MARTINSVILLE FORD FAST FACTS
• Ford driver Fred Lorenzen holds the record for consecutive victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville with four from 1963-65. Six other drivers have won three straight (Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin).
• Martinsville hasn’t been very kind to Ford Racing of late as evidenced by the fact that its last victory at the half-mile oval was way back in 2002 when Kurt Busch won the Old Dominion 500 while driving for Jack Roush.
• Richard Petty holds the record for most Martinsville Speedway wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 15, and includes a sweep of the two races in 1969 when he drove a Ford. Petty eventually won nine times that season, which was his first and only year driving for the Blue Oval.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Gary Sinise Foundation Ford Fusion, is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after five events. He held a Q&A session in the Martinsville Speedway infield media center before practice to talk about a variety of issues.
MATT KENSETH — No. 17 Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Gary Sinise Foundation Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE INITIATIVE YOU’RE INVOLVED WITH THIS WEEKEND? “It’s pretty cool to have those guys on board. I don’t know all the players who put it together to start with, but to have JB (Josh Kerns) on the car – I met him last year up at Walter Reed and know his story a little bit. He’s close to Martinsville and it just so happened that he ended up being a fan of mine, which is pretty cool, and putting the Stephen Stiller Foundation on there and trying to raise some money to help him build his house.” WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO BRISTOL SAYING THEY’RE GOING TO CHANGE THE TRACK? “I don’t really know what they’re doing for sure. I haven’t really heard exactly how they’re going to change it, if they’re going to tear it all up or what they’re gonna do. If it makes things better and the fans are more excited about it and the racing is more exciting from the fans’ and the announcers’ view, then I think that’s always a good thing. A lot of things change throughout the years. I’m not sure you can put the track exactly back how it was and have the racing exactly back to how it was. There are a lot of other things that are different and a lot of other moving parts and pieces, but I’m all about side-by-side racing and being able to pass for sure. I thought the passing was actually a little better this time. They did some patch work off of turn two, which made the top a little slicker, and it seemed like there was more side-by-side racing this race than there was last season. Whatever it looks like when we get there, we’ll try to adapt to that and do the best we can.”
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Goody’s 500 Advance, Page 2 March 30, 2012 Martinsville Speedway
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED — YOU’RE GOING BACK TO DAYTONA FOR THE CAR CEREMONY IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. IS THAT A BIG DEAL TO YOU? “The last time we won the 500, the Monday morning stuff was really fun. All of the crew got to spend the night and go to breakfast and induct the car into what they used to call Daytona USA and leave the car there for all the fans to see for the year. We got to do a lot of neat stuff there. All of the crew signed the car and we put it up there, so that was a fun morning. We didn’t do that this year, so that’s kind of what we’re going back down to do, which I look forward to that. I remember, it was probably before I started racing, Daytona 500s – going in there and always seeing the car sitting there from the year before and seeing all the cars there – I thought was really neat from a fan’s perspective, so it’s cool to have it there and I’m looking forward to going down there and officially putting it in there.” IF BRISOL WERE REPAVED IN ASPHALT, CAN YOU THINKINNG YOUR WAY THROUGH WHAT THAT WOULD LOOK LIKE ON A HOT AUGUST NIGHT? “I always thought from my first time going to Bristol until they reconfigured it that the configuration was great of how the old Bristol was – if it was just blacktop instead of concrete, and I just say that because usually blacktop wears out a little bit, whereas concrete really doesn’t. It seemed like way back in the old days everybody used to run the top there and some guys would be on the bottom, and it seemed like it would make multiple grooves. We certainly have multiple grooves right now, although the preferred groove is on the top, but there are certainly multiple grooves that we never used to have, but I always thought the old pictures and all that stuff from a blacktop Bristol was pretty cool.” IT’S BEEN A DECADE SINCE A FORD HAS WON AT MARTINSVILLE. IS THERE A REASON YOU CAN POINT TO FOR THAT? “I don’t think there’s a manufacturer issue as far as winning races here. A lot of it probably has to do that I was driving one of them, maybe. I don’t know. This hasn’t been my best track, for sure. Has it really been that long? A decade? I know Jimmy (Fennig) and Kurt (Busch) won it one time (2002), but this has never been one of my great tracks. I can’t really speak for anybody else, but, for me, I feel like I’m kind of the weak link here about getting those guys the information and all the stuff they need to make the car drive how I need it to drive.” THOUGHTS ON THE OFF-WEEKEND NEXT WEEK? “I think everybody is different and I think, for me, the circumstances every year are a little bit different. Sometimes you can’t wait for an off weekend and other times you’d just as soon keep racing, so this year has been a little different for me. I thought this was the first off-season I can remember in a long time that seemed really long. It seemed like we had a lot of time off and I didn’t have a ton of stuff to do. I was really enjoying it until the last couple weeks of the off-season, which was tough for me, but then going down and winning Daytona was a great thing. Then we were really busy and I wasn’t home for about three weeks. I got behind in my sleep and did all that stuff and, honestly, I’m just kind of starting to get caught up with that in the last week or two, so I’m kind of looking forward to the break. I’m looking forward to Easter. Katie’s family comes down and my family comes down and we all spend that together as a family, so I’m looking forward to that. Ross is going to run Hickory on Saturday, so we’re all gonna go up there and watch him, and then have Easter together on Sunday, so I’m looking forward to that weekend and getting a weekend at home.”
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Goody’s 500 Advance, Page 3 March 30, 2012 Martinsville Speedway
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED — TEXAS IS AFTER THE BREAK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HEADING BACK THERE AFTER WINNING LAST YEAR? “I’ve always really liked Texas – the track, the crowd, the area and even the promoter is not that bad of a guy, so I always enjoy going there. It’s been a pretty good track for us in the past. It’s kind of a unique layout for a mile-and-a-half, how flat the straightaways and the corner entries and exits are, and the corners have a lot of banking, so it’s a track that I enjoy. I’m looking forward to getting back there.” A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND BRIAN VICKERS HERE LAST YEAR. IS THAT OVER IN YOUR MIND? “Yeah, certainly from my standpoint. That’s all in the past. You’ve got to move forward. I think if you’re sitting there worrying about that stuff and thinking about it, you’re certainly not giving your best effort to try and get the best finish that you can, so I think that’s all water under the bridge and you move forward from there. I’m sure he’s excited to be back in the car. They had a great run at Bristol and I think a lot of people, including both of us, are probably looking forward to racing Sunday and getting last year out of everybody else’s minds and hopefully ours, too.” NASCAR RETURNS TO ROCKINGHAM IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. YOU WON THE LAST CUP RACE THERE. WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THAT PLACE? “There’s a lot of cool stuff about Rockingham for me. It was the site of our first Nationwide Series win, which was probably one of the most exciting races I’ve ever been part of in my whole career, so that was special for us. We wrapped up the championship at Rockingham that year and then we went the next spring, I believe it was the last race there, and we won the last race there. So there have been a lot of really cool things that have happened for us at Rockingham. It’s a great track. We started off and ran OK there and then we went through a period where we ran just horrible there, and I remember before the testing rules, we used to go test there every year and I remember going down there with Robbie (Reiser) and we’d bring 12 sets of tires or something and go through all of them in a day because the whole place was so worn out. We’d go there and test every single time and then finally I think in 2002 we won the spring race and we ran pretty good from there until they closed it down, but our first few trips there were somewhat of a struggle. But it was a fun track and one of the first tracks I actually went to and watched a Nationwide race. It looks so high-banked and fast, but it would get really slick like a little short track and it was really a fun and challenging track to drive.”