Tag:Matt Kenseth
Posted on: February 18, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Kenseth has 500 drafting plans set

Matt Kenseth met the media Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway

CAN YOU TELL US HOW THINGS HAVE GONE FOR YOU SO FAR LEADING UP TO SUNDAY?

“It has gone alright. Saturday was disappointing because we didn’t get in the right place and had a disappointing finish. Yesterday was good. I think that was the best finish we have had in a 150. We were in position to have a shot at the win and the late caution took us out to fourth. I was happy with that. The car is in one piece and we had good speed and worked out most of the things that we could work out with the way the track is and the rules and all. Everything seemed to be going pretty good and it has been pretty smooth so far.”

 

CAN YOU PUT INTO WORDS WHAT IT WAS LIKE COMING BACK TO DAYTONA THE YEAR AFTER YOU WON IT?

“It was fun. We came down a little early and did some media stuff which was fun because when we came back last year, well it has been almost two years since we won a race now, we are kind of on a dry spell. It was fun to come back and be the defending champion. You got to think about the year before and it put me in a better mood for the season. It is fun whenever you can win a race, especially one as big as the Daytona 500. The sport is still more of a what have you done for me lately deal. It is more about what we can do today and tomorrow and down the road.”

 

YESTERDAY YOU WERE ABLE TO DRAFT FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. WHAT IS THAT ATTRIBUTED TO IN YOUR MIND?

“I don’t think our stuff is any different or we have any advantage over anybody necessarily. There are probably a few circumstances where I got some air in there and kept it kind of cool or maybe didn’t take care of that engine as much as I would the 500 engine because I knew we were going to change engines anyway and I didn’t care if it got overheated. It was more important to me to keep our car in position and get a decent starting spot for Sunday. I didn’t want to be in the back and get wrecked. I wasn’t as careful with it as I should have been. I don’t know how you get away from two car drafts, whether they are good, bad or indifferent. You kind of knew it was going to be that way since the last Talladega race and Jeff Burton and I got in front and kept swapping positions until we finally couldn’t get back together for whatever happened there. That is the way the ending the last couple of races there have been. You knew when they paved this place that handling wasn’t going to matter for a lot of years. With these cars and the way they are set up, two cars pushing each other is faster than a big group of cars and that is what everybody is going to try to figure out how to do.”

 

AS A DRIVER, CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE IN THE PAVEMENT FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR?

“It is totally different. The old pavement was like driving down a gravel road and the new pavement is like driving down a freshly paved road with your street car. It is really that extreme. With the old pavement you could run wide open for five to 12 laps and then you had to start letting off the gas and it was almost like a plate race for 5 or 10 laps and a big track race after that where you had to start hitting marks exactly right. Toward the end of the run a lot of people would be lifting and you could pass by yourself. It was a lot different race. There is so much grip right now and they are so good at making asphalt now so I think it will be like that for a long time. Handling is such a non issue that you can run 210 or 215 at least before you have to start getting off the gas. It is going to be more of a Talladega style race.”

 

CAN YOU TELL IF THE MOMENTUM ROUSH FENWAY HAD THE SECOND HALF OF LAST SEASON HAS CARRIED OVER TO THIS YEAR?

“I think you have to at least get through Phoenix, Las Vegas and probably a couple races further than that down the road to really see where you are at compared to your competition. I do feel like we are prepared for Daytona. Although qualifying was disappointing, it seemed like we had good speed out there. I don’t think that will matter a whole lot because of the draft, but I would still rather have a fast car than a slow one. People will want to hook up with you more if you are fast. At the end of last year we got much stronger and finished the season on a good note with Carl winning a couple races and Greg winning a couple races. We were more competitive toward the end of the year even though we didn’t win, so that has our hopes up for this year.”

 

HOW DID YOU GUYS ARRIVE AT YOUR PRACTICE DECISIONS FOR TODAY?

“We didn’t, Jimmy did. Basically we just changed engines today and put a couple laps on our 500 engine to make sure there were no vibrations or oil leaks or anything. Tomorrow we will practice a little bit to make sure the cooling system and everything is okay. Try to draft just a little bit. We did the tire test for two days and the other test for three days and with the amount of grip you have here, there are no handling issues to work on. Once you get the car trimmed out and the platform right and the aero and all that stuff, there is really not a lot to work on. The rules are pretty tight and they don’t allow you to work on much, so there isn’t much reason to put a bunch of laps in practice. I don’t think a big group is going to win the race, so I don’t think you want to go out there and get behind 15 cars to see how your car reacts. Maybe you want to push and look for a car your car reacts well with and go out there and race.”

