Atlanta: Matt Kenseth preview

Worthy Note: Kenseth enters this weekend's race having scored five straight top-10 finishes at AMS. TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD... As the musician Meatloaf lamented in the late 70's. This season actually marks the second time in Kenseth's ...

Worthy Note:

Kenseth enters this weekend's race having scored five straight top-10 finishes at AMS.

TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD...

As the musician Meatloaf lamented in the late 70's. This season actually marks the second time in Kenseth's career he has started the season with two wins in the first three races. The other came in 2004 when Kenseth won the second and third races, at Rockingham and Las Vegas, to start the season. In fact, Kenseth has won one of the first three races of the season in six of his 10 years in the Cup Series ('02, '03, '04, '06, '07, '09).

AT ATLANTA

This will be Kenseth's 19th Sprint Cup start at AMS, where he has totaled seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. In addition, he captured the pole there in the fall race of 2006. He has two wins, a pole and eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts in the Nationwide Series at Atlanta.

ATLANTA STREAK

While still looking for his first win at AMS, Kenseth has finished inside the top 10 in five straight races and inside the top five on four of those five accounts. In the last four races at AMS, Kenseth's average finish of ninth is the second highest in NASCAR and he has scored the second most points (1156) at the track in the last eight races.

MATT AND DREW IN ATLANTA

The last time Kenseth and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer teamed together in Atlanta the result was a trip to victory lane, with Kenseth taking the checkered flag in the Nicorette 300 Nationwide race. The duo will look to repeat that feat this weekend at the Cup level.

QUOTING MATT...

"Atlanta is a track where you not only race your competitors, but you race the track. It's really high banked and fast. You start off fast and the track gets slick, so you're always looking for a different groove and for more grip. The cars are tougher to drive and they move around a lot more than the old cars. When the track gets slick, you've got to have a good-handling car, so that you can change your points and get into the corners. I always have a lot of fun racing at Atlanta, because it is always a challenge.

"We had a tough weekend in Las Vegas last week, but it's a long season and that is why you can't worry too much about the highs or the lows. It's our job to go back out this week and put together a strong run. We had a really good car here last fall and hopefully we'll build on that and be able to go out and compete for the win."

QUOTING DREW...

"Atlanta is a very fast track, with many grooves. The corners are really long so you have to handle extremely well. This becomes even more important when the tires drop off. Matt has always run well at fast race tracks. He seems to end up at the front of most of the 1.5-mile tracks by the end of the race. The Roush-Yates horsepower also really helps at these types of places.

"It is extremely important to get back on track with a good run in Atlanta. We need to make up some points from last week. Momentum is also something that can help a team and we need to have a good run to get the momentum back."

FAST FACTS

* Kenseth has finished top 10 in five straight races at Atlanta.

* Kenseth has finished fop five in four of the last five at Atlanta.

* Kenseth has led 188 laps at Atlanta, including 128 last fall.

* Kenseth has seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 18 starts at AMS.

* Kenseth has started the Cup season winning two of three races, twice in his 10-year career.

* Kenseth has two wins in the Nationwide Series at Atlanta, including one last spring with Drew Blickensderfer as crew chief.

-credit: rfr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth