Ford drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray are all in the top 12 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and each held separate Q&A sessions after Friday's two-hour practice session at Richmond International Raceway. *** MATT...
Ford drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray are all in the top 12 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and each held separate Q&A sessions after Friday's two-hour practice session at Richmond International Raceway.
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOUR CONSISTENCY THIS YEAR? "It's just preparation, like anything else. Our car has been running at the end of all the races and that helps a lot." HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOUR SUCCESS HERE? "I love the race track. I think most of the drivers do and I think most of the fans do, too, by looking at the fans all the time, so it's an exciting race. It's fun because you can run side-by-side, but it's still a short track so it's always a good time."
JEFF GORDON STOOD UP AND SPOKE AT THE DRIVER'S MEETING LAST WEEK ABOUT BUMP DRAFTING. WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A GUY OF HIS STATURE STANDS UP AND REPRESENTS ALL THE DRIVERS? "I don't think it's representing all the drivers, he's representing his own opinion. That wasn't representative of all the drivers. I think every driver is a little different when it comes to what they like and they don't like, and whether they're comfortable in certain situations or not. It kind of depends who you're running with and the position you're in. There are certain times when bump drafting is OK and it certainly helps you and somebody does it with you, but then there are other times when traffic is kind of tight and accidents can happen. The accidents have always happened at the speedways, even in years before bump drafting really came around, so I don't think it really matters."
DOES HE GET A LITTLE MORE LEEWAY WITH HIS CREDENTIALS AND THE WAY HE'S BEEN RUNNING TO MAYBE TALK OUT LIKE THAT? "I think that anybody can talk out. Anybody who wants to talk can talk. They never told us we couldn't ask questions."
WILL WE SEE SIDE BY SIDE RACING WITH THE COT TOMORROW? "They all handle equally as bad, so you've got to make yours handle the best. They're slower than what we used to run and they don't turn as good and all that, but you just have to slow down and wait for it to turn. I think the racing would be pretty good here no matter what kind of cars you'd bring here. The track is really great for that. There are always two or three grooves out there and I don't think it'll be any different tomorrow."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DARLINGTON NEXT WEEK? "It's always fun to go there. It's a challenge. I enjoy any track that's different and that's a challenge, so I enjoy going there. The new surface will be cool, but whenever they pave it, it only lasts a couple of years anyway and it gets pretty worn out with all the sand around there and everything. It'll be different for a couple years, but it will go back to the old Darlington in a hurry."
HOW IS YOUR LEARNING CURVE WITH THE COT? "I don't know, I'll tell you more after qualifying and after the race, really. It's hard to tell. I think we ran pretty respectable at Phoenix -- better than what we probably ran there in the standard car the last few times -- so I felt pretty good about our run out there. I'll really have a better idea after racing tomorrow. It's so much different than our other cars that it's hard to run practice and say, 'Oh, I feel pretty good about our car running good' because you don't always really know until you get them all out there and race them."
HENDRICK AND GIBBS HAVE RUN WELL IN THE COT RACES. HOW DO YOU COMPARE? "We're behind a little bit, but we're working hard to get caught up."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CHARLOTTE TESTING NEXT WEEK AND THE 17 GALLON FUEL CELL? "That's a good thing. That's a great thing. I think the more fuel we have, the better, especially for us. The track has another year on it. Hopefully, we won't run a tire that's quite as hard. I really have no idea really what they're bringing."
THEY'RE BRINGING THE ONE FROM LAST MAY. "That's not very exciting (laughing), but the track is a year older and as the tracks age they always get a little bit easier to handle and the racing gets better."
-credit: ford racing