SPEEDWAY, Ind. (August 4, 2002) -- Temperatures soared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the ninth annual Brickyard 400, but the heat didn't stop Matt Kenseth from bringing the DEWALT Power Tools Ford home in third behind race...
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (August 4, 2002) -- Temperatures soared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the ninth annual Brickyard 400, but the heat didn't stop Matt Kenseth from bringing the DEWALT Power Tools Ford home in third behind race winner Bill Elliott and second place finisher Rusty Wallace.
Kenseth was impressive all weekend posting practice times in the top-10 on the speed charts. After qualifying 18th on Saturday morning, Kenseth thought his car was in good shape for the race.
"The DEWALT car was pretty good during qualifying," said Kenseth. "I got through one, two and three perfect, I just scrapped turn four. I think if we go back and add up the segments I think we would have had probably around a 49.50 or so and that would have likely put us in the top five or six. I just got too tight getting into turn four and pushed real bad coming off of four and I had to let all the way off the gas on the straight-away. If that didn't happen we would have been in real good shape."
Following impressive pre-race ceremonies at the ninth annual Brickyard 400, Kenseth was ready to roll. Again, with temperatures in the high 90's Kenseth knew the heat would be on and the pressure to win one of the biggest races of the year was on.
In races past, fuel strategy came into play throughout the 160 lap event on the 2.5 mile track. During early race caution laps, the DEWALT team only added fuel to the DEWALT car. Kenseth moved his was quickly into the top-10 as the handling of the car improved. He took four tires on lap 37.
"Today was tough because we just struggled getting track position. We made our way up through there early in the race. Later in the race, I got real tight and I couldn't make up ground like I wanted to. We had a little bit of an off-day in the pits during the first couple of stops. I am used to my crew gaining positions for me and we lose a couple here or there it really shows. On that last pit stop we needed a good one, and the guys came through."
On a track that is hard to race side by side and pass cars on, Kenseth exhibited patience, and picked off the field one by one.
The final caution came out within the ten to go window. The green flag flew with four laps to go, signaling to the drivers they would have ten miles to settle the score. The race winner, Bill Elliott, was too strong for Kenseth to catch in the remaining four laps.
Kenseth finished third and moved up to ninth in the points chase. The finish marked his best at Indy, and created some momentum to help the DEWALT team fight for the championship for the remainder of the season.