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK NASCAR COULD HAVE DONE TO PREVENT THIS TYPE OF RACING AND DO YOU THINK NASCAR MIGHT CHANGE ANYTHING BEFORE TALLADEGA?

“First of all I don’t know that it is a bad thing. We had a really good finish to the shootout. It is just different. Once they paved it, we knew this is how it would be like. I guess if they don’t like the product and want to change it I don’t know what they would be. I guess you would have to go test stuff at Talladega to see. I don’t know that there is a lot more they can do this week to get a big group together, although I will say that in the second 150 there was a bigger group and the cars got shuffled and didn’t lose a couple spots, they lost eight or 10 spots. I think when you get twice as many cars out there; the potential is there to have a lot bigger pack and more jockeying for position. I think you will get some groups in the front that get locked up, but I think you will have a lot more action and a bigger pack.

 

WAS THERE ANY DROP OFF IN TIRES YESTERDAY AND HOW FAR DO YOU THINK YOU CAN RUN ON THEM?

“I think you could run the whole race on one set of tires with absolutely zero issues. There have been no tire issues at all. I think people will get tires just because if you are getting 16 or 18 or 14 second of fuel, or you get a yellow then you might as well put tires on. I think that honestly you could go the whole 500 miles on one set of tires because we didn’t see any wear at all.”

 

NASCAR HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT IN TERMS OF TV RATINGS AND LENGTH OF RACES. WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN THIS RACE ON SUNDAY TO REVERSE THAT TALK?

“How do I answer this one?  I think the product is pretty good. Last year I think was the closest Chase in history and there were a lot of really exciting races. Texas comes to mind. There was a fight and a guy flipping off an official and two lead changes in the last two laps. There was a little bit of everything. I think the product has been really good. As far as being picked apart, you guys do that. The media writes the stories. I know you guys don’t create TV ratings and attendance numbers, but you guys do that more than we do and that is your job. I think that last year the racing was pretty good and pretty competitive. The Chase was competitive right down to the end. I know we have a different point system this year, but I thought last year was good with different winners. Denny dominated most the season and Jimmy came on at the end and won again. I thought that was pretty exciting.”

 

HOW IS KATIE DOING AND TO WHAT DEGREE HAS THE IMPENDING BIRTH AFFECTED YOUR SPEEDWEEKS?

“She is doing pretty good. I am probably doing better than she is, but she is doing alright. It hasn’t affected me yet. I told her to wait until Monday and she always listens to me, so I am not too worried about it. I hope it will be next week.  I am not a woman, but I would assume when you get to the end of a pregnancy that you are ready for it to be over. Hopefully that happens next week when we are getting ready to go to Phoenix.”

 

 

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Kenseth has back-up drivers ready

Posted By Pete Pistone

Matt Kenseth and Roush Fenway Racing have a line-up of drivers ready to fill-in should he be called away for fatherhood duties in the next few weeks.

From Team Release

CONCORD, NC (February 4, 2010) --- With the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season set to return to action at Daytona International Speedway next week, Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth and his wife Katie are expecting great things for the month of February with the addition of a new baby.  The Kenseths expect to welcome the latest addition to the family by the end of the month, and Roush Fenway Racing will look to two drivers to be on-call in case Kenseth needs to travel home to be with his family. 

Kenny Wallace and Brian Ickler will be ready to jump in to the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford for any practice and qualifying needs the team may have.  Wallace will be ready to assume driving duties throughout Daytona International Speedway’s Speedweeks events, while Ickler will be at the track for both Phoenix and Las Vegas race weekends.

Kenseth plans to be behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ford on race days, but depending on when the newest member of the family arrives, he may need assistance from Wallace and/or Ickler to practice the car for the team.

Kenseth and his No. 17 Crown Royal team will have their first practice session of the season on Friday, February 11<sup>th</sup> for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. 


 

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:55 pm
 

Wallace on standby for Kenseth

Posted By Pete Pistone

Kenny Wallace will be Matt Kenseth's replacement driver should he be called away for fatherhood duties during "Speedweeks" activities in Daytona.

Wallace told Sirius NASCAR Radio he has been tabbed to replace Kenseth during Bud Shootout, Gatorade Duel or Daytona 500 action should Katie Kenseth go into labor with the couple's second child.

Roush Fenway Racing General Manager Robbie Reiser contacted Wallace Monday evening to put the plan in place.

Wallace is planning to run the full Nationwide Series schedule for RAB Racing in 2011.
Posted on: June 25, 2010 6:09 pm
 

Fennig, Roush, Kenseth discuss changes

Jimmy Fennig was named crew chief of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion on Tuesday by owner Jack Roush.  Fennig, along with Roush and driver Matt Kenseth, spoke about the change today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Read the transcript below or listen to the audio.

