Kenseth Puts on Road-Course Exhibition in Late-Race Rally To Finish 18th at Sonoma Sonoma, Calif. (June 21, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth picked up 21 positions, driving from 39th to 18th in the final 20 laps of Sunday's Save Mart 350 at Infineon ...
Kenseth Puts on Road-Course Exhibition in Late-Race Rally To Finish 18th at Sonoma
Sonoma, Calif. (June 21, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth picked up 21 positions, driving from 39th to 18th in the final 20 laps of Sunday's Save Mart 350 at Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, Calif. Kenseth almost saw a strong day go down the drain, after getting spun out and crashed into just after a restart on the 56th lap of the scheduled 111 lap event. As a result of the heavy damage incurred to Kenseth's DEWALT Ford by the accident, the team would eventually lose a lap, dropping back to as far as 40th.
"(Crew Chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and Chip (Bolin) (head engineer) and the team did a great job with the strategy today, and that was the fastest road-course car I've probably ever had," said Kenseth after the race. "It's my fault we got wrecked there and that put us in a hole. Everyone was able to hang in there and we were able to come back with a solid finish. It was a good effort by everyone on this DEWALT team."
Kenseth had been running third prior to the accident and had held his No.17 DEWALT Ford Fusion inside the top five for the previous 25 laps. The team had settled on a seemingly solid fuel mileage strategy that would have paid huge dividends, had Kenseth not been caught up in the accident.
Despite heavy damage to his Fusion, Kenseth was able to stay on track for his normal pit cycle on lap 66, but the team struggled to change the right front tire due to the damage taken on during the wreck. When all was said and done, the No. 17 DEWALT team found themselves one lap down and as far back as 40th.
True to form, Kenseth and the team continued to battle earning their lap back on lap 90, while making a series of pit stops to continue to work on the damaged car. Once back on the lead lap, the veteran wasted little time moving back through the field. He picked up six positions on lap 100, moving from 35th to 29th. By lap 104 he had broken back into the top 20.
With the comeback performance Kenseth moved up one position to 10th in the Sprint Cup point standings, 407 points outside of first and only 94 points behind fifth.
The team returns to action next week at New Hampshire International Speedway, where Kenseth has finished inside the top 10 in10 of the last 13 at the 1.058-mile track. The race will be televised live by TNT, with the green flag set to drop at 2:15 p.m. EDT.