RICHMOND, VA (May 3, 2008) – The last Nationwide Series outing for Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team resulted in victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. This weekend the team wasn’t so lucky. After qualifying seventh and running in the top 10 for most of the night, Kenseth was sent to the tail end of the longest line after a tire rolled out of the box on a pit stop with 20 laps remaining in the race. With time running out, Kenseth was unable to make up much ground and when the checkered flag flew, the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was 12th.
Early during the race, Kenseth said the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was “tight through the middle.” He was running seventh when the caution flew on lap 66 and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer called Kenseth down pit road for the first time. The CitiFinancial team gave Kenseth four fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment and removed a left rear spring rubber to help with the tight condition. Shortly after restarting, Kenseth voiced concern over his rising water temperature. The team readied for the worst, but Kenseth was able to stay in clean air and keep the temperature down.
During the subsequent green flag run, Kenseth broke into the top five and was running a race-high third by lap 128. The next caution flew on lap 141 and Kenseth said he was loose off and tight in the middle. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came down pit road and Kenseth received four tires and wedge and air pressure adjustments. Shortly after the restart, Kenseth said he had “no grip.”
A long green flag run set in and without the ability to adjust on the car, Kenseth began falling back. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was seventh when a caution finally flew and Kenseth came down pit road. Kenseth told Blickensderfer to “get the car to turn better in the middle.”
Blickensderfer called for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. At the end of the stop, a tire bounced out of Kenseth’s pit box and rolled across pit road. NASCAR penalized Kenseth by sending him to the tail end of the longest line which moved him from fifth to 16th with 20 laps remaining in the race.
With the laps quickly winding down, Kenseth fought to gain as many last-minute positions as possible. Kenseth was able to pick up four spots and the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion finished 12th.
“It was a disappointing night,” said Kenseth. “The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was pretty good for most of the race. After the second to last stop, the car started chattering the right front. That last set of tires felt better but after the penalty I just ran out of laps.”
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.