Q and A with Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, heads into Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 in third place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points standings. Kenseth won at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2002. This is the third Car of Tomorrow race; Kenseth finished 11th and 10th at Bristol and Martinsville, respectively, in the first two COT races.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE COT AT THIS TRACK? “It’s the same as I thought it was going to be like, really. We did a tire test here, which was okay. We’ve been struggling with ours a little bit. We got some speed out of it in qualifying trim, which I was surprised, but our race trim we still can’t get it to drive quite like I want, so we have to work on it tomorrow in practice and hopefully get it a little better.”
HOW MUCH WORK CAN YOU DO ON THE CARS? “There’s not as much work that we can do on those cars as we can on the cars that we normally run – or whatever you want to start calling them. We all carry the same package. Everybody’s going to have to the same rules and areas to work in, we’ve just got to figure it out better.”
HOW MUCH DOES THAT CONCERN YOU THAT YOU DON’T HAVE AS MUCH ADJUSTABILITY? “If we can get our car to drive as good as everybody else’s, as good as the best car out there, I know we’ll have a shot. We’ve got a great pit crew. Robbie and those guys do a great job on pit road and calling the races, and all that stuff, so if we can get our cars at least equal to everybody’s, well have a shot to be competitive. But we’ve just got to figure it out. There’s still enough areas you can work in where you can definitely mess it up or you can be better than everybody. So, we’ve just got to figure out how to do it better than everybody.”
DID YOU GO BACK AND WATCH THE END OF THE TEXAS RACE AGAIN? “Actually, I did watch it.” I KNOW YOU DON’T LIKE THE WAY IT TURNED OUT, BUT IT WAS ENTERTAINING. “Yeah. Getting passed the last lap always hurts, but some are more painful than others. And really I was surprised we held him off as long as we did. He was a lot faster, and every lap you could just see him gain that little bit. So, if I had to go do it over again, I couldn’t have done a thing different, really. I thought we were lucky to hang on as long as we did. It was a great race. I was surprised we made it that interesting. Like I say, you hate to get beat on the last lap when you hang on there for the entire 15 laps, but it was a great race and we really ran about eighth-to-12th all day, and then people were having trouble, and we were doing a good job on pit road, I thought we were able to get a great finish out of it.”
YOU’VE BEEN THE BEST FORD THIS YEAR. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR SECRET? “I don’t think we really have a secret. It’s pretty much the same group we’ve had together for a long time and keeping those guys together is a real important thing. We’ve done great on pit road and the cars get prepared well, so we’ve been able to finish better than we ran this year, too, which has been big plus. There have been races where we’ve run well, but there’s also been races where haven’t run that good and still pulled out a decent finish. So, we realize we still have some work to do. I think we’re behind some of the teams. We not way off, but we’re off enough where we’ve got to get it better if we’re going to be a contender down the stretch.”
DO THE ROUSH FENWAY TEAMS STILL SHARE INFORMATION? “Yeah, all the Roush teams, we’ve been for four or five years sharing 100 percent of the information, so that’s definitely not a problem. It’s been interesting. It’s been a little different, all the teams kind of got mixed up again, and Jamie’s has been running really well, so we’ve been looking at some of that stuff now. I think as we go down the road we’ll be able to help each other a lot more than may be last year or the year before. Ford Racing