Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are both locked into the Chase for the Nextel Cup. They addressed reporters after practice Friday to discuss the chase and what to expect this weekend at RIR. MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion IS...
Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are both locked into the Chase for the Nextel Cup. They addressed reporters after practice Friday to discuss the chase and what to expect this weekend at RIR.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
IS IT JUST A CASE OF GOING OUT AND RACING HARD TOMORROW? "We race hard every week. There's really nothing extra. There's nothing we can do to try any harder than we try. We approach every race the same -- try to go out and win every week and run the best we can. At the same time, you try to finish the race and try to learn some stuff for New Hampshire and these other tracks we have to run the COT at."
DOES ANYTHING TRANSFER FROM RICHMOND TO NHIS? "I think you can learn some things. You still have kind of flat corners and you're still running the same car, which is relatively new to all of us. We're still trying to learn and trying new things on it to try and make it better. I think you can carry some stuff over."
SOME SAY SECOND DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING TOMORROW. WILL THAT CREATE A DIFFERENT MENTALITY AT THE END? "I don't know. Maybe people say that, but I can't think of a race where I haven't tried as hard as I could to win. Even if there's not a points incentive, if you're running second and you just can't catch the leader or if you're running third and you can't catch the leader without wrecking, well, are you gonna wreck your car or are you gonna finish second or third? You're still gonna finish second or third if you can't catch the leader, so I don't think it changes. It's still a race. The definition of race is that everybody tries as hard as they can to beat everybody else and that's what we do every week."
SO MAYBE AN ALL-STAR RACE MENTALITY? "I think momentum is still important. I think we're still trying to learn stuff for New Hampshire and Martinsville and some of these other tracks -- Phoenix probably more than all the rest -- so I'm not gonna approach it any different. I'm just gonna do the things we do every week and try to get the best we can out of it."
IS IT JUST A COINCIDENCE THERE ISN'T MORE DRAMA WITH THE POINTS THIS YEAR? "No, of course not. If it was 10, there would be a lot of drama. If you look at 10th place, you've got ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th are all within 30-40 points and it would be a great race to see who is in and who is out, just like it was the last two years. Obviously, the more cars you include, the less dramatic it's gonna be to see who makes it."
CAN YOU JUST FLIP THE SWITCH ON WHEN THE CHASE STARTS IF YOU'VE BEEN EXPERIMENTING THE LAST FEW WEEKS? "I don't know. Like I said, we do everything the same. We don't really change. The first year the chase was in play we changed our strategy and tested different and tried different things and it all just kind of blew up. I just think you bring your best piece to the track every week. You put your best foot forward, you work as hard as you can and see how it turns out."
WILL THE COT BE MUCH DIFFERENT THIS TIME AT RIR? "I won't really know until tomorrow night, but I hope we've learned some things over the last few months. I hope we got them better. The 99 has really been running the best out of the bunch with the COT cars -- out of the Roush cars -- so we're trying to look at what they do and we're trying to come up with some new ideas and try to develop some stuff and make it better. Certainly it seems like we're better speedwise and we'll have to wait until the night is over to see, but I feel like we've made some gains."
DO YOU FEEL IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE FANS THAT ALL THE STARS MAKE THE CHASE? "I think you'd have to ask a fan that. Me as a driver, as long as we're in, I don't care who makes it and who doesn't make it. We have enough to worry about ourselves and trying to be competitive every week and trying to make the chase and race for championships -- more than worry about anybody else. I think it should be like any other sport. I think you've got to prove your worth every race and every year. The Colts won the Super Bowl last year, but that doesn't mean they're gonna make the Super Bowl this year. They've still got to earn it. They've got to play a game every week and they've still got to win every week and win their playoff games. It's the same way here. You shouldn't just automatically be in because of your name, you should have to earn it every year."
IS THERE A STRATEGY OR FORMULA TO DO WELL IN THE CHASE? "Again, we don't change our strategy. We put our best foot forward every week. We bring our best piece and we work as hard as we can to try to win. There's no week that we really go try not to win. We try to win every week. The point system still pays the most points to win and lead the most laps and if you can't do that, it pays the second-most for second and so on. You finish as high as you can every week and do the best job you can every week and don't worry about the points. Wherever they stack up, they stack up."
ARE YOU MORE CAREFUL THROUGHOUT? "I can't really answer that because I haven't ever really been in that position. When we won the championship that year, we were ahead and we were a little conservative on engine parts and gear ratios and stuff like that, but, other than that, we raced exactly the same. We raced as hard as we could race. We called the races to try to win the races and we didn't do anything different. Certainly if you're going into the last race and you've got 100 point lead or something, you're gonna be more careful -- like Jimmie was probably more careful at Homestead than if we would have been 50 points behind last year. So if you get in the last race and you're trying to protect the lead, you might try to do something a little different, but with only 10 races to get it done, the chances of that happening before the last race aren't very good."
-credit: ford racing