Ford Talladega Friday (Kenseth)

TALLADEGA FORD FAST FACTS:
•        There are 12 Fords entered in Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500.
•        Ford won this race a year ago when Jamie McMurray went to Victory Lane with Roush Fenway Racing.
•        Bill Elliott is the only current Ford driver with a NSCS win at Talladega.
•        Elliott is driving the No. 26 Air National Guard Fusion this weekend.
•        Ford has 18 all-time NSCS wins at Talladega.

        Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, comes
into this weekend 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings
after gaining one spot at Martinsville.  He spoke about this weekend
prior to practice.

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – WHAT’S YOUR GAMEPLAN
HERE?  LAYBACK OR  MIX IT UP AND RACE ALL DAY?  “A lot of it depends
on where you qualify and what the race feels like once you get going.
Really, I think from the beginning of the year to right now the racing
has changed drastically overall with the cautions.  We used to get a
lot of debris cautions and other cautions that bunched up a lot of
restarts and a lot of green-white-checkers, but lately we haven’t had
that.  Even at the end of Martinsville there were cars blowing up and
trying to get to pit road and we kept racing all the way to the end.
I think you need to keep that in mind and think about that here.  It’s
happened before here, and even though I don’t think it will, but you
could go flag to flag without having a caution. You need to keep the
draft the whole time and not lose that front draft, so I think I’m
just gonna go race and see what happens from there.” 

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THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT TEAMMATES AND MAYBE TRYING TO PUT A BARRIER AROUND JIMMIE JOHNSON TO KEEP HIM SAFE?  CAN YOU DO THAT KIND OF THING?  “You
just don’t know what’s gonna happen.  One year we were here and I
think Tony ended up winning, but we were running second to Tony while
Greg and Carl hung back the whole time.  Carl kept pushing Greg
through the middle of the corner and Greg ended up wrecking and
wrecking us with it and we were running second.  I thought you
couldn’t be in a safer place because I was running second behind Tony
and my two teammates were coming up on the outside with 10 to go.  So
it’s just really unpredictable because you don’t know what’s going to
happen.  You can have the best of intentions and you can have all
kinds of plans, you’re gonna want to draft with your teammates, but at
the end of the day whatever position you’re in you need to try and
make that work because you might be trying for something and it just
doesn’t work out.  Sometimes when you try too hard to force it bad
things happen.”  ONE THIRD OF THE GUYS ENTERED HAVE GOTTEN UPSIDE-DOWN
HERE AND THE LAST THREE RACES 40 PERCENT OF THE GUYS RUNNING GET
WRECKED.  AT WHAT POINT DO THOSE NUMBERS NOT BECOME ACCEPTABLE?
“Whenever we come here, especially, I’ve been doing this for a while,
I don’t know if this is my 10th or 11th year here, and there have been
some lulls, a year or two where people don’t talk about it much, but
every year you basically have the same conversation after the big
wreck.  The people that are in the wreck are upset as they should be,
and you starting thinking about, ‘Man, somebody could have got hurt.’
People leave here upset because a lot of times you get in a crash and
more times than not it’s not your fault, it’s one or two guys that
make a mistake or don’t know where somebody is at and take out 10-15
cars.  It’s just the kind of racing that is and you have to deal with
it the best you can.  You have to try to be in a position not to be in
that wreck and hope everybody is okay after it’s all said and done and
get ready to try to do it again.”  WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR YOUR FAMILY
MEMBERS WHEN YOU COME HERE?  DO YOU TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT?  “We really
haven’t.  I think everybody is different and everybody has their own
beliefs and theories about things.  I don’t really sit around worrying
about that and Katie really doesn’t either.  I think things are mapped
out for you and when it’s your day, it’s your day.  We go out and try
to do the best we can, try to make our cars as safe as we can, and
it’s not something you really think about when you’re driving.  If it
does get to that point and you’re thinking about it while you’re
driving or before you (get in the car), then you probably need to
start thinking about doing something else.”

IS THERE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BECAUSE
OF THE NEW CAR?  “Not for me.  It’s nice that we’ve been through a
pretty good period without any serious injuries.  That’s nice.  We
went through a horrible period for a few years where we had some fatal
injuries and some people injured pretty seriously.   We went through
that, so it’s nice that things have been better lately.  One thing
you’ve really got to commend NASCAR for is they’ve spent a lot of
their own time, money and resources to make that happen for us and
they continue to do that.  They’re not standing still.  They’re always
looking to try to make the tracks, the cars, pit road, everything
safer each week.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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