Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth was made available to the media at Texas Motor Speedway:
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 DeWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you looking forward to this weekend’s events at Texas?
“I’d say recent history we haven’t run great here, but Kyle (Busch) won in the Spring and we ran fourth or fifth and had something happen on a pit stop or something and ended up a little bit farther towards the back. It’s been a good track. I always like coming to Texas. We had a good race last weekend and ran competitive and I thought we had a good enough car to win and things didn’t work out for us. Hopefully we will have that speed this weekend and we can be somewhere in the mix. If we don’t get a win, hopefully we can get a good finish and stay alive.”
What’s the teamwork like at JGR?
“I think our teamwork at Joe Gibbs Racing is second to none. I’ve had a lot of great teammates, none any better than what I have now, that’s for sure. Everybody is really, really competitive and wants to win. Our goal was to have four cars at Homestead and now there’s only three spots left. Every week we talk about what we can do to help each other, and make things better but we also realize when they drop the green on Sunday, it’s one against 39 and have to get the best finish we can for our respective teams.”
Is it difficult to balance being a good teammate and wanting to win for yourself and your team?
“It’s not very hard. I think being a good teammate is working as hard as you can during the week, working hard during practice sharing what you learn throughout practice – sharing information on the car and trying to help each other. We all rely on that on Sundays. That’s what this sport was built on – one guy racing against the others and trying to win. I think we all realize that and the world is changing, too. Organizations are big and everyone has different affiliations. You heard Kyle (Larson) wanting another Chevy driver to win, so obviously it’s a lot different than what it was even 15 or 20 years ago. It’s way different from what it was then.”
Does this Chase format make it difficult to manage teammate relationships?
“The format has brought up certainly a lot of different scenarios. It’s not as cut and dry as probably when it first came out when everyone thought it was just about winning. There’s things that go on and lots of moving pieces. I think there’s a lot of huge benefits to having good teammates and talented teammates and crew chiefs and all that stuff. The only downfall you can find of it is it’s hard to beat them when they are in the same stuff. I reap the benefits every day of having great teammates and crew chiefs and competitive cars.”
What does Toyota/TRD do for your team?
“TRD (Toyota Racing Development) has a lot of support and is responsible for certainly a lot of our success with engines, chassis development, aero to everything. They are a huge part of it.”
Was there a special JGR meeting this week for the drivers?
“Well if it was drivers only, I don’t know who reported it. It wasn’t me. We have meetings every Tuesday and we have meetings, depending on the race weekend when we’re done with final practice. We all get together a lot and we communicate besides that at separate times. We have meetings.”
Are there similarities between Kansas and Texas?
“I have no idea and I have no idea. I don’t know what car we brought. I’d say – I don’t know if we were dominant at Kansas. I think the first 150 miles we were really, really good and the track kind of changed on us a little bit and some guys got better – certainly the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and a couple other guys got by us there and we got off a little bit. Like you brought to my attention and reminded me we got into the wall and that didn’t help. The race track is a lot different than Kansas, setups are very similar to be honest with you. They are both a mile-and-a-half and that’s where the similarities end.”