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DATE News (chronologically)
07/03/11
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Kenseth surprised Crown Royal is leaving
From a Ford Racing press conference transcript, #17-Matt Kenseth is asked about sponsor Crown Royal leaving his team after 2011:

Q) DID THE DECISION BY CROWN ROYAL CATCH YOU BY SURPRISE AND HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR FUTURE?

Kenseth: "I guess it caught me a little bit by surprise because we've been having a great season on-track and I figured they would be cutting back like most people are somewhat, but it caught me a little bit by surprise that they're totally leaving everything, except for that Richmond race. What that does to us, I'm not really sure. I drive the car and I kind of leave that to the marketing people and the sales team to figure that out. I feel like it's a great opportunity for a company to come into the sport. I think right now the on-track performance of the organization has been really good. It seems like everything is on the upswing in the sport as far as the on-track product and the TV ratings, and attendance is coming up a little bit, so I feel like it's a great opportunity. I've been there for a long time at Roush Fenway Racing. I think I've been there about 14 years doing miscellaneous things here or there. We had our sponsor before Crown Royal, we had DeWalt for over a decade, so I think it's a good, stable, competitive program and hopefully they can get something wrapped up there for the future."

Q) DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS SPONSOR SITUATION IMPACT THE TEAM? DO YOUR GUYS WORRY ABOUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

Kenseth: "No, I don't think so, especially not now. If we were in the middle of a season where the car hasn't had a sponsor for half-a-season or something like that and you saw big cutbacks throughout the organization and stuff like that, then maybe you would be worried, but, right now, I think it's really early for that. We've been doing everything we can to make the program really competitive and I feel like all the Roush cars have been real competitive and I think we have a lot there to sell, so I don't think that's any concern to the team guys or takes any focus off anything that we're doing. Our goal every week is to go out and try to win races and try to race for a championship and that certainly hasn't changed. I've been fortunate. I haven't been through a lot of that through my Cup career. Like I said, DeWalt was there for over a decade and they've had different associates here or there, but that was it, and then Crown Royal had been there for a couple of years. They've been a great partner, not just to us but to NASCAR as well, doing the [International Race Of Champions] Series and then moving into the Cup Series when they started allowing spirits on the side of the cars. They've been a great partner for us and NASCAR and we sure appreciate all of that. They were on our car in '03 and '04 with the Smirnoff Ice brand before moving up to do a Cup car through Kurt and Jamie and then myself, so we sure appreciate all of that."(Ford Racing)
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