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Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Team Notch Top-10 Finish at Brickyard 400
Race Photo By Dan Peters
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 26, 2009) – Matt Kenseth moved into 10th place with only 23 laps to go in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The veteran was able to hold position with his No. 17 DEWALT FORD for the remaining laps, running to his eighth top-10 finish of the season. The finish capped a solid performance where – despite a ‘loose’ handling car - the team steadily improved position throughout the race.
“I’m happy with the finish,” said Kenseth after the race. “I wish we could have run better, but I’m happy with a top 10. We fought loose most of the day and we got a little bit better at the end. We got the balance of the car a little better. We just kept sneaking up on it and we never
got it to drive exactly how I wanted, but we got it better where it was at least competitive with the cars I was around.
Photo By Dan Peters
“Actually, today we probably finished a little better than we ran,” added Kenseth. “We had good pit stops and didn’t have any problems and got a solid finish. We just have to get running better and get finishing better, but I’m certainly happy with 10th for how we’ve been doing lately.”
Kenseth started the race 25th based on Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session, and worked his way inside the top 20 by lap eight. Despite battling loose handling conditions for the entire race, the team was able to progress through the field with a combination of quick pit stops and timely pit strategy.
After the team’s second pit stop on lap 58, Kenseth and the DEWALT Team had moved his No. 17 Fusion to 16th. The next stop moved the team to 13th and the fourth and final stop put Kenseth back on the track in 11th position with 15 laps remaining in the race.
“It was really hard to pass out there today,” added Kenseth. ”For me it was next to impossible to get around anyone. Except for the lead couple of cars, wherever you were on the track is about where you could run for lap times.
“You could catch a car and get two, or three car lengths from it and then you’d just kind of stall out and sit there,” said Kenseth. “But, we had some good pit stops and good pit strategy that got us in front of four, or five guys and we were able to maintain that until the end.”
With the finish, Kenseth remains in 12th position in the Sprint Cup point standings, the final spot for the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
With six races remaining before the Chase cutoff point, Kenseth opened up his lead over 13th to 68 points; He trails 11th by 16 points and sixth position by only 89 points. In what is shaping up to be a heated points battle, just 110 separates ninth position and 13th place (the first place outside the Chase).
Race Photo By Dan Peters
The finish was Kenseth’s sixth top 10 in 10 career starts at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his fourth in his last five Brickyard events. It was his eighth top-10 finish of the season and his second in the last three races.
The series travels back to Pocono Raceway (Pa.) next weekend, where Kenseth and the No. 17 team finished 16th back in June, despite running virtually the entire race inside the top five, before losing out to fuel mileage late. ESPN television and MRN radio affiliates will broadcast
the race live with coverage starting at 1 p.m. EDT.
It's A Girl!!
Kaylin Nicola Kenseth
As most of you have probably heard by now, Matt and Katie Kenseth have welcomed their new addition with the birth of little baby girl Kaylin Nicola Kenseth on Monday, July 6, in North Carolina.
Mom and baby (and dad) are doing fine!
Kenseth Sets Track Record, Wins Pole at Darlington
Darlington, S.C. (May 8, 2009) – Matt Kenseth will lead the field to green for tomorrow night’s Southern 500 at historic Darlington (S.C) Speedway. Kenseth won his fourth career Sprint Cup pole and his first since 2005 in grand fashion, capturing the Darlington track record with
a time of 27.394 (179.514 mph) around the 1.366-mile egg shaped oval known as the ‘track too tough to tame.”
“It was a great lap for us,” said Kenseth in the post qualifying press conference. “You can only go as fast as the car will carry you and (crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and (team engineer) Chip (Bolin) and all
these guys on the DEWATL team did a great job of giving me a fast car today, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night. We’ve had a lot of speed in our car all day today, which has been real encouraging. We
made a lot of changes on our car today.
We’ve been able to make it worse and we’ve been able to make it better and kind of feel what was going on, so I felt really good about that. Our mock-up run was
actually really fast. I didn’t think we’d have a serious shot at the pole, but our car was driving really good and, actually, for once when it quit raining I was glad that we got to qualify today.”
