Matt Kenseth Daytona preview

Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT TeamReady to Roll in '09 Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team move into the 2009 version of Daytona Speedweeks on a mission. Kenseth became one of only two drivers to qualify for the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' in each...

Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT TeamReady to Roll in '09

Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team move into the 2009 version of Daytona Speedweeks on a mission. Kenseth became one of only two drivers to qualify for the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' in each of its first five seasons last year, but the No. 17 failed to visit victory lane for the first time in seven years. The team will have its first shot at victory lane at the Budweiser Shootout All-Star race, where Kenseth will make his third career start.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE...

The No. 17 team will have a new face on the DEWALT pit box in 2009, with Drew Blickensderfer taking over the crew chief duties. The box will also have a familiar look as well, as Chip Bolin returns to his long time post as team engineer. In a move designed to give Bolin more time to concentrate on making the cars go fast, Blickensderfer and Bolin will team up to put the No. 17 Ford back in victory lane.

A DECADE OF DAYTONA

This will mark Kenseth's 10th season of Cup racing at the World's Center of Speed and his 10th running of the famed Daytona 500, where he has two top-10 finishes, but is still looking for his first top-five finish.

SHOOTING IT OUT

Kenseth will start his third Budweiser Shootout All-Star race this season. In two previous starts he boasts a 4.5 average finish, one top-five and two top-10 runs.

AT DAYTONA

Despite not having posted a top-five finish in the Daytona 500, Kenseth has finished top five in two of his past five Cup starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, including a career-best third at Daytona last summer. In addition, he has finished top 10 in three of his last five starts at DIS.

LEADING THE WAY

Kenseth has led in the last three Daytona 500s and in six of his nine 500 starts, including leading 28 laps in the 2006 running of the event.

DOUBLE DUTY AT DAYTONA

In addition to his Cup duties, Kenseth will pull double duty at Daytona this season, running the No. 17 Ritz Ford in the Nationwide race. Kenseth boasts an impressive Nationwide record at DIS, turning in seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes in just nine starts, including a victory in 2000.

MATT KENSETH:

"The challenge of Daytona is getting your car fast, but still be able to handle well through the corners. Unlike Talladega, your car has to handle, if you are going to be able to keep the throttle down on the floor. The corners are pretty tight and the surface is old and worn out. The track being as old and slick as it is, makes for a real challenge and a lot of fun for the drivers. The Shootout used to be more of a specialized group. You had to do something the year before or you had to do something besides being the top six in your manufacturer, so it takes away a little of the uniqueness, but it'll be a great race because the more cars you get in the race at a plate race, the more exciting that it is. It'll be exciting. I'm looking forward to running the race and getting the practice in.

"As for the upcoming season, you take it one week at a time. If you run good every week and you finish good, and you can win some races, you're going make the Chase. So it's really about taking it one week at a time. We're thinking about the Daytona 500 right now. We've got Drew (Blickensderfer) in there as the new crew chief and we've changed some things around on the team, so really, we're looking forward to the Daytona 500 and going there and trying to win."

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth