LOUDON, N.H. (June 29, 2008) -- Matt Kenseth came to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on the heels of six consecutive top-10 finishes. The driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford wanted nothing more than to continue this streak, but two late-race cautions and Mother Nature ruined what could have been another top-10 finish. Kenseth took the green flag in the ninth position after laying down a lap time of 29.612 seconds during Friday afternoon’s time trials. Throughout the 284-lap (shortened by 17 laps due to rain) event, Kenseth battled a loose-handling car, however throughout several adjustments made in scheduled pit stops, Kenseth had worked his way up to 11th-place. When it looked as though Kenseth may be in top-10 contention, he was forced to pit for fuel. Just 13 laps later the race was red flagged and ultimately called for rain. Kenseth finished 18th and fell from 12th to 13th in the overall point standings.
French-Canadian Patrick Carpentier, started from the pole for this first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Kenseth rolled off ninth, but soon fell back to 12th place, reporting that the No. 17 was experiencing loose handling conditions.
By the first round of green flag pit stops on lap 68, Kenseth had fallen back to 17th. Crew chief Chip Bolin prescribed four tires with air pressure adjustments; along with a track bar adjust ment, in hopes of remedying the handling problems. After the pit stop, Kenseth rejoined the race scored in the 15th position.
Throughout the race and a series of scheduled pit stops, Kenseth continued to battle a loose handling car and the No. 17 team would continue to make adjustments. However nothing really seemed to help, though Kenseth continued to make gains on the track. By lap 203 he was running 13th and turning lap times comparable to the leaders.
On lap 216, Bolin directed Kenseth to conserve fuel. Rain was in the forecast and Kenseth’s No. 17 was 10 laps shy of making it to the end of the 301-lap event on fuel.
The fuel mileage strategy would be altered as an accident that sent all the leaders to the pits happened on lap 271. Kenseth entered the pits in 10th place for two tires and fuel. However, when the race restarted with just 23 laps to go he was scored in the 19th position, as not all competitors opted to pit.
Kenseth would do his best to make up ground, however rain began to fall and the race was red flagged and ultimately called on lap 284.
“We didn’t run as good as I hoped,” said Kenseth. I thought the car was better than that and it really wasn’t, plus we could never get track position. We couldn’t get on pit road and the way the race played out; we just couldn’t do anything except for about what we did. With the rain and all, some people pitted and some people didn’t. I think we did the right thing. We did what all the rest of the guys in front of us did and it just didn’t work out.”
When the race was called for rain and the field was frozen, Kurt Busch was declared the winner. Michael Waltrip, J.J. Yeley, Martin Truex, Jr. and Elliott Sadler completed the top five.
The disappointing 18th-place finish for the DEWALT crew at New Hampshire puts the No. 17 team 13th in point standings – just 15 points out of 12th-place Chase contention.
Next week, Kenseth and the No. 17 crew will head back to Daytona Beach, Fla. for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. TNT television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live race broadcast beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, July 5.
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, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.