“I hope we’ll race good tomorrow night,” added Kenseth. “We really worked on race setup all day and really didn’t work on qualifying setup very well.
After we got done with race practice, you never know – today doesn’t really mean a ton for tomorrow – but it’s the most confident I’ve been in my car since I don’t know when. It’s the best car we’ve had all year by far in practice. Now practice doesn’t really necessarily mean what it’s going do for 500 miles that night when you’re practicing in the middle of the day, but the car really responded well to changes today and it drove probably better than any COT I’ve ever driven up to this point, so I feel pretty good about it. I’m a lot more confident than I have been the last couple months.”
Green flag for tomorrow night’s Southern 500 is set for 7:35 p.m. EDT, with the prerace show set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on FOX.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford, took a nasty spill on lap 106, flipping over and catching on fire during Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312. But thanks to safety equipment Kenseth walked away from the car not injured, and has the car as a keepsake of his upside-down tumble, according to team owner Jack Roush in a post-race press conference.
JACK GAVE YOU THE NATIONWIDE CAR. “He said, ‘You can have that piece of junk.’ Those were his exact words. I’ll take it.”
ANYTHING TO KEEP THE CARS OUT OF THE AIR? “In the Nationwide thing, if I wouldn’t have got hit so hard from behind and had the rear tires off the ground, I would have never spun out and the car would have never went in the air. I think if the car that hit me, the 6 car, would have used his head a little bit we wouldn’t have crashed. And, also, when I did get turned back to the inside, if I would have kept it left and let it spin out, it might not have gotten the air but it was gonna hit the inside wall real hard, so, really, what happened is when I tried to catch it, it went back the other way and got air underneath the left rear and flipped it over. Really, when you’re going that fast, if you get backwards, there’s a pretty good chance you’re gonna get airborne.”
Nice guys can finish first… Kenseth wins rain shortened Daytona 500
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Matt Kenseth, winless a year ago, added the biggest jewel in NASCAR to his trophy collection Sunday, winning a dramatic, rain-shortened Daytona 500 before a capacity crowd of some 200,000 at Daytona International Speedway, plus a Fox national television audience.
Kenseth somehow dodged a huge pileup shortly after lap 125 that easily could have sent him to the scrap-pile like it did young sensation Kyle Busch.
Busch, who had led 88 laps to clearly establish himself as the race favorite, was a victim in a 10-car wreck that had cars sliding through the backstretch infield apron and down the end of the backstretch straightaway in a huge cloud of smoke and debris.
The accident was triggered when Brian Vickers moved over to block Dale Earnhardt, Jr. near the end of the backstretch. Earnhardt was forced off the track onto the apron and into the grass. When Earnhardt tried to steer his sliding car back on the track, he clipped the rear end of Vickers' Toyota, sending Vickers shooting across the track directly in front of the oncoming field of 200-mph stock cars. At that point, it was pure havoc. No one was injured, but the accident sent a number of cars to the junk heap.
Besides Busch, who finished 41st, others involved included Carl Edwards (18th), Kurt Busch (10th), Vickers (39th), Earnhardt (27th), Jamie McMurray (37th), Jimmie Johnson (31st), Robby Gordon (34th), and Denny Hamlin (26th).
Kenseth started the race from 39th position after his crew had to change an engine in his Jack Roush Ford sponsored by DeWalt.
Ironically, the runner-up in the abbreviated race -- 152 out of a scheduled 200 laps were completed -- and winner of the Daytona 500 two years ago, Kevin Harvick, also started in the rear of the field due to engine problems.
Third-place finisher AJ Allmindinger had a storybook finish since he just hooked up with the Valvoline Dodge team several weeks ago. His performance Sunday should help him find additional sponsorship.
Clint Bowyer finished fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, David Ragan sixth, former Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip seventh, Tony Stewart eighth, and Reed Sorensen ninth. Truex was 11th.
