Matt Kenseth puts little stock in momentum
TALLADEGA, Ala. Even if you're running well, a trip to Victory Lane can seem so far away.
Just ask Matt Kenseth.
Even while watching Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle win at the end of last season and the beginning of this one, Victory Lane still felt far out of reach.
"When you go that long without winning, you can talk about it all you want, but until it happens it doesn't really feel real or like you're that close," Kenseth said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.
"You start to wonder or doubt or however you want to put it if you're ever going to get back there."
No more wondering for Kenseth, as he ended his 76-race winless streak with a dominating victory last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
While grateful, Kenseth doesn't believe there is much in terms of momentum he can carry over to Sunday's Aaron's 499, which will feature a type of racing far different than last week.
"Sometimes I sort of believe in the momentum thing and sometimes I don't. I go off of more how we're running, not necessarily how we're always finishing, but we've been running better," he said.
"Certainly, this weekend is totally different. In a way you kind of look at it as, not an off-weekend, but it's nothing like we're going to do when we go back to racing at Richmond (Va.).
"It's just all by itself, especially with this new two-car" drafting.
While drivers have used two-car drafts at Talladega, they have not been the focus like was seen during the Daytona 500 in February.
Although practices were cut short Friday by rain, it has become clear Sunday's race will look much like the 500.
Tony Stewart was fastest during the first practice, followed by his Stewart Hass Racing teammate Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and A.J. Allmendinger .
Qualifying will be at 11:35 a.m. EDT on Saturday.
"These four (restrictor-plate) races, to me, are just a total crapshoot and you don't know what's going to happen or who is going to have a shot at it," Kenseth said. "I'm interested to get in the race and see if I can get hooked up with Greg (Biffle) or get hooked up with somebody and make it work a little longer.
"In the (Daytona Duals), Kevin (Harvick) and I got together and worked really well, and then he blew up on Lap 10 or 12 of the 500 and that kind of got us behind for the day.
"It's really odd having to rely on somebody and have them rely on you that much to make it work."
Most other drivers have resigned themselves to the fact that racing at Talladega will mirror much of what happened at Daytona.
"We're literally doing exactly the same things we did at Daytona. There is nothing different because it is Talladega vs. Daytona," said Stewart.
"The only difference is, it's not the biggest race of the year."