MATT KENSETH READY TO TAKE ON DAYTONA ROAD COURSE
2004 IROC Champ gunning to emerge round three still atop the standings
CONCORD, N.C. -- When Matt Kenseth rolls into Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, he, like several of his fellow NEXTEL Cup competitors, will be preparing for two very different races at the World Center of Racing. On Thursday, Kenseth along with 11 other of the nation's best drivers will tackle the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway in round three of the 2006 Crown Royal IROC Series.
Kenseth enters Thursday night's event as the IROC series' points leader with 43 points, nine ahead of second place Tony Stewart. The last time the IROC series was at Daytona for round one in February, raced on the legendary 2.5-mile oval, Kenseth dominated, leading the final 34 laps of the 40-lap event to score his third career IROC victory.
"It will definitely be different this time around," said Kenseth, who won February's event starting from the 12th position, the same position he will start on Thursday night. "I don't really know what to expect on Thursday. I've only raced the road course at Daytona once and that was when Greg (Biffle), Kurt (Busch) and I ran the 24 Hour race last year. I feel like starting last will be a bigger disadvantage than it was in February when we ran the oval. It'll be harder to pass, but we'll just have to see how everything plays out. If I still have the points lead after Thursday, I'll feel like it was a successful night."
Road courses in general have given Kenseth some trouble in the past. In his 13 combined races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen, Kenseth has scored only three top-10 finishes. Last weekend at Infineon Raceway, Kenseth finished 17th, his lowest lead-lap finish of 2006.
"Nothing helps you more than seat time," Kenseth explained. "I never ran road courses growing up, and I've only run a handful altogether. The more you do something, the more comfortable you get with it. On Thursday night, it's only going to be about IROC and trying to get the best finish I can, but I'm sure I'll learn something about road racing while I'm out there and hopefully it will help my road course efforts in Cup."