Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, enters the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway with one pole, two top-five’s and three top-10’s under his belt all time at the track. Entering the third Chase race of the year, Kenseth stands in 11th place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and talked about what he will need to do this weekend and beyond to climb back into contention.
HOW DOES YOUR CAR LOOK THIS WEEKEND? “I don’t really know yet until we get on track. We will find out here in a little bit I guess.” THIS TRACK IS COMPARED TO CHICAGO A LOT. ARE THERE THINGS YOU CAN TRANSFER OVER FROM CHICAGO TO HERE? “I think they are pretty close. This track is a little bit flatter than Chicago. They were built at the same time, sort of have the same climate and have aged the same. I think they are pretty similar. They are probably as similar as any two tracks on the circuit.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CHASE RIGHT NOW? DO YOU JUST GO OUT WITH EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT? “That is what we have been doing every week for 10 years. Every week we try as hard as we can and try to finish as high as we can. You hope every time you go to the track is to try to win. My outlook is not really a lot different. We didn’t run very well to get into the Chase really. To be honest we really made it because we completed all but seven laps this year. We haven’t broken or been in a lot of wrecks. We know our performance hasn’t been good enough, so we will keep working on it and try to get it where it needs to be. We want to finish as high as we can in the points and get some momentum and direction for the end of the year and going into next year.”
SO DO YOU USE THIS TIME TO PREPARE FOR NEXT YEAR? “Yes and no. You are always working on trying to make your cars better, make your team better and make your driving better. You are always working on that. I wouldn’t say we are using it to prepare for next year necessarily. We are trying to do the best we can this week and at the same time think ahead to how we can make things better.”
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK TO CALIFORNIA AND A TRACK WHERE YOU HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS? “I am looking forward to going there but honestly there are a lot of tracks I am comfortable at and have had success at in the past but I haven’t been able to repeat it lately. You have to be able to perform every week. Tracks like Dover last week, Kansas, California are places we have performed well in the past so you feel good about the race track stuff and being able to get around there but you still have to figure out what your car needs to go fast and put together a complete race.”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT CALIFORNIA? “California is pretty similar to Michigan. Your car has to handle well, that is the main thing. The corners are really long, so you have to get your car handling good to get off the corners the best you can and get down the long straightaway’s. You can spin the tires a lot more off the corner than you used to be able to and the groove has moved around. Having the races spread that far apart, you really go there and really try to find the feel and the balance to make the car drive the way you want it to.”