Kenseth - almost takes New Hampshire. LOUDON, NH (July 21, 2002) -- The DEWALT Racing team stood on the pit wall and watched the potential fourth win of the season slip away like the slow leak in the right rear tire of the No. 17 car. After ...
Kenseth - almost takes New Hampshire.
LOUDON, NH (July 21, 2002) -- The DEWALT Racing team stood on the pit wall and watched the potential fourth win of the season slip away like the slow leak in the right rear tire of the No. 17 car. After leading the most laps and showing the way to the checkers with ten laps to go, Matt Kenseth's tire went flat, and he ended up 33rd.
Throughout the entire weekend, Kenseth was either the fastest car on the 1 mile track, or within the top six. Since the win in Michigan four races ago. Kenseth and the DEWALT Team showed the competition the bad luck they've run into lately could not keep a a good team down.
Crew chief Robbie Reiser told the team track position was going to be important for the 300 mile race. Kenseth was starting in the sixth position and it was going to be a total team effort to keep him in contention.
On lap 2, two cars tangled in front of Kenseth, and the DEWALT/AT&T Broadband car suffered some sheet metal damage. Kenseth was shuffled back to the 33rd position after previously running 5th. After a few near-misses, Kenseth worked his way though the field and passed his way to the front.
Matt took the lead from Jerry Nadeau on lap 125. From there, Kenseth and old Busch Series rival Dale Earnhardt, Jr. swapped the lead a few times. The biggest complaint Kenseth had all day was the car took a little longer to warm up the tires, and he was loose. Although this was the case, the DEWALT team made very few adjustments to keep Kenseth in the lead. The car usually adjusted after ten laps, which helped Kenseth put some real estate between himself and the rest of the field.
With thirty to go, Kenseth took on four tires during a pit stop. He was back in the field in 15th when the race went green again. Matt passed four cars in two laps, on a track where passing was extremely difficult. Kenseth said his car was really tight at that point, but he was running lap times four-tenths faster than those of the leaders.
He eventually worked his way to fourth, and then to first in an exciting battle. With the moral support of his crew chief, team and spotter, it was evident Kenseth was going to be the man to beat when the race went green with 10 laps to go.
The race restarted on lap 290 and Kenseth got loose off of turn one. He was then passed by second place car, Ward Burton, and eventually by 32 more cars. A rear tire went flat on the No. 17 car, and spoiled all chances for a decent finish.
"These guys need to keep their heads up," said crew chief Reiser. "We had the best car, and sometimes things just aren't meant to be. I just feel pretty bad, its kind of unbelievable."
"I think it was obvious we had the best car, " said Kenseth. " You don't win every time you have the best car. The way luck is and the way racing is, you're going to have bad times even when you're running good. Every time you put yourself in position to win doesn't mean you're going to win."
Even though Kenseth finished 33rd, he gained a position in the point standings. The DEWALT team is now ninth and 311 points out of first.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will head to POcono next weekend for the Pennsylvania 500.