Kenseth

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DENISE MALOOF: Matt Kenseth joins us, our reining Daytona 500 champion. New sponsor, No. 17 Crown Royal Ford. We'll have to get used to that, although you're familiar with them as a sponsor. You had a fun event yesterday, a full day, I know, doing a media tour for the 500. Tell us a little bit about that.

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had a full couple days. I had a good time. We got to go to Busch Gardens yesterday, which I've never been to. I did a little tug-of-war with a tiger, and of course I won and that tiger will never be the same. Got to go to the hockey game last night and just kind of been hanging out talking about the race.

I remember for years and years, as soon as the stuff became nationally televised I remember basically watching the Daytona 500 at home as a kid in Wisconsin. It was always fun because I always went snowmobiling after the race. It seemed like two different worlds from Wisconsin to Florida. But anyway, I remember Earnhardt and hitting the burn and getting a flat tire, and I remember all that stuff, and I totally know what you're talking about.

I think this race is a little bit unique because it's a restrictor plate race because it's kind of turned into a half restrictor plate race, a half downforce handling race, so some cars you can give up a little bit of speed and handle good at the end of the run and that kind of mixes up the order, and you'll find some cars faster in the beginning of the run, some faster at the end of the run. There's a lot of that, and all winter long everybody prepares to try to run and try to win the Daytona 500


Q. Two-parter, your reaction to the bulletin that went out today that they're going to phase the spoiler back in.

MATT KENSETH: I think it'll be cool. I mean, I'm all for mixing things up and trying something, especially the way we're running at the end of the year. Whenever they change something and you're not running great, it's kind of a good thing because you hope to get back on top of it and you hope you work out different set ups and can try some different things. I'm kind of looking forward to it. I don't know what it'll change. I don't know if any of us do until we really run it. I assume it's because of the wing this car has always been so forgiving. There's never really been a penalty for making a mistake, and there's never really been a reward for keeping it off the wall all day, because you can slam them into the wall so hard and they still run the same speed. You can get them sideways 45 degrees and almost anybody can catch them. They're so forgiving with that wing and everything. I think this is going to get it back to being a little more like what we had before, maybe a little less forgiving and make qualifying a little bit more exciting, where some people might get over the edge and not be able to catch it type of thing. I don't know what it'll do, but I think it'll make it a little bit more difficult.

Q. Obviously with sponsors coming and going in this sport and everything, but yours stick around for a long time. How strange is it going to be to go into the garage area with a new uniform and new colors on the car?

MATT KENSETH: Well, it's really different, and I'm very fortunate and blessed to have had the sponsors I've had for as long as I've had them.

I think the 17 with DeWalt, with them as a sponsor, me driving, I think was the second longest sponsor/driver team relationship in the garage next to Jeff and DuPont. That was something I've always been proud of. I was trying to work to make that work the best we could and do all that. It's a different situation I've been in since whenever they announced it, August or whatever. It's definitely a lot different. I don't think we have any of the sponsors from our cars returning from last year. So it's kind of like starting over. But I am excited that Crown picked us up, and I worked with the them guys with the Smirnoff Ice brand when they were with us in ༿ and ཀ on our DeWalt cars. I know them guys and I have a little bit of comfort level there, and I'm happy that we have something on the car. But it's definitely a feeling than we've had the last few years. It's something after a while you try to be careful not to, but you almost take it for granted. You're like, these guys have always been there, always going to be there, there's not going to be a change, and you kind of get in a comfort zone. So it's a little different.

Q. The first one you may have touched on this, but Jeff Smith was saying that sponsorship looks good for the other half of this year. Have you heard anything on that front for your car?

MATT KENSETH: It sounds like things are progressing nicely and they should know something in a couple days is what he told me a couple days ago. I'm hoping so. He seemed pretty confident about it.

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