Toyota Racing – Matt Kenseth
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Dover International Speedway – June 2, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth was made available to the media at Dover International Speedway:
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 ToyotaCare Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How does it feel to come back to Dover International Speedway as the defending race winner?
“Yeah, I’ve always liked this track. It’s always been one of my favorites. It’s a very unique layout. There’s not really another track like it on the circuit, so it’s a fun track to come to. Typically, we’ve ran fairly decent here, so it’s nice getting a decent run last weekend and hopefully we can perform well this weekend.”
Do you feel like Joe Gibbs Racing is ready to win?
“Well, I hope so. I think especially Kyle’s (Busch) been in position to win a few races and they haven’t worked out for him, but he’s been in that spot. Obviously, Martin’s (Truex Jr.) been real fast and has some wins, so I hope so. I feel like even though it doesn’t seem like it, I feel like with this tire and for whatever reason Charlotte and Dover have been very similar lately as far as passing and track positon and the way the tire acts and some of that stuff, so hopefully we’ll perform well this weekend and get qualified well this afternoon and be able to keep that track position and maybe we’ll get our car just a little bit better at the end so we can hopefully try to run for a win.”
Do the wins by drivers outside the top-16 overall add pressure to the drivers in the top-16 without wins?
“Yeah, I mean certainly whenever you get some – a few different winners that maybe didn’t win last year that you weren’t expecting there and typically in the mix for wins – obviously those all use up spots. So I have not paid a lot of attention to the points, honestly. It’s kind of confusing for me at times, so I haven’t really looked at it that close, but I do realize that we have three of four DNFs and haven’t really had a great year, so I realize we’re probably not very far up in the points from where we park every week, so we need that win. I mean, I feel like we have a great race team and hasn’t been a great start to the season and we’re already in June, but yet there’s a still a lot of time left if we have some runs like last week and stay up front through all those stages and all those things to gain some points, but more importantly hopefully get some wins before September.”
What was you assessment of the traction compound used last week and should it continue being used?
“Yeah, I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s hard for me know what the track totally would have been like without any changes because from what I understand they sprayed the bottom before the All-Star Race for some reason and then sprayed the top before the 600, so I don’t know. I did think that the track did widen out some. It seemed like the middle groove was the best groove most the day. I kept my track position most the day, so I never really got passed a lot and I really didn’t pass a lot of cars, so it would probably be a better question for maybe somebody like Denny (Hamlin), who finished well and had a speeding penalty and had to come from the back or something. I just never really – it was one of those odd days for us pretty much the whole day in that I really didn’t do a whole lot of passing, so it’s hard to say. I think it’s good they’re always looking for ways to improve the passing and for whatever reason – I just don’t really know why – Charlotte historically the last three of four years has just been the hardest track we go to to pass on. This place and Charlotte – I don’t know why that is, but you just get really aero tight there it seems like no matter what they do with aero package, so I think anything they can do to try improve that and give you more options is always good.”
Did the Toyotas land on something new in the last couple weeks that has made you all run better?
“Yeah, if I had that answer, I’d for sure say in the media center – for sure because nobody would ever read or watch it. No, not really. I think it’s the same as every year – you’re always working to get better. It feels like every season for the last few years at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) we’ve had some fairly major changes. Add another team again this year really with the 77 (Erik Jones), so I think just kind of getting caught up, but yet the 78’s (Martin Truex Jr.) been running really good. I mean, won Vegas, which I think was the second or third or fourth race of the year or something like that, so I mean the cars have had speed in them. We just I think have been slowly getting them better and last week was only one week. Obviously, we’ve got to continue on that and show we’re capable of winning every week.”