DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2008) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT NANO Technology Ford Fusion look to be on an upswing after finishing fourth in Sunday’s Best Buy 400 at Dover International Speedway – their fourth top 10 in a row and second top-five finish in the last four races. Though Kenseth only managed a 21st place qualifying effort during Friday afternoon’s time trials, he was confident heading into the 400-lap event, as he posted respectable times during the weekend’s practice sessions and was comfortable with the setup of the No. 17. Though Kenseth managed to turn 22 of the race’s fastest laps, long green flag runs separated the field and Kyle Busch won the race in a dominating fashion – five seconds ahead of second place.
Roush Fenway Racing driver, Greg Biffle led the 43-car field to green at the Monster Mile on Sunday afternoon. Kenseth rolled off 21st and by lap 15 he had put the DEWALT NANO Technology Ford Fusion in 13th place.
Just seventeen laps into the race however, contact in turn two between David Gilliland and Elliott Sadler triggered an 11-car wreck that ruined the afternoon for several Chase contenders and forced NASCAR to red flag the race. Kenseth avoid the melee and when the race restarted, he made his way to pit road for the first stop of the day.
Though Kenseth reported that he was pleased with the overall handling of his Ford Fusion, he said that “it’s getting looser and looser the longer the run.” With that in mind, crew chief Chip Bolin called for only air pressure adjustments to Kenseth’s Ford. After the No. 17 made the adjustments, bolted on four fresh tires and filled the DEWALT Ford with fuel, Kenseth rejoined the race in 14th place.
On lap 41, Kenseth broke into the top 10 and by lap 62, when caution waved for the second time he was running sixth. After a routine pit stop during the caution period, Kenseth exited the pits in fourth place.
Kenseth maintained fourth position throughout three cycles of green flag pit stops. And after his final stop on lap 319, Kenseth was still scored in fourth place, where he would ultimately finish the race.
The final laps of the 400-mile event stayed green for 153 laps and Busch gained a total of five seconds over runner-up Carl Edwards en route to his fourth win of 2008. Greg Biffle finished third, while Kenseth was fourth and Jeff Gordon followed to complete the top five.
The second consecutive solid finish for Kenseth and the No. 17 team did not give them any gains in the point standings. However the fourth-place finish did close the gap on 12th place and Kenseth is now only 95 points out.
Roush Fenway Racing put three cars in the top five - Edwards, Biffle and Kenseth - for the first time since July 2006 at New Hampshire. All five Roush Fenway Racing Fords finished in the top 15 – Jamie McMurray, 10th and David Ragan 15th.
“It was a good day,” said Kenseth. “We started off and were pretty fast on the long run and then we kind of got off to the loose side and we tightened it up and then the track tightened up on us and we just got too tight in the center. It was a great run for us though. We’re definitely making progress. We’re moving the right way here lately and have been getting some good runs put together, so it feels good to have the DEWALT car at least up in the top five.
“With all of the green flag runs, everyone was chasing their cars all day. This place is tough. You’ve got to have it all. You’ve got to be able to get on and off pit road and have pit stops and have it handling good for those long runs because you typically don’t get a whole bunch of cautions here to work on it, so we were just a little bit off, but we were closer than we have been.”
Kenseth and the No. 17 team will travel to Pocono, Penn. next week for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. The racing action will be broadcast live on FOX television and MRN radio affiliates beginning at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, June 8.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 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; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.