Jack Roush and Matt Kenseth press conference (6 minutes, 12 seconds)



JIMMY FENNIG, Crew Chief – No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion –

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING BACK WITH MATT?  “Jack made the decision on Tuesday that he wanted to pair me up with Matt and, of course, Matt and I worked together on a Nationwide car a few years ago.  I think we’ve got a good relationship, so we’ll see what happens but I’m looking forward to being with him again.” 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN OR IDENTIFIED FROM YOUR R&D POSITION AS AN AREA YOU CAN IMPROVE AS CREW CHIEF?  “I don’t know.  The team is solid.  I thought Todd Parrott and Cully Barraclough and everybody did a good job, but maybe the direction I was heading in R&D will help turn things around.  We might try some of that stuff with Matt and see how it goes, but everybody is working hard and now we’ve just got to do all we can to make sure we get in the chase and then contend for a championship.”

WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THIS MOVE?  “Yeah, I was surprised because I was enjoying R&D (laughing).”

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion –


HOW WAS PRACTICE?  “We came with a couple of different things.  We tried to organize for kinematics on the front suspension and hoped that we would find a solution to the worst problem we’ve had all year, which is getting the cars to turn in the middle of the corner. I haven’t been debriefed by each driver or crew chief, but, by all appearances, we’ve still got some of the same problem.  There has not been an immediate solution.  The balance that you always have on Friday is how much time do you spend on qualifying and how much time do you spend on race practice?  I’m not absolutely sure what the strategies were for each crew chief and each driver, but we’ll have good mileage and we’ll have our cars that will handle better than they handled today when we get through with practice tomorrow.  Loudon has been very good to us over a period of time.  We’ve had some great success here and always enjoy coming here to the northeast and being in this community.” 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CREW CHIEF CHANGE THIS WEEK?  “We’re blessed at Roush Fenway with a lot of very able and talented people with years and years and decades and decades of experience.  We’re continually working for and looking for the best chemistry between driver and crew chief, and the best relationship between a crew chief and his team – the same as a crew chief needs to reach and get all the energy that’s in the driver and give the driver everything that he recognizes that he needs and sometimes the things he doesn’t recognize he needs.

That’s a crew chief’s job to be perceptive on that and to reconcile it.  If you had said, ‘What was the reason we made the crew chief change on the 17 this week,’ I guess there were two reasons for it.

We weren’t getting the number of changes in a practice session that we thought we needed.  We were a little slow in the garage area. I don’t fault the guys for that, but the direction and the plan may not have been as well-defined or understood.  We had difficulty getting through tech at Sears Point, from the number of times we had to go around for things that were found not to be the way NASCAR wanted them.  Some thought we might not be able to qualify.  As it turned out, Matt had a flat tire and ran over something on the race track.  That caused one of his rear tires to lose a substantial part of their air, and that’s the reason we didn’t qualify well.  But what preceded that was the difficulty we had getting through the tech line and, as it turned out – except for Matt stepping in and begging forgiveness – we may not have been able to have gotten our car in the qualifying line in time to make the five-minute clock deadline.  So the combination of the plan not working as well as it needed to with the team, and the strategies not working as well as they had in the first few races with Todd resulted in our making the decision that the team wasn’t where it needed to be.

Jimmy Fennig, coming off a real productive test program for the race tracks we can go to, which are naturally not NASCAR tracks, but Jimmy was current on a lot of the cutting-edge thinking that we’ve had.  Jimmy is a great leader and we thought we’d pass the baton to Jimmy’s hand and let him see what he could do to help Matt.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion –

HOW WAS PRACTICE?  “We didn’t run real great today.  Last year, this was probably one of our weakest tracks.  We struggled at these tracks, but this year has been a little better.  Phoenix, I think, was better for us and Richmond was a little better for us.  We were just trying some things today.  We went through a lot of stuff in race practice trying to hopefully get a direction for tomorrow.  We seem to be off on speed quite a bit in qualifying trim, so we’re getting ready to try and make some changes and, hopefully, get it a little better for this afternoon.” 

IS IT FAIR TO SAY YOU AREN’T GOING TO BE SATISFIED UNTIL ROBBIE REISER IS BACK ON THE BOX?  “No, that’s not fair to say.
Robbie had a chance to come back and do it, but the problem is Robbie wants to do everything, so he didn’t want to leave his post at the front office.  There’s a lot more going on and a lot more important things in Roush Fenway Racing than just one team.  It’s about the whole organization as well, so there’s no way you can do both.  I think he probably would have came and filled in for the rest of the year if he could try to do both, but there just are not enough hours in a day.  No, that’s not really true.  It does seem like I’m pretty hard on crew chiefs lately, that’s for sure, but we’ve just had some opportunities within the organization.  Jack has a lot of quality people working in R&D and the speedway department and other places – championship-winning crew chiefs like Todd and Jimmy – and we just had some opportunities to mix things up a little bit and see if we can get the team heading in the direction we think it needs to be headed in.”