It was a cool, overcast afternoon when the 51st running of this classic got underway. Drivers mashed the gas to the floor right from the git-go and three different drivers led the first three laps, Truex, Martin and "wild thing" Busch, who took over on the third lap and was leading when Almirola spun by himself on the eighth circuit.
When racing resumed, Busch remained out front with Martin, Labonte, Earnhardt and Edwards right behind.
A mandatory caution at lap 26 allowed the teams to check their tire wear after rain washed the rubber off the track Saturday night and Sunday morning. NASCAR officials informed the teams at the start of the race of the mandatory caution.
Once all the teams had pitted, Busch resumed his lead with Earnhardt on his bumper. Gordon was third, Hamlin fourth and Martin fifth.
Jeremy Mayfield, who started his own team about a month ago and was one of the feelgood stories in making the race, had his luck change at lap 33 when a problem cropped up with his motor.
At 40 laps, Busch had Kenseth on his bumper, who had started from the rear after changing motors. Ragan had moved to third, Earnhardt was fourth, Hamlin fifth and Ragan sixth.
Robbie Gordon dropped from the middle of the pack to 42nd when a punctured tire prompted an unscheduled pit stop.
At 50 laps, Busch still led and looked as though he clearly had the fastest car in the field but Earnhardt and Stewart were just a car length behind. Earnhardt and Stewart, however, blew past Busch on lap 53. One lap later, Busch pushed Stewart past Earnhardt. On the next lap, Travis Kvapil smacked the wall, bringing out the afternoon's second caution.
When the green flag fell again, it was Stewart out front with Gordon second. Busch was third. Also running in the front pack was McMurray, Hamlin, Edwards, Martin, Kenseth, Vickers, Ragan and Kurt Busch, who finished second in this race last year.
Earnhardt, who completely missed his pit stall and had to go around the track again, was way back in 35th on the restart.
By lap 70, Gordon led, followed by Busch, Hamlin, McMurray, Kenseth, Edwards, Vickers, Stewart, who was shuffled backwards by one of the famous Daytona drafts, Martin and Allmindinger.
Stewart's teammate and defending champion of the Daytona 500, spent considerable time in the pits and lost several laps, which pretty much ended his chance for winning "The Great American Race" again.
On lap 81, rookie Joey Logano, running back in the field to gain some experience, was in the wrong place at the right time. Another rookie, former Formula One driver Scott Speed, got loose coming out of four and had to ease off the throttle. Logano, right behind him, had to make a jerky turn left to stay off Speed and spun across the track. He smashed into the inside retaining wall almost head-on, tearing his Home Depot machine to smithereens. Logano was not injured.
On the restart at lap 85, it was Busch again and Hamlin moved into second. Allmindinger was third with Truex fourth. Gordon held on in fifth, followed by Edwards, Kenseth, Stewart, Ragan, McMurray and Burton.
The best race drivers in the world were mixing it up as though it was the last lap, rather than halfway. Gordon went from fifth to second with a nifty slingshot move down the backstretch, which resulted in Truex getting shoved back to 20th spot. Once Gordon made his move, others tucked in on his bumper and formed a freight train back to where Truex wound up.
The competition in the first half of this event was similar to what fans had seen in the Twin Gatorade 150 Qualifying Races last Thursday.
Matt Kenseths Crew keeps him in the hunt at the Chicagoland speedway on July 12, 2008
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford), who will attempt to win his second consecutive February event at California later this month, was Friday’s other media center visitor.
Kenseth is working with new crew chief Chip Bolin, who succeeds his longtime boss, Robbie Reiser. And Kenseth said the good thing about the leadership transition is that Bolin – his former team engineer – has nearly as much tenure with the team as Reiser did.
“It really hasn't been much different,” Kenseth said. “It's been really a good week, actually. We've had a little bit of everything. I think the biggest adjustment probably is more for Chip than it is for me. We worked together for nine years. If we can't communicate by now, we've got a major problem.”
Reiser moved into a general manager’s role for all of Roush Fenway Racing, a move Kenseth applauds. He said Bolin’s biggest challenges will be adjusting to personnel and travel details that he might not have handled before.
