FORT WORTH, Tex. (April 4, 2009) – They say everything is bigger in Texas – something Matt Kenseth and the No. 16 CitiFinancial team learned firsthand this weekend. Big winds and big temperature changes led to big challenges for the Roush Fenway Racing team. The group struggled to get a handle on the car during most of practice, fighting with winds that surged upwards of 40 miles per hour. Kenseth qualified second, but was unable to contend for the win and finished sixth in Saturday’s O’Reilly 300.
The race began with the air temperature nearly 20 degrees warmer than it had been during practice. Kenseth quickly lost ground and was down to sixth when he reported that he was “low on grip” on lap 20. Kenseth reiterated his problem, saying he was “tight center, a tick free on entry and a tick free up off.” The first pit stop came under green on lap 55. Crew chief Eddie Pardue called for four tires and an air pressure adjustment and when the field cycled through, Kenseth was in seventh place.
The first caution of the day fell on lap 67. Kenseth said he was “much better” but asked Pardue to “free it up a bit.” The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came back down pit road for four fresh tires and Kenseth restarted seventh on lap 71. Up to third on lap 87, Kenseth said he was “still too tight across the middle.” Kenseth was fighting the same problem when the next caution came out on lap 119. The CitiFinancial team gave Kenseth four tires, air pressure and wedge adjustments and sent him out in third place.
With the laps winding down, Kenseth reported that he was “just too tight.” The last stop of the day came under caution on lap 161. Pardue called for four tires and another wedge adjustment. Kenseth quickly reported that he had gotten “really loose” and could “barely hang on.” Kenseth was running fifth when the last caution came out. With only 13 laps left in the race, Pardue elected not to come down pit road. The field restarted with seven laps remaining and Kenseth fought to hold off the rest of the field. The “very loose” CitiFinancial Ford Fusion held on to finish sixth.
“That was frustrating,” said Kenseth. “The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was tight all day and then after that last stop, it was so loose I could hardly drive it. I had a bad restart toward the end and got caught behind the 5 car which tightened me up a bit. It’s just tough to run third all day and end up sixth.”
The No. 16 team is currently fifth in Owner’s Points, 73 points behind the leader.
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, McMurray, 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.