Brooklyn: Matt Kenseth race report

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 16, 2002) -- It has been said that a person is only as good as the people they surround themselves with. Driver Matt Kenseth, is surrounded by the best pit crew in NASCAR. It was the total DEWALT team effort that made it ...

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 16, 2002) -- It has been said that a person is only as good as the people they surround themselves with. Driver Matt Kenseth, is surrounded by the best pit crew in NASCAR. It was the total DEWALT team effort that made it possible to take victory number three of the season, at the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

Kenseth's car was middle of the road all weekend long. During practice sessions, Kenseth was 20th on the speed charts. He backed up the rank with a 20th place qualifying run. On Saturday, early morning rains forced the postponement of practice. Mother Nature finally cooperated, allowing for the Winston Cup Series to take to the track by 11:30am. The DEWALT team placed 24th on the board after practice was over, but both Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser felt they had a good car for the race.

When the green flag dropped on the Sirius Satellite Radio 400, Kenseth worked his way up into the top 15. He was extremely loose but the car got better on longer runs. The first chance for the DEWALT crew to help Kenseth's car was on lap 48 under green. The team made an air pressure adjustment, and sent Kenseth back out onto the track, gaining of two positions. He was in 10th place.

By lap 74, Kenseth said the car was starting to tighten up along with the track. The field was spread out so Kenseth enlisted the help of his spotter Mike Calinoff from high above MIS to see which line the leaders were running on the track. In the meantime, crew chief Robbie Reiser called out lap times, telling Kenseth he was the fastest car on the track.

From there, everything seemed to come together.

Another round of green flag pit stops began on lap 89. Kenseth and the No. 17 car were getting four or five more laps on fuel runs than most other teams. John Andretti scraped the wall on lap 97, bringing out the first caution of the day while Matt was running fifth.

Kenseth pitted on lap 98, and remained in fifth when he went back out onto the track. His biggest problem was lapped traffic, as he fell back to seventh. On lap 139 Kenseth was in the fifth position when he came into the pits again for four tires and fuel, and went back out third.

The race went green on lap 143, and Kenseth passed Dale Jarrett for the lead on lap 147. He pulled away to a four-second lead, but was loose allowing Jimmie Johnson to pass him.

Matt got the lead back when Johnson pitted for fuel on lap 186. Kenseth came in as the leader on lap 189 for two seconds of fuel. The experience and skill of gasman Benjy Grubbs made the stop a success, and Kenseth went back out onto the track with the lead.

The final caution came on lap 195 when an incident involving the No. 21 car of Elliott Sadler brought the field to a red flag stop.

It was four to go when the race restarted and Kenseth held off a hard charging Dale Jarrett to claim the third win for the DEWALT team of the season.

"The 88 really came up there quick," said Kenseth. "I think he would have had me in one more lap, so I'm glad he didn't get there as soon as he did. It was a great run for the DEWALT car. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there and I'm pretty pumped to be back in victory lane.

"The last two weeks, we ran good at Dover. We were on the pole, but we had some problems and had to start in the back and ended up blowing a tire running in the top 10. So I felt like we ran pretty good there and did our job. Last week, we were running second when our transmission broke, so some things are out of your control and we'll have to do the best job we can do to manage the things that are in our control and take them one week at a time and see where we end up."

Kenseth claimed his fourth career victory and moves to fifth in the point standings heading to Sears Point.

-rr/aw-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Sadler