Following a disappointing run at Michigan International Speedway, Matt Kenseth is looking to turn the tide for the better, so there is no doubt that he is excited about heading into Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.
“The last few races we’ve had really fast cars here,” he commented. “We were fortunate enough to win one of them and wrecked in the other two. So, I’m hoping this is our turn to win one because it’s been every other race. I like racing here. It’s always really challenging. Really, really fast with this car and these rules. So, I’m looking forward to getting out there today and hopefully getting it to where we need to handle for tomorrow and hopefully getting qualified good because that’s always an advantage here as well.”
If Kenseth is able to reach victory lane, it’ll mean more than just another victory at Bristol as he has yet to win a race this year, despite winning six races last year en route to finishing second in points to Jimmie Johnson. The year hasn’t gone as the 2003 Champion would’ve hoped in the form of struggle throughout the first half of the year. However, Kenseth has turned the tide, posting top-five finishes – unless he is taken out by misfortune. As a result, he currently sits sixth in points.
“It’s been an interesting year,” Kenseth said. “We started off I felt like really solid and then I feel like our performance has got steadily better but we’ve just been caught up in a lot of stuff. Some of it I guess is your own doing and if you were running better you wouldn’t be caught up in it. You can always look at that. Speedway wrecks — last week the 10 (Danica Patrick) car spun out there in front of us and we got caught up in that wreck. Just been caught in a lot of stuff that’s really cost us a lot of good finishes and even though they’re not all DNF’s on the stat sheet there’s a lot of races that we weren’t running competitively at the end because we’ve been in accidents.
“So, to still be where we are in the points I guess is a good thing with all of the trouble that we’ve had but certainly we want to go win but you can only do the best you can.”
The points would put Kenseth in a position to be in the Chase, but a win would lock him in and erase the worry away.
“I never feel like you’re a lock for anything until you’re really a lock for something. Until it’s mathematically impossible to be out,” Kenseth commented. “I never feel like you’re in. We want to win. We’ve been doing the best we can do every week. Obviously with the season we had last year I didn’t think we’d be sitting here at the end of August without a win for sure. But, like I said, we’re doing everything we can do. We’re doing the best we can.”
The opportunity for Kenseth is high as he has visited Bristol’s victory lane on three different occasions, and has posted four top-fives in his past seven starts.
“I’ve always liked this track. It’s changed a lot through the years, not just with the configuration change but with the car changes as well,” Kenseth expressed. “I think we have what it takes right now to run good and have a shot to win and be competitive is way different than it was before this car and before the configuration and all that kind of stuff. So, like everywhere, it changes. Last year I felt like we had a pretty good setup for the track and we were fast both races and in the spring it was pretty fast as well and again got caught up in a wreck — slowed up for a wreck and got ran over from behind and that kind of ruined our day.
“It’s like most tracks, I think it if you have a good setup for it that’s the first thing is having a fast car, but it is a track I enjoy. You can still attack it and be pretty aggressive, so it’s a fun track. It’s a lot of work the way it is right now and with these rules and these cars and everything because you’ve got to attack it every single corner but that also makes it a lot of fun”
Kenseth will start Saturday night’s race from the 14th spot.