Matt Kenseth finished the NAPA 500 right where he started, in 9th position. Rained played havoc with the schedule all weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, canceling qualifying on Friday night. NASCAR gridded the 43-car field by car owners' points,...
Matt Kenseth finished the NAPA 500 right where he started, in 9th position.
Rained played havoc with the schedule all weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, canceling qualifying on Friday night. NASCAR gridded the 43-car field by car owners' points, putting Kenseth in 9th spot. The 325-lap race began on time Sunday afternoon, with the green flag waving at 12:30 PM EST. Matt immediately began picking off positions, moving up to 6th spot by lap 17. The first showers of the afternoon began just 30 minutes into the race, forcing the caution flag to be waved. Kenseth pitted under the yellow, along with the leaders, for fresh rubber and air pressure adjustments to combat a tight handling condition. Thanks to the quick work of the DEWALT crew, Kenseth went back onto the track in 7th spot. But the moisture wouldn't relent and the red flag waved for the next 2 1/2 hours.
Finally, the rain ceased, the track was dried and the green flag was shown. Matt ran in the top ten the remainder of the race, despite battling a tight race car. The #17 DEWALT Team made several green flag stops along the way, putting on 4 tires and making major adjustments to tighten up the car each stop. With each stop the handling seemed to improve, allowing Kenseth to stay on the lead lap and in the top ten. The rain made its presence known again on lap 241, which proved to be the end. NASCAR threw the checkered flag on lap 248, giving the victory to Kurt Busch.
"It's good to get a top ten," stated Kenseth. "We ran mediocre and sub-par today, so at least we finished pretty high. The DEWALT guys gave me great stops all day and kept me up front. They made a big difference in our finish."
Matt Kenseth grabbed his seventeenth top ten finish of the season at AMS and continues his 8th place sitting the in the driver points standings, 361 points out of 1st.
Just three races remain in the 2003 season. The next race is on Sunday, November 3, at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC.