RICHMOND, Va. (May 2, 2009) – Matt Kenseth earned his best Nationwide Series finish of the season in Friday night’s Lipton 250 at Richmond International Raceway after capturing the first pole of 2009 for the No. 16 team. Kenseth drove the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion to a third-place finish; his fourth top-10 in five Nationwide Series starts this year.
Teams had nearly three hours of practice Friday morning and the No. 16 team needed the whole session; struggling with the car’s handling until the last few runs. Kenseth posted the fastest lap in qualifying; winning the pole with a lap time of 21.631 seconds.
The No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion led the field to the green flag but Kenseth quickly fell back to third, reporting that he was “crazy loose on the gas.” Under caution on lap 65, Kenseth told the team he needed “more rear grip.” Crew chief Eddie Pardue brought Kenseth down pit road for four tires, air pressure and track bar adjustments. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion restarted fourth and after the next run, Kenseth said he was “a little bit better but still loose on exit.” During the next stop, the team gave Kenseth four fresh tires and another air pressure adjustment.
Kenseth continued to fight loose conditions, but was able to maintain position and stay in the top five. The last adjustments of the night came under caution on lap 203. Pardue called for four tires, track bar and air pressure adjustments.
Kenseth was up to third with 22 laps in the race, but had complained all night about struggling on restarts. Multiple late-race cautions fell, hurting Kenseth’s chances of picking up position. When the checkered flag flew, the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion crossed the stripe third; the sixth top-10 for the No. 16 team this season.
"We just couldn’t get it quite right tonight,” said Kenseth. “These guys had really good pit stops and Eddie and all of the CitiFinancial guys did a great job because I didn’t think we had much to work with after practice. I had a pretty solid car, we just could never get it quite right to be able to run with the leaders. It was a fun night, but it’d be nice to be able to win one of these things too.”
The No. 16 team is currently sixth in Owner Points, 166 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.