“He's got some of that stuff to adjust to,” Kenseth said. “I think it will be a pretty easy transition as far as switching crew chiefs go. If it was somebody from the outside, somebody I haven't worked with, from a different team or something, I think I'd have a lot more anxiety and it would be a little more maybe hard to adjust. But this hasn't been a big adjustment.”
Neither, apparently, has performance. Kenseth pronounced this week’s tests at Las Vegas and California an overall success.
“I thought these cars drove really well, probably better than I expected them to,” he said. “We had a pretty productive and good week of testing.”
“Our approach is the same as any week – you show up and run the best you can and hopefully you have equipment that’s capable of winning. Very seldom do you really have a chance that if you gamble and make it you could win, and if you don’t you, you’ll finish in the back. Very seldom you have that chance. So, obviously, if you have that chance you’re going to go for the win, like you would every week. But, really, just show up with your best stuff and try to run the best you can.”
HOW MUCH OF AN EFFECT DOES THE 10 POINTS FOR A WIN FACTOR IN?
“Just the same. I mean, you go for it every week. I can’t think of a race I’ve ever been in and said, ‘Man, I could go up and try to win that thing or I could lay back here and finish fifth.’ You try to win every race. There’s really not much extra you can do. Every once in a while there’s an odd circumstance – like if you’re two laps short on fuel, you might try to stretch it if nobody else could make it and try to win it on fuel, but other than that, there’s not a whole lot you can do. You go out and run as fast as you can run all day, try to use your best strategy, do the best you can on pit road and go from there.”
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY HERE AT THE GLEN?
“The same as any race – go try to qualify best you can and try to race the best you ca. Certainly, you have to do the pit strategy, you try to get your best fuel mileage you can, but really we haven’t been that great at doing that. We haven’t had the best fuel mileage, we haven’t usually pitted the thing where we’re in the front at the end, like the 42 and 26, some of them guys the last race. Certainly, we’ve got to work hard on that, have the right pit strategy and then try to be out front in the end.”
WHAT TYPE OF OPPORTUNITY DOES THIS TRACK GIVE YOU TO TRY TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND IN POINTS?
“Probably the same as any other race. Road courses are probably not my strongest suit. We’ve had decent cars here in the past but certainly nothing that we could’ve won with, so we’ve got to work hard on that. We’re in a pretty good spot for the points as far as making the chase, so we want to get through these next five weeks and hopefully have a chance to get us some momentum here and get running a little bit better; hopefully, have a chance to win a race or two.”
DO YOU EVER WISH YOU WERE RACING THE CAR OF TOMORROW EVERY WEEK INSTEAD OF SWITCHING BACK AND FORTH?
“Not really. We go to different tracks every week anyway, so to jump in and out of the standard car or the car of tomorrow is not that big of a deal.”
DO ANY EXTRA TESTING FOR ROAD COURSES?
“Not really. Before we went to Sears Point we did a little bit just to shake the car down, but we haven’t done any since then.”
ALTHOUGH BOTH ARE ROAD COURSES, ARE WATKINS GLEN AND SONOMA MORE SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT?
“It’s really totally different. Some of the technique you might use would be the same, but really the technique’s not like it was 10 years ago. Everybody’s got transmissions where you don’t have to use a clutch and all that stuff, so that’s part’s a lot easier than it used to be. The track is a lot different than Sears Point. To me, it’s a lot like comparing Michigan and Martinsville. This place reminds me of Michigan, and Sears Point is real slow and slick, like Martinsville is. So, the tracks are really a lot different.”
WITH ONLY SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE HERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THIS TYPE OF WEATHER?
“I hope it dries up? It’s the same for everybody. You don’t really worry about it; there’s nothing we can do about the weather. So, hopefully it dries up and we can get some practice. But, really, on qualifying day when it’s raining, I really don’t get too worked up about that. I haven’t been too known as a great qualifier, and we’re third in points, so if it rained out qualifying, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world for us.”
YOU WERE THE LAST CHAMPION UNDER THE OLD FORMAT. HAVE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CHASE CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?
