Matt Kenseth enters the first road course race of the season as the NASCAR Sprint Cup series points leader. The steady Kenseth talked with members of the media at Sonoma prior to the first practice session Friday morning.
TALK ABOUT BEING WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS ALMOST HALFWAY THROUGH THE YEAR AND BEING BACK HERE AT SONOMA. “This place has always been a challenge to say the least for me. I look forward to coming here in a different way. We go to Michigan and some other places where I really look forward to because we are usually one of the guys challenging for a win. I look forward to coming here for the challenge of trying to improve and get better and be more competitive and just improving. “
BEING THE POINTS LEADER, DOES IT CHANGE HOW YOU DO THIS RACE? DO YOU TRY TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE AND PROTECT THE POINTS? “Well, all of the above I guess. You never want to get in trouble, you always want to win races and get the best finish you can. If you do all those things, the higher you finish, the more points you get. You go out and race as hard as you can and certainly you never want to wreck or get spun out of do any of that stuff. You try to race hard and race smart and be in a good position at the end.”
IT SEEMS THE LAST FEW YEARS THAT THE ROAD COURSES HAVE HAD SO MUCH ACTION, DRAMA AND CONTROVERSY THAT WE USED TO ASSOCIATE WITH SHORT TRACKS. WHY ARE ROAD COURSES PRONE TO ANGER OR RETALIATION? “It has really changed a lot through the last few years. I think a couple things really changed it. I started road course racing however long ago it was and there was always road course etiquette. You would only pass in certain zones and when people got along side you to pass in those zones you would drop back and fall in line and go on. You would really race the race track the entire race and race the fuel mileage and tires and try to be in position – since the two-wide restarts and this car that has really changed. I think all the etiquette is out the window and you run side-by-side in places you were told not to before. It has really changed a lot. I think the two-wide restarts has really thrown almost all of that out the window and everybody is bunched up. You have wait for one car on the restarts because you might lose eight or 10 sports before you know it. I think those two things have changed it the most. I think this has turned into the most no-holds-barred, crazy, people running into each other race more so than any of the short tracks we go to now.”
WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THE CHUTE OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CAROUSEL BACK IN ACTION? “Do I have to pick one? I never races on it with the carousel. I think that it would be fun from what a lot of people say that used to race on that. Mark Martin and a lot of those guys said it was a lot better and opened up one or two more passing zones and was a fun part of the track to race on. I think it would be neat to try it, just because it would be different for me.”