Darlington: Matt Kenseth race report

Kenseth, DEWALT Team Fight Back for Top-10 Finish in Up and Down Race in Southern 500 DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 10, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team started fast, struggled midway and finished strong to notch a top-10 finish in ...

Kenseth, DEWALT Team Fight Back for Top-10 Finish in Up and Down Race in Southern 500

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 10, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team started fast, struggled midway and finished strong to notch a top-10 finish in Saturday night's Southern 500 at historic Darlington Raceway. Kenseth led the field to the green flag - after taking the pole on Friday -- checked out early and led the first 16 laps of the race.

The team would later lose its grip on the car's handling, falling back as far as 22nd, before rebounding for the 10th-place finish. Kenseth restarted in 17th with just 21 laps remaining, and was able to move back inside the top 10 on the final lap of the race.

"We obviously had a really good day on Friday and qualified well, and practice was good," said Kenseth. "But we were honestly not very good from the second run on. We could never get it to turn all night. It's really amazing it finished tenth because I thought it was one of the slowest cars here, so somehow we missed it again."

The race was a story with two tales for Kenseth. Kenseth, who won the Nationwide Race on Friday night, ran his No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion inside the top five for the majority of the first 123 laps of the race, before restarting in fourth on lap 123. However, something went drastically wrong with the car's handling at that point, and Kenseth dropped all the way back to 18th by lap 160.

Kenseth took two tires under caution on lap 250 to move back inside the top five. He would move in and outside the top 10 for the next several stops, rotating two tire and four tire stops, before restarting for the final time in 17th position with 21 laps to go on lap 346.

The veteran needed just four laps to break back inside the top 15, before moving to 11th on lap 360. He took over 10th position, passing the No. 29 car on the final lap of the race for the top 10. The pole for the race was Kenseth's first since 2005 and the fourth of his Sprint Cup career.

The finish was Kenseth's fourth top-10 of the season. Kenseth moved up two places to 10th in the Sprint Cup point standings, 275 points out of first and 18 ahead of ninth.

The No. 17 DEWALT Team and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take a break from point racing next weekend for the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth