Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/13/14

HAMPTON, GA - SEPTEMBER 05: Matt Kenseth driver of the #17 R&L Carriers Ford, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2009 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion, is still looking for his first road course victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series going into Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen.  Kenseth, who is second in series points, spoke to the media before today’s first practice session.

MATT KENSETH ON WATKINS GLEN: “This has not been our best track on the circuit, but after the last two weeks it can’t be much worse.  I’m looking forward to getting on track, hopefully, if it dries up here.  As far as road courses go, I really like this track so I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting another weekend started.”

WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A ROAD COURSE LIKE THIS TO MAKE IT MORE NASCAR FRIENDLY?  “I think this place is really NASCAR friendly.  We only go to two road courses, obviously, and if you compare this place to Sears Point, everybody kind of groups road courses together but that would be like grouping all the ovals together, so I think this place reminds me a lot of Michigan or something like that.  It’s real wide.  It’s got a lot of room to work and a lot of momentum, so I think this road course is great for our cars.  Sears Point is really small, tight, technical, slow, so I think this place is great.”

AS YOU GET CLOSER TO THE CHASE DO YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACE?  KIND OF LIKE THE NFL WHEN A TEAM IS LOCKED IN THE PLAYOFFS THEY HAVE TO DECIDE IF THEY SHOULD REST THEIR STARTERS OR NOT.  “I don’t think so.  You always want to win and you always want to bring your best stuff.  Obviously, they rank you by wins and our sport is quite a bit different.  It would be like in the NFL if they started your playoff game with some points, instead of starting 0-0.  That’s kind of how it is.  If you win here, you start the playoffs with some points, so, obviously, that’s really important.  Indy was a letdown.  Last weekend I thought we were really in position to have a chance at a win there, especially with the race probably going to get shortened.  So I thought we had a good chance there of getting an extra point or whatever going into the Chase, so I think for us and our team and where we’re at, I think it’s important to try to get a win before the Chase starts and to make sure we’re in the Chase.  After the last two weeks, anything can happen. If we have many more of those, we might be getting back toward that 10th spot farther than we want to be.”

HOW WOULD IT CHANGE THE DYNAMIC OF THE RACE IF QUALIFYING GOT CANCELLED AND THE RACE STARTED ON POINTS?  “I think that sounds awesome if they started by points (laughing).  It’ll probably actually make it more interesting, honestly, for this track compared to some other tracks.  I know NASCAR went to the speeds and all those different things, if we do practice, to try and not to line them up by points because it’s generally more exciting and more passing with qualifying, but this is one of those rare places, I think, the racing might actually be more interesting if they start by points because there are probably some guys up there that aren’t the best at road courses that might fall back, and then there are probably some really good road course guys like Marcos (Ambrose) and Juan Pablo (Montoya) and guys like that who aren’t as high in points that will probably be moving toward the front, so it might actually make the racing more interesting if we don’t qualify.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT JEFF GORDON GOING ON A BIG STREAK IF HE GETS IN THE CHASE?  “I think there are all kinds of good race teams out there that are capable of winning and getting on a run if they get into the Chase.  So I think once the Chase field gets set, if we’re lucky enough to be in that, I really worry about all the teams.  There are some you worry about more than others, but certainly all four Hendrick teams are ones that you have to worry about or watch out for.  As good as that organization runs, all four of those cars have won, so they’ve proven they’re all capable of winning and getting on a run and being championship contenders.”

ANY IDEA WHEN YOU WILL ANNOUNCE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?  “I would if I knew, but I don’t know.  ANY DISCUSSIONS?  “No, there hasn’t really been in the last few weeks, honestly.”  THE DEAL STILL IN PLACE?  “I hope so (laughing).”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ROAD COURSES THAT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO GET A HANDLE ON?  “I think they’re both a lot different, like we talked about.  I think this year at Sears Point we did a little bit better.  I feel like that’s one of my worst tracks on the circuit, and this place I feel like there have been times we’ve run pretty competitively.  We’ve been OK, so it’s just totally different than oval track racing.  It’s a totally different technique and approach.  I think the hardest thing probably for me through the years is to give Jimmy (Fennig) and the guys working on the car the best feedback I can or help them get what we need in the car to go fast.  That’s probably been my biggest challenge is to help those guys help me.”


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