Through the remainder of the season, 2003 Nextel Cup champion Matt Kenseth will write a weekly diary and sit down with the AP auto racing writer Jenna Fryer for a Q&A about his life, on and off the track.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- I guess there's nothing really to talk about this week. Pretty much business as usual last weekend. Nothing too eventful at Dover.
If you would have told me last week that we would go to Dover and run out of gas, I'd probably have said we'd finish around 30th or worse. So the fact that we did run out of gas with two to go, and were still able to coast to pit road, get a splash of gas, and still finish 10th is remarkable.
We're very fortunate for sure.
It was frustrating and still is frustrating because we had the dominant car all day long on Sunday. When you have the dominant car, you need to win, and we didn't get that done. Yeah, we actually cut into the points lead a little, but just think if we could have held on for second: We would be about 30 points clear and in first place in the Chase.
I just hope that it doesn't come back to bite us, but I can't help but feel frustrated with all of those points we left on the table.
I was happy that Jeff Burton won. If I couldn't win, there's honestly no one else I'd rather see win than Jeff. He's a good friend and a great person. I was using a lot of racetrack when we were racing there at the end, but he finally got the bottom groove to work and made the clean pass. He's a great driver and I know that win will mean a lot to him and he deserves it.
One last bright note, because I feel like I'm being too negative -- I'm still extremely pleased with how our cars have been running. Robbie (Reiser, the crew chief) has this team operating at a championship level and the pit stops continue to be fantastic.
We just didn't get it done as a team on Sunday. And if you race long enough, things like that will happen. We're going to Kansas this week where we've had some success in the past, and hopefully we'll bounce back in a big way this weekend.
That was a tough loss, and you were pretty hard on Robbie after the race for not pitting for gas. How long does that stuff stay with you? And how do you handle it with Robbie once you've calmed down?
Well, I don't think I was really hard on Robbie that much. It was dumb not to pit, it cost us and we can't do those things if we want to win a championship. So I was a little hard on all of us. And when I make a mistake, I am hard on me and admit that I screwed up.
It was tough to take that we gave it away. And after I calmed down, I apologized to Robbie. But Robbie has a way of not letting things go too quick, he doesn't move on too fast. So I said what I had to say and just moved on. That's all you can do, is move on and let it go. It wasn't the smartest move we've made as a group. Now we've gotta be smart enough to move on.
Great moment after the race when you stopped your car next to Jeff Burton to congratulate him. A lot of other drivers visited him in Victory Lane. I know he's a former teammate of yours, but why the widespread love for Jeff?
I think Jeff is well respected, he's a great driver and he had been in a little bit of a slump the past few years. It doesn't seem like it had been five years since he won, but it was and that's a long time. Obviously, he's proven himself as a championship contender before, and he had 17 career wins. So when somebody goes through that kind of slump, everybody is happy for him.
I think the drivers are a pretty close-knit community, so when people say a guy can't drive anymore and it's someone as respected as Jeff as, we all want to see him win again. When he does it makes all of us happy.
You're big into aviation, and I know that the track is near the Dover Air Force base. Did you get a chance to stop over there? Check out any of the planes?
I got to go to the Air Force base, and signed some autographs and hung out with a lot of those guys. Then I got to see a C-5, which they say is the biggest airplane in the world. I don't know for sure if that is true, but it is the biggest military airplane. So I got to see the flight deck, and see the things they do for moving a lot of equipment and a lot of people. It's really big when there is no cargo in there. The guys told me they can play football down there in the bottom.
Dover also has a casino on track property. Did you lighten your wallet at all last weekend?
I went and donated a little bit. It was my annual donation and I gave most of it up on one machine. But then (wife) Katie went in there and won it all back, so as a group we left even. But my wallet was light and her purse was full. I can't tell you how much.
Last but not least, big win for your Packers last weekend. Was your fantasy football team as lucky?
Yeah, it was great the Packers won. Brett Favre looked really sharp, the offense looked really sharp, and Favre threw his 400th touchdown pass and that's just a huge milestone. I think he is more about wins and losses, but it was still great to see him get it. And he threw it to Greg Jennings, who is my receiver in fantasy, so that was great for me, and it helped me get to 3-0 in fantasy this year. So it was all around a great football weekend.