The winner of Monday' night's Daytona 500, Matt Kenseth, talksabout his second victory in the “Great American Race,” which also kicked off Roush Fenway Racing's 25th season with the team's 300th win.
Q. Now that you had some time to take it in, when you look at everything you've accomplished in this sport, have you thought at all about where you rank among some of the all-time greats who have done this? Is your legacy important to you at all?
MATT KENSETH: I really haven't spent a lot of time thinking about that. I mean, it's important to me to win races and be successful. Everybody wants to be successful no matter what they're doing.
If it were all over today, I certainly had a great career. We've done a lot of things that have been beyond my wildest dreams honestly. I never thought I'd get a chance to run in this series, run a Daytona 500, much less win one or two. Certainly, I appreciate and enjoy the success that we've had so far.
Q. Does this typify Matt Kenseth in the public eye, overshadowing obviously the fire, the delay, Danica, that you were overshadowed, your accomplishment over the weekend, winning two races, really? Secondly, are you still looking for full-time sponsorship? How do you think this will help as far as people noticing you to pick up the rest of the season?
MATT KENSETH: Well, it seems like it goes like that quite a bit for me. I'm not really in it for the recognition or credit or any of that stuff anyway.
The sponsorship thing, I'm not entirely sure. I don't think they have anything new between Best Buy and Zest, Valvoline. I think they have about 15 races sponsored. They still have some inventory they're trying to sell. They give me some updates, but other than that I let the sales department do their thing, I try to do our thing from a performance standpoint. Hopefully, they'll do their part there and we'll find some more sponsorship to get the car filled up.
Q. In 2009 you got off to a great start, then it led into a slump. Is that anything you think about at all or is your team in such a different place right now that that's not even worth contemplating?
MATT KENSETH: I always look at Daytona as almost like a separate season. I've looked at it mainly for the reason that you can have a big wreck or something can happen. We've left there with bad finishes, low in the points.
Usually, by the time we get to the next race I put that behind me and don't count that as a race for the season, although the points count, then start off racing and feel like every race toward there is a race toward trying to get yourself and team at a championship level and able to work toward getting in the Chase and trying to race for a championship.
'09, I can't recall the whole year, but we won the 500, we got out to California and actually won that, too. It was crazy to start off the year with two wins. It seemed like we were destined for a wonderful season. Then we had a lot of different things go wrong. We went to Vegas and blew an engine on, I think, lap two and finished dead last the third race of the year. We had two wins and a last-place finish in the first three weeks. We had little problems here and there that held us back and kept us out of the Chase.
Q. You've won two Daytona 500s now. Obviously there's a lot of effort put into that one race. Does it feel any more special to win that? Does it make it feel more special because you were able to win this year's race with all that went around it?
MATT KENSETH: I think it would be about the same. Obviously there was a delay in the middle of the race. The race started Monday night, all that. It was the same for everybody. I don't feel like there was any kind of odd circumstance that made us win the race, like we didn't deserve it or something like that.
I think we had some problems at the beginning, lost track position, almost got lapped. Battled through that. Jimmy [Fennig, crew chief] made some great calls to get us some track position. Had a great pit stop. We had three or four restarts, had the green-white-checkered, was able to hold those guys off, so we had a pretty dominant car. We were able to race a little more than 500 miles and come up with the win. I feel good about that.
I'm proud of my team for how fast a car they gave us, what a good, dominating race we had to win the 150, then back it up winning the 500. It was just an amazing week for us.
Q. You've been so consistent over the years, accomplished so much. Are you surprised at the difficulty that you've had in getting a sponsor for a full season?
MATT KENSETH: Yes, I am, actually. I think I've been very fortunate through the years. Black & Decker, we had them for 10 seasons, maybe 11 seasons in the Busch Series, but had a great relationship with them. Different situation when Stanley bought them out. Stanley already had a car. We had a long relationship with them. Even with Crown Royal, back to ‘03, ‘04, they've been at Roush for a long time.
I hoped, I guess, that the way our performance was last year, all that, it would have been a little easier for the sales department to fully sponsor the car. I know that's been a struggle not only for our car but for some of the other cars in our organization. They shut the 6 car down because they didn't have a sponsor. They're trying hard to sponsor Ricky Stenhouse's Nationwide car. He's fresh off a championship here. I think it's tough out there right now for some reason.