FORD FAST FACTS:
. Ford Racing has 26 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Martinsville Speedway, but none since Kurt Busch won the Old Dominion 500 in 2002 (16 races ago).
. No current Ford Racing driver has a NSCS win at Martinsville.
. This marks the first race in which the 2011 point standings are being used to determine automatic qualifiers and two Fords will have to make the race on time. The Front Row Motorsports duo of Tony Raines (38th) and Travis Kvapil (39th) are both outside the top 35.
. Ford leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with Carl Edwards on top by nine points over second-place Ryan Newman.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, cracked the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after last week’s fourth-place run at California. Kenseth spoke about this weekend’s event before Friday’s first practice session at Martinsville Speedway.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE COMPETITIVE HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? “I don’t know. This is probably one of my worst place. I’m probably the wrong guy to ask about that, but I think you’ve got to have a car that turns good and still drives off the corner without spinning the tires, and then you have to try to be patient and smart and be there at the end.”
WHERE DO YOU FEEL ROUSH FENWAY IS RIGHT NOW AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? “I think we improved all season last year and it seems like this season started off pretty strong. It seems like all of our stuff is pretty competitive most weeks when we show up at the track.”
HOW MUCH INFORMATION DO YOU GUYS SHARE WITHIN THE TEAM? “Within our own teams, we share all of it. It’s been quite a while since we’ve been doing it that way.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAVING FIVE DIFFERENT WINNERS IN THE FIRST FIVE RACES OF THIS YEAR? “It doesn’t really surprise me. Daytona, you never know what’s gonna happen. That’s really anybody’s race with the way that plays out, and the four races since then nothing has really shocked me. You know it’s competitive. It’s been getting more and more competitive all the time. All of the cars are closer to the same speed than they probably ever have been and there are a lot of great teams out there.”
HAS THE NEW POINT SYSTEM CHANGED ANYTHING AS FAR AS HOW GUYS RACE? “I don’t think it’s changed how anybody races at all. I want to finish as high as I can every week, whether there’s a million points or no points to win. You always want to do your best and be the best you can be every week. I don’t think it changes any of that, but, certainly, I think it should be interesting with the two extra cars coming in on wins toward the end before Richmond, and the big penalty you have for finishing in the back. The percentage to finish last is so much greater than it ever has been before. If you have a few bad finishes, you really need to start thinking about that win total just to get in.”