make it, you can't win a championship and our goal every year is to try and win a championship. It's important we make it, but we can't do better than our best. We just have to go out and put forth 100 percent effort, do the best we can and that's it. I think when you start pushing the panic button and start doing more than you're capable of doing or try to get more out of your car than it's giving you that day, that's when you make more mistakes and things go worse. So you can't really change the strategy, you just go out there and do the best you can."
DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE FLOWN UNDER THE RADAR THIS YEAR? "Yes and no. We haven't really been a contender to win very many races. There were two or three races we probably had a good enough car to win and, other than that, we haven't really run good enough to do that. We've been running better and we've been a top-10 car or a top-5 car once in a while, and there have been a couple of times we've been contenders, but we haven't been that guy that's been knocking on the door every week, so I don't think we've really been under the radar."
-credit: ford racing