Second-Place Finish Improves Kenseth’s Chase Standing to 10th
DOVER, Del. (September 21, 2008) -- In a nail-biter of a race at Dover International Speedway, Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion team turned in a stellar performance. Posting a top-10 qualifying effort and fast lap times during the weekend’s practice sessions, Kenseth and company looked to be back on track and set to make up ground in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Though, Kenseth kept the No. 17 up front for a race-high 136 laps, he was challenged in the closing laps of the Camping World 400 by teammates, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards and came up just short of victory – finishing in second place. Despite being somewhat disappointed with runner-up, Kenseth and the DEWALT Ford team captured a season-best finish and improved two positions in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.
“It was a fun race,” said Kenseth. “Out of the three of us there all duking it out, there was going to be two guys that aren’t as happy as the other guy. So, I’m really happy for Greg. That’s two wins is a row and that team’s really hitting their stride. You show up at every race trying to win and if you’ve got a shot at the end of the race, you’re going to drive as hard as you can possibly drive, no matter what. Everybody wants to be standing down there in Victory Lane; these things are hard to win, so, at least with me anyway, there’s no such thing as taken it easy and getting yourself out of position. You’re going to race as hard as your car will let you go. Most of the day we were really solid on pit road and made some good adjustments. We’re just a little off. I should’ve called for more of an adjustment there that last time; the track got free on us and I was just too loose to hold them off. So, obviously disappointed we didn’t win, but overall a good day for us.”
Pole winner, Jeff Gordon led the 43-car field to the green flag on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon in Dover, Del. Kenseth, in the No.17 DEWALT Ford followed closely behind in eighth position and quickly began his charge to the front. Within the first lap of competition, caution was thrown due to an accident and Kenseth had already made his way up to fifth place. By the second caution just a few laps later on lap 11, Kenseth was running fourth. The race settled down a bit after the opening excitement and Kenseth maintained a top-five running position. On lap 63, the race’s third caution was waved and Kenseth, in fifth place made his way to pit road for the first time of the race.
Since Kenseth reported that the No. 17 was “a little free,” crew chief Chip Bolin made the call for four tires and fuel along with wedge and air pressure adjustments. In just 12.3 seconds the Killer Bees performed their duties over the wall and returned Kenseth to the track as the race leader. From lap 69 to lap 190, Kenseth maintained the lead. However, lap 142 through 185 the race was stalled five times due to caution flags and pit sequences were shaken up. On lap 185, Kenseth, leading the race pitted under caution. Despite another speedy pit stop by the No. 17 team, Kenseth rejoined the race on lap 190 in 13th position as not all competitors opted to pit during this caution period.
Kenseth climbed back inside the top three by lap 309, however reported that the handling of the DEWALT Ford was “way too loose.” Despite his displeasure with the No. 17, Kenseth continued to make impressive lap times around Dover International Speedway and maintained third place until he pitted for a final time on lap 350.
With just 44 laps remaining in the Camping World 400, Kenseth took the green flag for the final time in fourth place – 22 laps later he took over the lead. In the final 15 laps, Kenseth, Biffle and Edwards raced nose to tail. Kenseth did his best to hold them off, but Biffle’s Ford prevailed and he took the lead with just eight laps to go. Kenseth continued charging, but in the end had to settle for second place. Edwards finished third and it was a 1-2-3 finish for Roush Fenway Racing. Mark Martin was fourth and Jimmie Johnson finished fifth.
“It was really fun racing,” said Kenseth. “That was probably the best racing I’ve seen in a long time. I imagine it looked like it from the seats. Three of us racing there. And, in a way, with Carl leading the points, there were two winners and I feel like only loser in the crowd. Got beat, and you hate to get beat in those battles but they’re a lot of fun to be a part of. I think Greg had probably the best car there, and we were just all driving as hard as we could to try to hold ’em off as long as I could, and I just couldn’t do it.”
Two races in the Chase are complete and Kenseth is ranked 10th, 167 points behind the leader, Carl Edwards. Kenseth and the No. 17 team will travel to Kansas Speedway next week for the RV Camping World 400 presented by Coleman. ABC television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live race broadcast beginning at 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, September 28.
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.