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2013 Daytona 500 (Test) Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup Friday - Matt Kenseth
Posted by: newsla on Jan 11, 2013 - 05:34 PM
2013 Daytona 500 (Test) Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup Friday - Matt Kenseth

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What are your impressions of the new car here at Daytona?

"So far so good. Everything has been great. Our car had a lot of speed, it drives really good. Pretty uneventful day and a half so far."


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Do you expect manufacturers to think other manufacturers have an advantage with the new cars?

"I don't know. NASCAR has been really good for the last seven or eight years, it seems like, about not buying into that too much and making a lot of changes. Where there was a time where everybody would complain what manufacturer would win and they would give you more kick-out in the nose or give you something like that. I don't really anticipate that. Somebody asked me yesterday about Brad (Keselowski) saying that Toyota's have an advantage, which I have no idea how he would know that or think that this early since nobody has raced one of these cars yet. I don't really think so. I think they are matched pretty good. NASCAR keeps a pretty close eye on everything and the template tolerances and stuff are extremely close so I think everybody is going to be as close as ever."

Did you learn anything from drafting with your teammates yesterday?

"Sometime before we leave tomorrow hopefully we'll get a bigger pack out there. It would be nice to have at least 12 cars out there so you can move around a little bit and get more side-by-side situations with cars all around you. Really, with four cars out there it was really hard to learn a lot. I don't think I really learned a whole bunch. It seemed a little different than what we had last year, but like I said it was a pretty small group. We've got to get a little bigger group out there."

Where do you see the state of the sport right now?

"Man, you're asking the wrong guy that question. I don't know. I've had my plate pretty full this winter getting ready for my adventure this season. I don't know. I think the racing has been really good the last couple of years, especially obviously two years ago when the point battle ended up being basically tied at the end of the year. I thought a lot of good things happened last year. I think this car looks really great. It seems to drive really good. We did that Charlotte test a few weeks ago and here as well, so I think there's a lot of excitement with this new car. I think NASCAR really did a good job of involving the manufacturers and the teams and the fans as well and taking input from everybody and really thinking it through. When they designed this car I think they did a great job with that."

Have you experienced any differences between the way Roush operates compared to Joe Gibbs Racing?

"Yeah, a lot of differences, but everything has been really great. I don't think it could be any better. Obviously we haven't been to the race track and been racing yet and the results pretty much tell the story and we're a few months away from really seeing results. I've been extremely encouraged. I'm really optimistic about the season, really like my group and really like the way they do things over at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and the cars. Of course, Denny (Hamlin) and Kyle (Busch) -- there's not many people that win more races than those guys so I'm excited to work with them guys and learn from them guys and hopefully be able to contribute as well."

Have you learned anything about Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch since joining the team?

"No, not really. Charlotte was a really good test. Denny (Hamlin) was there and Kyle (Busch) wasn't at that test, so I got to work with Denny a little bit and drove his car. We went back and forth and got to talk a lot and look at a lot of data and do a lot of stuff. I think we both -- at least I learned a lot from that test. Kyle is going to be at the next Charlotte test and I'm looking forward to going there and running with him and talking to him and working with him about different things on the cars and changes and things like that. Daytona you can't really compare much at Daytona. There's not really a lot to talk about as far as car setups."

Have you learned anything about your teammates on a personal level?

"Nah. We haven't been out on a date or anything yet with either one of them so I haven't really learned anything on a personal level. Just been working on racing stuff. Probably can see the same stuff you guys can see, but other than that I haven't really learned anything on a personal level about them I didn't already know."

Have you noticed any differences between Toyota and Ford?

"I'm not going to compare stuff. I'm looking 100 percent forward and not looking back so it's not really fair to compare anything. But, I will say both tests so far my cars have been really fast. I really like how they drive. I really like how they react to change and been pretty encouraged with how everything has been going so far."

What have you learned about Jason Ratcliff in the short amount of time you've had to work with him?

"Just been getting to know Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) -- I have been on a couple of dates with Jason, but we both brought our wives -- but I have been getting to know him a lot more on a personal level and just trying to get to know each other a little bit as not just a driver crew chief relationship, but kind of build a relationship there so we know each other a little bit. I've really enjoyed that and again we haven't raced together yet, but I've really enjoyed getting to know him this winter and spend some time at the shop and spend some time at the track at Charlotte and here as well."

What has your relationship been like with the Roush guys this week?

"We've been on the opposite side of the garage so I haven't really ran into them guys this week too much. Just get the occasional wave when I drive by, but we've been on the total other side of the garage and I haven't been over there yet this week. My relationship has been good with them guys. I don't see any reason why that would change."

What is the one thing you've found a Joe Gibbs Racing that you wished you would've had in the past?

"I don't have any of that. Again, I'm looking forward and not backwards. I've been extremely blessed my whole career to have been in great situations and I've never wished for anything or regretted any moves I've made or things I've done or haven't done as far as racing goes. So, again, I'm just looking forward. Like I said, I'm really encouraged with everything I see. I'm really excited to get to the track and go race these guys and see how we stack up compared to everybody else."

Do you feel like you can win back-to-back Daytona 500's?

"Man, if I could predict that I'd be making a bunch of money in Vegas, that's for sure. These are always really unpredictable races. I remember you asking me the same question in '10 after we were fortunate enough to win it in '09. I don't know -- we're going to do everything we can just like you do every year. Show up down here and try to win the race. Like I said, it's always unpredictable. It's the biggest race of the year and there's a lot of effort that goes into these races and certainly plate racing is anything but predictable. Hopefully, we'll have cars like we did last year. Last year we had really, really fast cars and Greg (Biffle) and I were able to team up pretty much all four races and stay toward the front for all of those races. So, hopefully I'll have a car that runs like that again and can hang out up front somewhere and have a shot."

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