“I think most people have grown to like it. They’ve made little tweaks here and there, but I think overall every body likes that if you’re in the top 10 it gives you a chance to win a championship, where a year like this year if Gordon wouldn’t have gotten fined in points he’d be 450 points ahead. It wouldn’t be over, but it would be pretty much over unless they had disaster strike. So, certainly, it gets it close at the end of the year, I think it makes it more exciting for the fans and for the other drivers that are involved, except for the leader, going into the chase.”
FROM A STRATEGY STANDPOINT, DID ANYTHING HAPPEN THAT WAS UNEXPECTED AND CAN BE USED AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE?
“The first chase, I think, probably us and probably a lot of other people, really tried to over-analyze it – we tried to save our tests and go crazy and test at the end of the year and do all that stuff, and I think we over-analyzed it. I think you just need to bring your best stuff every week, put in your best effort every no matter where you are in points or what’s going on with championships and stuff like that. The higher you finish, the more points you’re going to collect, so you just go run the best you can every week and go from there.”
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr Moves to No. 17
Past Matt Kenseth News..
Kenseth Looked For another Win at ‘Hometrack’ Chicagoland
2008 Race Photo By Dan Peters
Kenseth capitalizes on Busch's flat tire wins at Darlington
Maybe Matt Kenseth's luck has turned again.
On Friday afternoon, Kenseth was the surprise pole winner for Saturday's Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
On Friday night, he completed the daily double with a victory in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Nationwide Series race at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped track, after misfortune struck the dominant car of Kyle Busch in the closing circuits.
A flat tire with two laps to go took Kyle Busch out of the lead and on to pit road on Friday at Darlington Raceway. Busch led 143 of 153 laps and finished 16th.
Kenseth inherited the lead when Busch was forced to pit under yellow with a cut right-rear tire and won the race under the record-tying 10th caution period of the night, when Morgan Shepherd spun moments after a restart for a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race six laps beyond its scheduled 147 laps.
The victory was Kenseth's first of the season, his third at Darlington and his 25th in the series, fifth best all-time. Jason Leffler came home second, followed by Carl Edwards and rookie Erik Darnell, who posted his first top-five finish in his third start in the series. Fellow rookie Justin Allgaier ran fifth.
Matt Kenseth (No. 16) goes under Brian Scott as Carl Edwards (No. 60) lurks behind his Roush Fenway Racing teammate. Kenseth won the NASCAR Nationwide Series DHP 200 while Carl Edwards finished third, cutting Kyle Busch's NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings lead to 37.
"Today couldn't have gone any better than it did, that's for sure," said Kenseth, who won the first two Cup races of the season before his fortunes soured and a series of miscues and mishaps dropped him to 12th in the standings. "Like I said earlier, it's all really about the cars and the people that work on them and your pit stops and all that.
"I can't go fast with slow cars, which I proved over the last couple months. It feels good to be able to win one of these things… On the Cup side, it feels good to make changes today, and the car actually reacted to it and seemed to drive a lot better than our stuff has lately, so it's been a good day for us. Hopefully, that will continue (Saturday)."
With Busch finishing 16th, Edwards trimmed the Joe Gibbs Racing driver's advantage in the series standings to 37 points.
Busch, who led a race-high 143 laps, was two circuits away from victory when a wreck on the backstretch involving Scott Lagasse Jr. and Joe Nemechek brought out the ninth caution and set up the green-white-checkered-flag finish. Busch ran over debris from the wreck.
Busch's right rear tire sustained a cut to the inside sidewall. The tire likely would not have survived the restart, and Busch and crew chief Jason Ratliff made the prudent call to pit and change tires.
Notes: Friday's Nationwide qualifying session was rained out, and the starting field was set according to owner points. Busch started from the pole and Kenseth from the sixth spot… Brad Keselowski survived three spins, the first on the initial lap of the race, to finish 11th… Ryan Newman drove Kevin Harvick's No. 33 Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish. That car now leads Busch's JGR Toyota by seven points in the owners' standings.
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