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Kenseth won't change much in first Chase race

| Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Well, the Chase is finally here and now all anyone wants to ask me is, "How do you approach it?"

For me, it's the same as the 26 races before. This No. 17 team has done a really good job of taking it one race at a time all year. Do I look at the points• Sure. But, I don't dwell on them or think about the different scenarios or anything like that.

Here's what I know: If we can get the car as fast as we possibly can each week, have good pit stops, no part failures, and don't wreck, then we'll consistently have good finishes and things will take care of themselves. I know that first pays more points than second, second more than third, and so on.

We can't control how good other teams run, all we can control is how good our car is and how good the pit stops we have are and how good of race I run. I like the way our team is performing right now, but that doesn't guarantee us anything for the next 10 races. We have to continue to approach it one race at a time.

Crew chief Robbie Reiser and the guys have done a great job in the first 26 races. Overall, our cars this year have been better and more competitive than ever. We've been fortunate to win four races and close enough to win four or five more.

This is the first year where I've felt like we were capable of winning eight to ten races so far. Hopefully, we'll have a chance to win a few more. We're all excited about going into the Chase as the points leader, but we also know that they don't pay anything to the leader after 26 races. We have to continue to perform at the level we're at if we're going to compete for the championship in these final races -- and that all starts at Loudon this weekend.

Kenseth also sat down to answer five questions with AP motor sports writer Jenna Fryer:

Q: NASCAR changed the championship format after your runaway title to "add excitement." Did that offend you?

A: "Maybe when NASCAR first announced it, it did. They did wait until after New York, after we were done celebrating the championship, and I was thankful for that. But they maybe could have called and told us before they announced it to the media, even if it was just five minutes before. I didn't know anything about it, and all of a sudden I'm getting all these questions about the points system. But looking back, I can see why they did it and I understand that they are trying to compete with the NFL, and I'm actually thankful for it."

Q: The perception is that your title run was boring, and that you are also boring. Why do people think that about you?

A: "I don't know and I don't really care, either. From my standpoint being a fan, I think the Busch Series championship is boring. Nothing against Kevin Harvick, but if someone tunes in with five races to go and sees that he already has the title wrapped up, they're going to think that is boring, too. So I understand where people are coming from when they say my title run was boring. NASCAR wants to make it more exciting, and I can totally see that now."

Q: The top 10 drivers are going to New York City this week to promote the Chase. Since you say you aren't boring, what do you plan to do in the big city?

A: "Nothing. My media commitments and that's it. Wait, actually, I am getting to go on Letterman, and I always said that was something I wanted to do, so that will be pretty cool. But that's really about it. I'm a country boy, and the things I like to do don't involved bumping elbows with a million people."

Q: You are a country boy, from tiny Cambridge, Wisc., and I know you are a huge Packers fan. How brutal was their 26-0 loss to the Bears?

A: "Well, I went to the game and I really enjoy doing that. But me and (wife) Katie went with a couple of friends who are Bears fans, so that was painful. But we got to go down on the field, and see Lambeau Field in September when you aren't freezing your butt off. That part is just awesome, and really gives me an appreciation for the sport and the history and the tradition of the Packers. But the game• That was terrible. Luckily I had gone to Chicago to pick my friends up and fly them to the game, so they didn't dare give me any crap because they knew it would be a long five-hour drive home for them if they did."

Q: You are playing fantasy football this year, how did opening week go for you?

A: "Oh, I don't know. I fell asleep! I was winning my game, but the guy I was playing had Randy Moss. I didn't do super great this week because my best player is Chad Johnson and he had a bad week. I need to go so I can find out if I won or lost." (He won.)

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