CONCORD, NC - Matt Kenseth, piloting the No. 17 Reiser Enterprises Ford, scored his 14th career NBS victory and second series win at Lowe's Motor Speedway. It was an uneventful end to an exciting race full of lead changes.
"It was a great day at the end," said Kenseth. "We got the car we needed to, but Michael (Waltrip) was the class of the field. Even when he wasn't leading I think he was trying to put on a good race. He was definitely the class of the field and I don't know if we could have wrangled him in or not."
"We started off and our car was quite a ways off. We were expecting sun today and different track conditions and our car was way off. I honestly didn't think we had a prayer of running with the leaders. I thought we'd run 7th to 10th or somewhere in there.
"We had just enough cautions and just enough pit stops to change the things that the car needed to be able to make it do the things I wanted it to do."
This is Kenseth's second win this season, the first coming at California Speedway in April. The current Winston Cup points leader's win ties him with Joe Nemechek for 15th place on NASCAR's all-time Busch series victory list.
Kenseth's lucky break came during the final pit stops when Kyle Busch took just two tires and Kenseth took four. The call in the pits enabled Kenseth to motor past Busch for the lead on lap 172 and hold the position until the races final yellow flag.
"I felt like it was Christmas," said Kenseth of Busch's two-tire stop. "I couldn't believe it really. They probably thought most of the guys would get two tires for track position. I don't have much experience here, but I have enough to know that I definitely need four tires on my car. Two tires would have never held it."
18-year-old Las Vegas native Kyle Busch making his debut in the NASCAR Busch series brought the Nemechek/Hendrick owned No. 87 Chevy home second. His performance was the best rookie start for a driver in Busch series history.
"It was a really big deal for us to get this race in," said Busch. "This has been really amazing to come out here and run second, qualify fifth in the first Busch race, but on the other hand its not.
"I go out there every time to my fullest ability that I can and if the car's there we can do it. And today the car was pretty much there. I think if the last two yellows hadn't come out we would have had a chance. It was a great run."
"I am satisfied with it right now," said Riggs. "It was a good points day for us. We were consistent. We were close to the top-five all day. I was happy with the car after qualifying, but then when I got into my car for 'happy hour' I was pretty disgusted. Still just struggling with the front end, and just no matter what changes we made nothing really worked.
"Kept working on the car all day. Every time we came in the pits the guy made positions in the pits."
Todd Bodine, who entered the event 10 points behind in series championship standings, comes out on top again, his fourth place finish moving him 98 points into the lead.
"We were just too tight at the end," commented Bodine. "Tony (Liberati, crew chief) decided to only take two tires on that last stop. That was not the way to go. We were good all day until there at the end. It was a good day for us.
"We just can't give up. We've got to keep digging because David Green and a lot of other good drivers are right behind us (in championship rankings)."
2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss was fifth.
"We started so far back, that by the time we got there it was too late," said Bliss. "A top-five was what I was shooting for and that's what we got. I've never finished a race here. If we hadn't started so far back it might have been different for us."
Pole sitter Kevin Harvick led 53 laps and looked strong in the races early goings, as the day progressed the No. 21 RCR Chevy fell off a bit and finished ninth.
"It sucked," marveled Harvick. "We were good all day until the end when we got loose."
Hank Parker, Jr. returning to the Busch series in the Dale Earnhardt, Jr./Teresa Earnhardt owned Chance 2 Motorsports No. 8 Chevy finished an impressive seventh.
"That's the best run I've had all year," said Parker. "I just have to thank all the guys on this team. It feels good."
With Bodine in the series lead, David Green falls to second. Scott Riggs sits third followed by Mike Bliss and Ron Hornaday.