AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 12, 2008) -- For Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT NANO Ford team, this weekend’s events at Phoenix International Raceway were anything but kind. After struggling to find speed during practice sessions and qualifying a disappointing 27th for the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Kenseth and crew were hoping that things would turn around for them during the 312-lap Saturday night race. However, that would not be the case. Extremely tight handling conditions plagued the No. 17 and led to a blown right front tire. The damage incurred in the single-car incident on lap on lap 41, sent Kenseth and crew to the garage for more than 40 laps. When the No. 17 returned to the track, too much was lost and Kenseth finished the race in 38th position, 43 laps down to the leader.
Ryan Newman led the 43-car field to the green flag on Saturday evening. Kenseth in the black No. 17 DEWALT NANO Technology Ford Fusion rolled off 27th. When the first caution was displayed on lap 10, Kenseth started to report that his Ford was handling “very tight”. Crew chief Chip Bolin directed Kenseth to pit. In hopes of remedying the handling problems, Bolin directed the No. 17 crew to insert a spring rubber and adjust air pressures. Green flag racing commenced on lap 16 and Kenseth was scored in 32nd place.
Over the next several laps Kenseth continued to battle the ill-handling No. 17. On lap 43 the right front tire blew on the DEWALT NANO Ford sending it into the wall in turn four. The damages incurred in the incident sent Kenseth and crew to the garage. For more than 40 laps, the No. 17 crew worked to repair Kenseth’s Ford and on lap 83 Kenseth returned to the track.
For the remainder of the race Kenseth made up as much ground as possible, gaining five positions before the checkers fell. Kenseth crossed the finish line in 38th place, 43 laps down.
“It was just an all around disappointing weekend for us,” said Kenseth. “We could never get the right setup during practice and didn’t qualify well, and then our car was just way too tight to drive in the race. We blew our tire and that pretty much ended our day. We ran around there at the end just trying to stay out of the way. We managed to pick up a few spots, but just a terrible day for us.”
Jimmie Johnson scored his first win of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Mark Martin followed to complete the top five.
The disappointing finish at Phoenix dropped Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT team from 13th to 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. Kenseth is currently 346 points behind point leader Jeff Burton and 46 points out of 12th place.
Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT team will enjoy next weekend off, but will return to racing action on Sunday, April 28th at the Talladega Superspeedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.