HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 17, 2002) -- The 40th place finish in the Ford 400 was not indicative of the championship potential demonstrated by Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Team in 2002. Sure, it was not the happiest way to end the season, but the No.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 17, 2002) -- The 40th place finish in the Ford 400 was not indicative of the championship potential demonstrated by Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Team in 2002. Sure, it was not the happiest way to end the season, but the No. 17 team has nothing to hang their heads about. A season consisting of five wins, a pit crew championship, one pole position, 11 top-5's and 19 top-10's is quite impressive. Kenseth and the two-time World Champion DEWALT pit crew finished eighth overall in the Winston Cup Series points behind champion Tony Stewart.
Kenseth started the Ford 400 in 13th position. He quickly moved up into the top-10 but was fighting a loose racecar. The DEWALT crew made air pressure and track bar adjustments on the first pit stop. A two tire pit stop on lap 76 put Kenseth into the fourth position, but he fell back to eighth when the car became loose again.
As the race wore on, the DEWALT Ford Taurus got better and better. Matt moved into the sixth position. When the team reached their fuel window, crew chief Robbie Reiser decided to bring Kenseth down pit road to top off the fuel tank - so Matt could go the distance if the race stayed caution-free.
Kenseth was 15th when the race restarted. On lap 223, disaster struck when the words "We blew up, I'm taking it to the garage," were said on the radio communications. The No. 17's day was finished, as was the 2002 season.
Teammate Kurt Busch went on to win the Ford 400 from the pole position, and Tony Stewart won the championship by 38 points over Mark Martin.
Kenseth finished a career high eighth place - earning him a spot on stage at the Winston Cup Series banquet in New York City on December 6th. He has nothing to be upset about- it was a 'dream season'.