RICHMOND, Va. (May 2, 2009) – Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Race Team dodged several close calls in a caution-filled wreck fest to finish 13th in Saturday night’s Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Kenseth started fast, rolling off 35th and moving all the way to 14th in the first 100 laps, but his DEWALT Fusion was never able to get over the hump, dropping as far back at 23rd before rebounding for the top-15 finish.
“That was a tough race out there tonight,” said Kenseth after the race. “The guys on the DEWALT Team really did a good job in the pits and actually put us in good positions on the track. The car just wasn’t good enough tonight to capitalize. We have to keep working with these cars and getting better if we are going to be able to compete in these races.”
At the 3/4 –mile track hailed for its racing excitement, 79 of the event's 400 laps were run under 15 caution periods. Kenseth narrowly escaped all out catastrophe on more than one occasion as cars continued to spin out all over the track during the course of the race. He made contact with the wall at one point and battled braking issues for much of the night. At one point Kensth even fell down a lap to the leader, before gaining the lap back via the free pass on lap 271.
Still, after dropping as far back as 23rd, Kenseth and his DEWALT team hung tough, battling all the way back to as high as 11th with 33 laps to go and bringing home the 13th-place finish.
After starting the race 35th, the team wasted little time advancing through the field. Kenseth broke inside the top 30 by lap 15 and had moved all the way to 25th on lap 42. The No. 17 DEWALT Team turned in a lightning quick stop under green on lap 91. Kenseth went into the pits in 24th position and found himself running 13th once the field had cycled through its stops.
However, Kenseth was unable to advance further, dropping as far back as 23rd after brushing with the wall after contact with the No. 12 car on lap 180. Kenseth later reported major brake issues on lap 224. The team continued to adjust the car under caution, patiently biding their time and slowly working their way back in the direction of the front of the field.
With the finish Kenseth remains 12th in the Sprint Cup point standings, 254 behind first and 31 ahead of 13.
The team returns to action next week at Darlington Raceway for Saturday night’s running at the historic track. Kenseth has six top-10 finishes in 15 starts at the ‘Track Too Tough To Tame’, where he has led 96 laps and finished seventh or better in his last three outings.