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Q&A with Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, met with the media prior to this afternoon’s practice.

WAS THE OFFSEASON TOO SHORT, TOO LONG OR JUST ABOUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME? “It was alright. I was anxious to get to Daytona.”

HAVE YOU CHANGED THE MOTOR YET? “Yeah. We changed the whole car. We wrecked in the 150s and had to change the car, so we just put the race motor in then.”

IS THERE ANY BENEFIT TO CHANGING NOW AS OPPOSED TO AFTER HAPPY HOUR TOMORROW? “I think if I had my choice, I would wait until the last practice tomorrow, just to keep the miles off of it. So, as long as you get one practice on it, just to make sure you don’t have leaks or anything on it or anything goofy going on, I don’t really think it matters.”

HOW HAS DAYTONA BEEN GOING FOR YOU? “We’ve been kind of missing it, I think, on the handling. We haven’t had this car out, so this is a whole new car since yesterday. So, my plan is to put as many miles as we need to on it to get it to handle the way we need it to handle.”

SINCE THIS RACE IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHERS, DO YOU NEED TO WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO CALIFORNIA NEXT WEEK BEFORE YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA ABOUT HOW THE TEAM WILL DO THIS YEAR? “You’ve probably got to get to the first break, get through California, Las Vegas and Atlanta, through some of those downforce tracks and see what your stuff is like and have a better idea for the season. Usually, Speed Weeks isn’t a good indicator of what the rest of the season will be like. Everybody puts a lot of focus and time on the Daytona 500, it’s obviously our biggest event of the year, and everybody always puts forth a lot of effort for this race, but you’ve really got to get through that first four or five or six races to see what you have and have a better feel for the season.”

DO YOU APPROACH THE SEASON WEEK TO WEEK? OR, DO YOU BELIEVE THE EARLY PART OF THE SEASON CAN SET THE TONE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR? “I go by race by race. I mean, the better you run, the more confidence everyone has, but I take it race by race.”

HAVE YOU HAD ANY TIRE ISSUES HERE? “So far, we haven’t had any tire issues, really, that I’ve been aware of since we’ve gotten down here, which is pretty normal. Other than that, that hasn’t been a problem for us, yet.”

DO EXPECT TO HAVE ANY TIRE WEAR PROBLEMS? “Hopefully, everything will be okay. Typically, down here during the week, the more races that are run, the more practices that are run, you get more rubber built up on the track and usually tire wear gets better. So, hopefully, we won’t have any issues.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR TEAM RIGHT NOW? “I feel really good about our race team. I think we’ve got a great bunch over the wall. I think with the addition of Drew on our team this year, he can add a little energy. We pretty much add another person. Chip was trying to do an awful lot by himself last year. I feel real good about our team. I feel as good about it as probably I’ve ever felt about our race team. You never know what’s going to happen at Daytona, but I’m really looking forward to running the Daytona 500 and getting out the next couple of weeks and see what we really have.”

WHAT ABOUT THE ROUSH FENWAY ORGANIZATION AS A WHOLE? “I feel good about the organization as well. Obviously, Carl won nine races last year, Greg won a couple, and Carl was real close to winning the championship. We were a little off that, but with those guys doing that good, it gives us a lot confidence because we knew the equipment is there and the technology is there, everything’s there that we need. We’ve just have to get it put together. So, I feel good about the organization and where we’re at.”

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