Team shifts focus to Daytona 500 after eighth-place finish in wild Shootout
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2009) – Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT race team finished ninth in a wild and wooly Budweiser Shootout Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth, who led in the race at one point, was running in second position behind teammate Jamie McMurray with four laps remaining, before getting loose and being shuffled out of the draft. Kenseth was able to recover, moving back to eighth place during a green-white-checkered scramble to the end of the race.
“We were able to get up there, but the car just got too loose at the end,” said Kenseth after the race. “I got all the way up to Jamie (McMurray) in second and I thought we were going to be able to stay in line there. At one time me and Jamie and Carl (Edwards) were all lined up, but we weren’t all fast enough together to be able to make it happen.
“Behind Jamie I got real loose there and the 18 bump-drafted me and I got so sideways I couldn’t hang onto it and I just fell to the back. But the car had some speed and we were able to move up to the front and run with the lead pack for much of the night. It will give us something to work on for the rest of the week as we get ready for the 500 next week.”
Kenseth started the race 25th (based on a random draw) and drafted his way into the top 20 by lap 10. He moved up to the second position on lap 45, before using an impressive cross-over move from bottom to top to take the lead on lap 50. After getting shuffled out of the draft and falling as far back as 15th, he moved back to second position where he was running with four laps remaining.
Kevin Harvick edged out Roush Fenway teammate Jamie McMurray to win the race that saw eight cautions, several multi-car accidents and plenty of carnage in its 78 laps.
“The cars were pretty tough to drive,” added Kenseth. “They were pretty sideways. They were like that a lot. They were like that last year too, and it’ll be like that for 500 miles. The only difference is most people will be a little bit more calm. It’s just crazy out there when you’ve got a green-white-checker at a plate race. It’s going to be four-wide and you know there’s going be a wreck. You just hope you’re not in it.”
The teams return to action today for Daytona 500 qualifying. The session is set to begin at 1:10 p.m. with Kenseth and the No. 17 team going out 33rd of 58 cars attempting to qualify for the field.
Sunday’s qualifying session will be broadcast live by FOX and will determine the top two starting positions for the Daytona 500, as well as the starting positions for Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150 races.