Matt Kenseth , who doesn’t have a win in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, sees Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway as an opportunity.
The 1.540-mile track, where the Roush Fenway Racing driver has no wins but six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 17 starts, seems like just the kind of venue where Kenseth could finally break through.
"We're heading to Atlanta, a track that I feel like should be a really good place for us and our organization as a whole," the 2003 Cup champ said. "Atlanta is a higher banked track, and for whatever reason, we’ve all been successful at the mile-and-a-halves with higher-banking.
"We were able to test these cars at Atlanta last year and raced there earlier this year. We have much more experience with these cars, and I feel like we have a lot of good information and should be fairly competitive this weekend."
Kenseth comes to Atlanta fresh off a solid outing last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where he overcame an early crash and a lost lap to finish eighth - his best outcome since a fifth at Kansas three races earlier. The finish was even more noteworthy because Kenseth has traditionally struggled at the tiny Virginia oval.
“We had a decent run last week at Martinsville and were able to get a top-10 finish," he said. "And for me there, that’s a huge accomplishment. It seems that this year we’re either really good or really bad. We either have awesome luck or we crash.
"I’m hoping this weekend we’ll be really good and have awesome luck. But either way, we’re going to race as hard as we can and hopefully come home with a top-10 finish.”
Though Kenseth is 10th in the standings and 408 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson with four races to go, the Wisconsin native still has plenty for which to race. And getting to victory lane is at the top of that list. Since his 2000 rookie season, he has won a race in all but one campaign - 2001 - leading up to this year.
"This weekend we’re bringing a brand new car that we built applying a lot of the information we’ve gained over this last year," first-year Kenseth crew chief Chip Bolin said. "Hopefully, we’re a lot smarter now than we were a year ago, and we’ll have a car that is capable of winning.”