Matt Kenseth, the highest Ford in the latest driver points standings in third place, took time to meet with media members and discuss his strategy to get into the Chase, thoughts on the upcoming Michigan race, how to concentrate for 500 laps at ...
Matt Kenseth, the highest Ford in the latest driver points standings in third place, took time to meet with media members and discuss his strategy to get into the Chase, thoughts on the upcoming Michigan race, how to concentrate for 500 laps at Pocono and more.
YOU ARE THIRD IN POINTS, IS YOUR MINDSET TO GET INTO THE TOP-12 AND THEN GO FROM THERE? "We try to get the best finishes we can every week no matter what week it is in the season. We always want the best finish we can for every race. I am really happy where we are in the points and where our finishes have been compared to how we've ran. We just haven't ran well enough overall. I haven't really thought about the Chase or championships or anything. We have been trying to get the cars better to compete. We are all smart enough to know if we run like this ever week that we aren't going to be good enough to win the championship. Hopefully we would make the dance, but I don't think we would win it. We certainly know we need to be better to be able to run with those guys."
ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE GOOD WHEN YOU GET THERE BECAUSE YOU CAN'T HAVE A BAD RACE IF YOU ARE IN THE CHASE CAN YOU? "I don't know, I guess ever year is a little different. Last year we didn't even make it in and that was after we won two races early in the year. We've got to get finishes every week and get our cars running better so we have chances to win."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE NEW ENGINE FROM THIS FIRST PRACTICE? "Well, it looks nicer ^a it looks cool. It is hard to tell in practice until you race with other cars. It seems to run really good and is responsive. It obviously looks really nice in there. I haven't had anything weird going on today, so that is good."
WHEN IT GETS TO SUNDAY, HOW EARLY DO YOU START WORRYING ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE OR DO YOU WAIT UNTIL TODD TELLS YOU TO CONSERVE SOME? "Lately, knock on wood, it hasn't been too bad. The last few years we have lost a lot of position at the end of the race on mileage. We weren't able to get the position on mileage the way others were. It is a little bit of concern, especially after Charlotte last weekend when the Roush camp was the first ones on pit road by five laps every time because we weren't getting fuel mileage. It is something you think about. Last fall we had a long run at the end where seven or eight cars made it and nobody else did. The way we ended up pitting we finished 16th or 17th with a fifth of sixth place car."
HOW DO YOU STRATEGIZE FUEL MILEAGE AT MICHIGAN? "I don't really think about it or strategize for it until the end. If we get a caution and you are a few laps within your window you maybe start thinking about it. In general at Michigan the last few years has been important to have tires. If you get a caution anywhere toward the end you are going to go and get tires. If you know you are a few laps short on fuel then you will start to drive differently, but other than that you don't think about it too much."
YOU WILL HAVE EIGHT CARS RUNNING THE FR9 AT MICHIGAN, IS THAT BETTER FOR YOU GUYS? "I think that might be something for Doug and the engine guys to answer. I don't know if they have different combinations or more stuff to look at. I don't know if there is an advantage to having it in one car or eight cars honestly."
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO RUN WELL AND BE SUCCESSFUL THERE AT MICHIGAN? "You have me all spun out about fuel mileage now. It is like the rest of the race tracks, you have to get through the corners faster than anybody else. There are a lot of grooves there and you have to work on your handling because the corners are so incredibly long there. You have to have a car that handles really well there."
IS IT TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE FOR 500 MILES HERE AT POCONO? "Yeah, there is a lot of time in the straightaways but at the end of them it is pretty exciting. Especially at the end of that front stretch, there is a lot going on there. I wouldn't say it is boring or your mind drifts. One time I broke a transmission and we were like 20 laps down and I was just trying to stay out of everyone's way, so I guess that was boring, but usually it is a very exciting race"
WITH NO WINS THIS YEAR, IS YOUR PROGRAM THE SAME AND OTHER TEAMS HAVE GOTTEN AHEAD OF YOU OR HOW DO YOU LOOK AT IT? "I think it is always a moving target. Everyone is always getting better. It seems like we have been trying to catch up for a couple of years. Over the winter I feel like we made some big gains and started the year stronger, but we certainly aren't where we want to be."
-source: ford racing