'I'm still learning'

The Baltimore Sun

Matt Kenseth, the first NASCAR Sprint Cup driver in 11 years to win the opening two races of the season, was in Towson yesterday for a sponsor appearance at DeWalt Industrial Tool Co. Instead of writing a mundane article about the Daytona 500 winner from Wisconsin, we posed him a series of questions he might never have been asked before --- and likely won't again.

Who is bigger in Wisconsin, you or Brett Favre?

I'd have to say Brett Favre - although since he left and went to the [New York] Jets, and we've been able to win a couple of times, that's probably helped elevate our status a little bit.

Have you ever driven with a cheesehead on?

I don't think I could get the door shut.

With all the cars supposedly being the same, how do you separate yourself from the field?

As far as bodies and aerodynamics and stuff, the cars are the same. But there's a lot of things you can do differently in your springs and suspension and shocks. It's just about all the little teeny-tiny details, dotting the i's and crossing the t's and trying to make sure you got everything perfect.

Who taught you to drive?

I'm still learning.

How are you at parallel parking?

Pretty good. I can usually do it in the first swipe.

Complete this sentence: If not for auto racing, I would have been ...

Unemployed.

When you're out driving, do you pump your own gas?

Yeah, absolutely. I didn't know there were still full-service stations. But I don't go inside [the station]. I always pay with a credit card.

What is the strangest thing you've been asked to autograph?

This guy was going through the autograph line and pulled his girlfriend's underwear out of his pocket.

Did you sign it?

No. I asked if they were clean. There wasn't really enough room on them to write.

On the open road, do you ever let your wife drive?

I'm one of those guys who likes to be in control of the vehicle. I let her drive once in a while, but she usually doesn't like the criticism so she usually lets me drive.

When was the last time you were caught speeding?

Caught? It's been a long time.

What superstitions do you have about racing?

I stay away from $50 bills and I stay away from peanuts around the trailer, peanuts in the shell. That's an old racing superstition.

What's the fastest you've ever gone in a crappy rental car?

As fast as it'll go, 110 or something.

Did you ever wish NASCAR was all right turns instead of all left turns?

Absolutely not. All I've done is make left turns for the last 20 years, so I'd hate to change the strategy now.

If your family car needs an oil change, do you go to Jiffy Lube?

Nah, I do it myself. I hope I'm more mechanically inclined than that.

Did you ever think, "I'm tired of listening to my crew chief, I'd rather put on some Kenny Chesney"?

No. I'm not a country guy. And I hope my crew chief doesn't sing to me.

Do you drivers ever feel guilty, using all that gas to go around in circles?

No, because it's free.

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