Kenseth Looks For Win at 'Hometrack' Chicagoland

After a strong run last week at Daytona, Kenseth and the team head to the Midwest and Chicagoland Speedway, where they have performed well, but never won. Chicagoland is the closest track on the circuit to Kenseth's hometown of Cambridge, Wisc., and the team will look for a strong homecoming this weekend.

AT CHICAGO

This will be Kenseth's ninth start at Chicagoland Speedway. He is one of only 14 drivers to start every Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. His 300 laps led are the second most in track history and his average finish of 9.8 is fifth best. He is one of only eight drivers with multiple top-10 finishes at Chicago, and his 3207 miles (2138 laps) tie for the most in track history. In addition, he has three top-five and four top-10 finishes in seven Nationwide starts at the track.

FOLLOW THE LEADER

Kenseth has led in six of the eight races at Chicagoland Speedway for 300 laps (second only to Tony Stewart). He has led in the last five events at Chicagoland, for 297 of the 300 laps.

POINTING IT OUT

Kenseth has scored the second most points (745) in the last five starts at Chicagoland and the third most in track history (1144).

NEVER A BRIDE

Despite the fact Kenseth has finished second twice and led 300 laps at Chicagoland, the track is one of 11 tracks on the Cup circuit where Kenseth has never won. Kenseth's 18 wins have come at 11 of the active tracks and at Rockingham (where the series stopped racing after 2004.) In addition, Kenseth has led at all 22 tracks with the exception of Sonoma, including 88 laps at New Hampshire.

FINISHING UP

Kenseth has completed all but one of the 2,139 laps run in Cup competition at Chicagoland (tied for the most in track history), for 3207 miles.

POINTS BATTLE HEATS UP

Kenseth currently remains 10th in the Sprint Cup point standings. He trails seventh by only 34 points and leads 12th by just 35 points, in a points battle where only 69 points separate seventh and 12th. Kenseth currently leads 13th (first position outside the chase) place by 100 points.

USG ON BOARD

Kenseth will run the USG Sheetrock paint scheme this weekend at Chicagoland. It will be the second of three races for USG on the car this season. The No. 17 carried the blue and red earlier this year in Las Vegas and will carry the colors again later this year at Phoenix in Nov.

QUOTING MATT...

"I'm looking forward to Chicagoland. It's the closest track to home for me. We'll have more family and friends at Chicagoland than anywhere we go. I also look forward to going there, because we always perform well there. We haven't won there yet, but we've finished second there a couple of times and we've been close there, so it would be great to get a win there.

"I also really like night racing -- especially the Saturday night races. That's where we all started, racing on local tracks on Saturday nights. It's a little cooler and you can see the sparks flying in the stands, and it just seems to add to the excitement."

FAST FACTS

* Kenseth has two top-five and four top-10 finishes in eight races at Chicagoland.

* Kenseth has led in six of his eight starts at Chicagoland.

* Kenseth has led in the last five races at Chicagoland for an impressive 297 laps.

* Kenseth has finished second twice at Chicagoland (2005 and 2007).

* Kenseth has completed all but one of the 2139 Cup laps run at Chicagoland Speedway.

Last Year at Chicagoland...

After suffering a flat tire on lap 123, Kenseth battled back from 37th place, one lap down to capture a solid seventh-place finish. The top-10 finish moved Kenseth into eighth place in overall point standings. Trouble struck on lap 122 when Kenseth radioed to hisflat tire. On lap 123 he entered the pits in fifth place for four fresh tires. Kenseth rejoined the race after the unscheduled pit stop in 37th position, one lap down to the leaders.

Kenseth would make his way up to 30th place -- the Lucky Dog position on lap 160 and a caution on lap 176 would put Kenseth back on the lead lap.

With just under 100 laps remaining in competition, Kenseth had his work cut out for him to capture a solid finish. However, lap-by-lap he picked off the competition and by his final pit stop on lap 225, Kenseth had worked his way up to 11th place.

Three more cautions would stall the race before the race would conclude in a green, white, checker finish. Kenseth ultimately took the checkers in seventh place.

-credit: rfr