Posted on: June 23, 2010 10:39 am
Edited on: June 23, 2010 10:56 am
 

Fennig replaces Parrott as Kenseth's crew chief


Roush Fenway Racing has named Jimmy Fennig as the crew chief for Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Ford, replacing Todd Parrott. The move pairs Kenseth -- who drove Roush Fenway to its first Sprint Cup Championship in 2003 -- with Fennig, who served as crew chief for Kurt Busch on Roush Fenway’s 2004 championship team.
 
“I am very pleased that we have been able to place these two together on the No. 17,” said team owner Jack Roush. “These guys were both instrumental in our back-to-back Sprint Cup Championships in 2003 and 2004, with Matt driving us to our first Cup Championship and Jimmy of course being instrumental in the 2004 championship as the team’s crew chief. We would expect this pairing to yield strong results as both of these guys are extremely talented and among the best in the business at what they do.”
 
Fennig, who has 27 Cup wins as a crew chief, will be joined on the No. 17 by car chief Richie Davis. Davis had been working in Roush Fenway’s research and development department along side Fennig. Parrott, who had been working as crew chief on the No. 17, will serve as the new R&D manager at Roush Fenway; a position formally held by Fennig. Current No. 17 car chief Charles “Cully” Barraclough will also move over to car chief the R&D program.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise as Kenseth seemeed to be communicating well with Parrott, his third crew chief this season and fourth since Robbie Reiser was promoted after the 2007 season.

Chip Bolin worked as Kenseth's crew chief in 2008, but after Kenseth went through the season winless for the first time since 2001, he was replaced by Drew Blickensderfer. That pairing actually won their first two races together -- the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway -- to start the 2009 season, but Kenseth would earn just 12 tops, his fewest since 2001, and missed the Chase for the first time in his career.

Nevertheless, Blickensderfer started this season as Kenseth's crew chief, but was replaced by Parrott after an eighth place finish in the Daytona 500. Parrott and Kenseth had five top 10s in their first six races together, but have been struggling a bit more of late with just two top 10s in the past nine races.

Kenseth has worked with Fennig previously. In 2006 the pair racked up four poles, three wins, 15 top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 21 starts in the Nationwide Series.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Matt Kenseth
 
Posted on: February 17, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Todd Parrott takes over as Kenseth's crew chief

Just one race into the season, Roush Fenway Racing has decided to replace Drew Blickensderfer as Matt Kenseth's crew chief. Effective immediately, veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will take over the calls for the No. 17 car.

Parrott helped Dale Jarrett caputure the Cup championship in 1999 for Robert Yates Racing, with whom he has spent a majority of his career.

Blickensderfer actually won his first two races as Kenseth's crew chief -- the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway -- to start the 2009 season, but Kenseth would earn just 12 tops, his fewest since 2001, and missed the Chase for the first time in his career.

Kenseth finish eighth in Sunday's Daytona 500, but wasn't exactly pleased with his performance.

“I’m happy with the result, but wasn’t very happy with our weekend overall," Kenseth said. "We started the day way, way off and it was just a battle the whole time.  We got lucky.” 

“We ran about 25th or 30th all day, so all of those green-white-checkers helped us and gave us an opportunity to make some moves there at the end and kind of go crazy.  I just got a run down the back and was able to get three or four-wide up against the wall, and I got some help.  I got my momentum up there and got lucky to get a few spots.  We didn’t race our way to eighth and didn’t really deserve eighth.  I just got lucky.”

“I’m happy with the result, but wasn’t very happy with our weekend overall," Kenseth said. "We started the day way, way off and it was just a battle the whole time.  We got lucky.” 

“We ran about 25th or 30th all day, so all of those green-white-checkers helped us and gave us an opportunity to make some moves there at the end and kind of go crazy.  I just got a run down the back and was able to get three or four-wide up against the wall, and I got some help.  I got my momentum up there and got lucky to get a few spots.  We didn’t race our way to eighth and didn’t really deserve eighth.  I just got lucky.”

Robbie Reiser had served as Kenseth's crew chief for his entire career through 2007, when he was promoted to a general manager's role at Roush Fenway Racing.

Chip Bolin worked as Kenseth's crew chief in 2008, but Kenseth's performance tapered off greatly from the Reiser era as he went winless for the first time since 2001.





Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Matt Kenseth
 
 
 
 
 
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