KANSAS CITY (Sept. 27, 2008) – Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Arby’s team made their final NASCAR Nationwide Series start of 2008 in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at the Kansas Speedway. With hopes of winning free fries for everyone, the Arby’s team, led by crew chief Pierre (P.K.) Kuettel set out to give Kenseth a winning Ford Fusion. Though Kenseth was able to turn in some impressive stats in the race: qualifying sixth, spending a race-high 199 of 200 laps in the top 15, turning 15 of the race’s fastest laps and spending the majority of the 200-lap event in the top five, Kenseth battled the tight handling conditions of the No. 17 most of the race and ultimately finished fifth.
Kevin Harvick led the 43-car field to green on a warm, sunny Kansas afternoon. Kenseth rolled off sixth and had worked his was up to fourth place by the race’s first caution on lap 14. Reporting that the No. 17 was “way too tight,” Kenseth and Kuettel began formulating a plan to remedy the handling problems. When caution waved for the second time on lap 28, Kenseth in third place made his way to pit road to put their plan into action. The Arby’s crew quickly removed a spring rubber, bolted on four fresh tires and inserted fuel into the No. 17 and Kenseth exited pit road. Green flag racing resumed on lap 33 and Kenseth was scored in 10th place, as not all competitors opted to pit under the caution period.
Within five laps Kenseth was running fifth and would maintain a top-five position throughout the next 115 laps and two pit cycles, despite continuing to report an ill-handling No. 17. On lap 151, under caution, Kenseth made his way to pit road for a final attempt to correct the handling issues of the Arby’s Ford. Wedge, track bar and air pressure adjustments were made. Four sticker tires were secured and the No. 17 was topped off with fuel. Kenseth took the green flag for the final time on lap 164 in second place.
Battling with lapped traffic, Kenseth worked to reel in the led car of Denny Hamlin. However, a long green flag run made the tight handling conditions of the No. 17 worse and Kenseth fell back to fifth place. Hamlin led the final 36 laps of the race and in front of an estimated crowd of 80,000 captured his ninth NASCAR Nationwide Series win. Clint Bowyer finished second. Roush Fenway Racing teammates, David Ragan and Carl Edwards finished third and fourth respectively and Kenseth completed the top five.
“Well, the finish was alright,” Kenseth said following the Kansas Lottery 300. “It’s about what I thought it would be. We qualified, I thought, better than our car was and we raced about like we were yesterday. We just could never quite get it right all weekend. We just had one problem, that we kind of worked on, in the middle of the corner, we just could never get the left-front down and turn it good enough. So, we just fought that all day. It got tight on the long runs and we tried kind of a Hail Mary adjustment there and it made it worse, it made it tighter, and I just couldn’t hang on. A bit disappointing for the Arby’s team in our last race of 2008.”
Kenseth Kansas Lottery 300 Results:
Fastest Laps: 15
Laps in Top 15: 199/200
Points: 160 *5
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.