RICHMOND FORD FAST FACTS
. There are 11 Fords participating in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
. The famed Wood Brothers No. 21 is not entered this weekend, marking the first off-weekend for the team’s scheduled half season running schedule.
. Tony Raines (No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Ford) and Travis Kvapil (No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford) must qualify on speed.
. Ford has 28 all-time NSCS wins at Richmond.
. The last Ford NSCS win at RIR came in the 2005 fall race with Kurt Busch.
. Matt Kenseth is the last active Ford driver to win at RIR, capturing the checkered at the 2002 fall race after starting 25th.
. Ford owner Richard Petty holds numerous records at Richmond as a driver, including most wins (13), most poles (8), most top fives (34), most top-10’s (41)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, sits eighth in the current points standings, 43 points behind leader Carl Edwards. Kenseth, who again has been Mr. Consistency this season, is the last active Ford driver to win at Richmond, positing a victory in 2002. Kenseth, who won the first night race of the year at Texas, talked to media members Friday about his season and his hopes for the second night race of the year.
TALK ABOUT THIS WEEKEND AND THE PRESSURE OF IT BEING THE CROWN ROYAL SPONSORED WEEKEND. “They are all big races but certainly when your sponsor sponsors the weekend it is always a little more pressure but every race is a big race. Coming off our disaster at Talladega we certainly need to get some good finishing going again and try to work our way up in the points.”
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF ALL THESE TIRE CHANGES? “I have no idea. It is the same for all of us when we show up and I don’t know all the differences all the time. There are some tracks we have been to this year where maybe they missed it a little bit like Bristol where we had a different tire. They are always trying to make it better I think and make the racing better. I believe it is the same tire we ran at Phoenix so I don’t think it is that different. Weekends when you run good you are wishing you could run that tire more and weekends you don’t run well then you won’t want to run that tire.”
CAN TALK ABOUT YOUR WIN BACK HERE IN 2002? “That was an awful long time ago. The only thing I can really remember is that we kept plowing right front tires. We blew two of them and came back from being way behind. I remember that but I don’t remember much more about it than that. We obviously had a really good car. We ran really well here before we switched styles of race cars but ever since the new cars came out we have really struggled at these tracks, especially this is one of them where we have struggled. I used to think this was one of our best tracks before we switched cars. It seems like we have been gaining on it and getting a little better at it lately.”
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE SUCCESS OF THE NEW FR9 ENGINES AND DO THEY COME INTO PLAY MORE ON THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS OR THE SHORT TRACKS? “I think it comes into play everywhere. I don’t think you can have too much horsepower. They have done really good jobs with these engines and this is the first full year running them having a full off season to make them better. Doug Yates and that whole group over there have done a good job in the off season to improve what they had and make it more competitive with everybody else. I feel like they have done that and that is a big reason we have all been running better as a group. They really picked up the engine program with this new engine.”
HOW HAVE THE LAST COUPLE OF PRACTICES HELPED YOU SET EXPECTATIONS FOR TOMORROW? “The last practice was a little bit better. When you really don’t get on the track again except from qualifying you kind of go off what you felt like after your last practice and we hadn’t practiced very well. This one was a little better and we made some improvements and progress to get a little hope. It was looking grim after the first session. It wasn’t looking very good.”