Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 USG Ford Fusion, has one victory and four top-five finishes in 10 career NASCAR Nextel Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Kenseth, who finished second at the track back in April, met with the media following ...
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 USG Ford Fusion, has one victory and four top-five finishes in 10 career NASCAR Nextel Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Kenseth, who finished second at the track back in April, met with the media following Friday's practice session and talked, among other things, about his season and his favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers.
HOW ABOUT THEM PACKERS? "They look good so far, don't they?"
ARE YOU A BIG FOOTBALL FAN? "Yeah, I am. It's probably the only other sport I pay attention to, to be honest with you. I'm a huge Green Bay Packer fan, and I like watching all NFL games. I've been to a couple of games already, and I've got too see them all."
AS A FELLOW PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE REASON WHY BRETT FAVRE AND THE PACKERS ARE DOING SO WELL THIS YEAR? "Favre, I think, has always played the game pretty much the same. He takes chances, but he's a heck of an athlete, has a good time doing it, and that's fun to watch. I think it's just being the second year with [head coach Mike] McCarthy and the team being a year older and everybody working together for a little bit longer, the offensive line and everybody, and picking up some more good players. I think mostly just the extra year being together has helped them out play better as a group."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "I like it. I've always enjoyed coming here. It's a great facility. There's always a ton of fans here. Eddie Gossage I think always treats the fans and the competitors as good or better than any other track we go to. It's the biggest purse in the chase, which it's nice of them to do that, to share the wealth a little bit, so that's nice. I just like coming here. We've always been pretty competitive. It's a fast race track. It's gotten real wide the last couple of years, there's been a lot passing. It's a lot of fun."
WHEN YOU HAVE SUCCESS AT A RACE TRACK, LIKE YOU HAVE HERE, IS THERE AN EXTRA COMFORT ZONE? "Yeah, the better you run at a place, the more you look forward to going there and the more you enjoy yourself. It's never fun to go anywhere and run bad."
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE CAR OF TOMORROW AND WHAT IT COULD DO AND HOW IT COULD IMPACT THINGS. NEXT WEEK WILL BE THE LAST RACE OF THE YEAR FOR IT. HOW HAS IT CHANGED THINGS? "I think that the guys who performed in the old car performed in the new car. I don't think it's really changed that. I think there was kind of a perception out there that you were going to take a guy who runs 30th in this car because they don't have the budget, or whatever people think it is, to keep up, and they're going to get in that car and, man, all of sudden they're going to go out and win races. I haven't seen that at all. I still see the 48 and the 24 up there battling for wins no matter what car they're in.
"So, I really don't see that it changed the competition that much. I think it has got everybody closer together, and I think it's made it a little harder to pass at certain tracks because they're closer to the same speed. So, it's been the challenge that we thought it was going to be, but for us, as a team, we're getting caught up a little bit on it."
WHAT IS THE SKILL SET LIKE FOR A DRIVER ON A MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACK? IS IT DIFFERENT, SAY, THAN WHAT'S NEEDED ON A SHORT TRACK OR FLAT TRACK? "Every race track is different. Every race track maybe takes a little bit different technique, or little tricks about getting around the track or what have you, but all the bigger tracks, you sort of approach it the same, but the track's are all unique. So, it's kind of more learning the track and where to go with it, so it's a little different driving them all, and yet you're trying to do the same thing."
HALF OF THE CHASE TRACKS ARE MILE AND A HALF, WHICH COULD POTENTIALLY FAVOR ONE TYPE OF DRIVER OR TEAM ... "I don't know. It's going to be all different again next year anyway with this new car, so -- I don't know; I haven't seen, for the last three or four years, however long it's been, I haven't seen the 48 have a weakness anywhere, and really not even the 24, either. I'm not so sure it matters. It's nice to have a variety and a mixture; I think you should be reasonably good at all the different tracks that we go to, because there is such a variety of tracks, but I don't know that it would necessarily change the outcome of the championship."
WHAT IF POINTS IN THE BUSCH SERIES WERE TO BE CHANGED TO WHERE CUP DRIVERS NOT IN THE SERIES FULLTIME WOULD NOT GET POINTS? WOULD THAT BE A PROBLEM FOR YOU? "I would be in 100 percent in favor of what they could do to make the Busch Series to where it was more about the Busch Series regulars, and it was more about the young guy coming in and trying to compete for a championship at that level -- I would be 100 percent totally for that. Somebody told me, I don't know if it's true or not, that out of 140 drivers that ran the Busch Series, only nine of them this year have run every race. I think the races would be better, it would be more interesting for the series if that number was a lot larger, you know, if they had more people racing for that. I don't know how you could possibly do it; I don't think they can not allow us to come and race there, allow our race teams to race there, I don't know exactly how could do it, but, like I said, anything to make the regular guys race for a championship, that would be great."
WHEN YOU RACE IN THE BUSCH SERIES, YOU'RE ONLY RACING FOR A WIN ANYWAY, RIGHT? "Yeah, we're there racing for the win, we're racing for the fun of it, we're racing for the competition, and we're also racing to learn something about the track and the tires and so on and so forth, which might not be as big of an advantage when they get to the COT next year, but a lot of these tracks, like Texas here, for instance, when we came in April nobody could test, nobody's been on the track, so to get on the track on Thursday in your Busch car was a big help for me. So, that's a lot of the reason why we do it. We can get on the track, we'll get some time and be comfortable out there."
-credit: ford racing