Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 4, 2009) – Matt Kenseth headed to Daytona International Speedway this weekend for the first NASCAR Nationwide Series restrictor place race since he was sent barrel rolling down the backstretch at Talladega Superspeedway in April. Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 was less eventful for Kenseth and the No. 16 CitiFinancial team but the results were just as disappointing. Kenseth was happy with the car in practice and qualified sixth, but fought loose conditions throughout the race and finished 14th.
It took just six laps of racing for Kenseth to report that the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was “out of control sideways.” The first caution of the night came out on lap nine and Kenseth quickly told crew chief Eddie Pardue he was “loose in and loose off.” Pardue brought Kenseth in for two tires and a track bar adjustment. The CitiFinancial crew knocked off a strong stop and sent Kenseth out as the leader.
The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion maintained the lead until lap 35. Kenseth fell to sixth and told the team he was “real loose on exit and real loose on entry.” He was down to ninth when the next caution came out on lap 44. Kenseth asked for four tires and Pardue called for wedge and air pressure adjustments. The pit crew picked up one spot during the stop and Kenseth restarted eighth with 51 laps remaining. Eight laps later another caution fell and Kenseth reported that he was “not too bad, maybe just a little on the tight side.” Kenseth came down pit road for fuel but no tires or adjustments. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion regained the lead on the exchange, but Kenseth quickly realized the rest of the field had taken tires on the stop.
The race went green on lap 64 and two laps later Kenseth lost the lead to his Roush Fenway Racing teammate David Ragan and his fresher tires. A concerned Kenseth told the team he was “sliding everywhere” and needed new tires. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion fell to 15th during the run and when the next caution came out Kenseth asked for four tires and a wedge adjustment. Kenseth came in on lap 72 but most of the leaders stayed out, having received fresh tires on the previous stop. Kenseth was forced to give up track position and restarted 23rd with 25 laps left in the race. He fought his way back to the front but couldn’t get any higher than ninth. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was 12th when a late caution came out, forcing a green-white-checkered finish. Kenseth was shuffled back on the final restart and crossed the line 14th.
“That was definitely better than a 14th place car,” said Kenseth. “The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was really loose at the beginning but it got pretty good toward the end. We got off sequence when we didn’t take tires on that stop and I didn’t have a chance to make it up. The guys did a great job all weekend and stops were great tonight, it’s pretty disappointing to finish that low.”
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.