Kenseth Sixth in Bristol - Second in Point Standings BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tools team survived the typical beating and banging of Bristol to finish sixth in the Food City 500 on Sunday. Kenseth ...
Kenseth Sixth in Bristol - Second in Point Standings
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tools team survived the typical beating and banging of Bristol to finish sixth in the Food City 500 on Sunday.
Kenseth started the race from the sixth position, marking the DEWALT team's best qualifying effort since March of 2000. During practice sessions throughout the weekend, Kenseth was near the top of the speed charts. The car was handling well, and the entire team was positive they would be contenders -- given they could keep the fenders on the car.
In the team meeting on Sunday morning, crew chief Robbie Reiser demonstrated his usual leadership as he told the team to focus on one race at a time. He told them to keep their heads in the game, and to be prepared for a long race. Reiser asked them to keep their emotions in check in the event of a wreck, since Bristol was known to bring out tempers. Finally, he told them they would have the car to beat, if it all came together for them, and they made no mistakes.
Throughout the race, Kenseth had a decent car. He said it was tight in the center and loose off, so the team made track bar and air pressure adjustments to fix it. At one point Kenseth thought they had transmission problems, but as it turned out, the problem was not something they were unable to deal with. Kenseth lost second gear, and was just a little slower getting through the gearbox on restarts.
It was frustrating for the team who is practically unbeatable in the pits, that they could not catch a break in Bristol. Kenseth's stall was located in pit number six, between the No. 25 car of Jerry Nadeau and the No. 4 car of Mike Skinner. Both Nadeau and Skinner were competitive and were on the lead lap. Space on pit road was tight. Each time Kenseth pitted, he had to angle the car in, and the team had to push him in reverse to back out of the stall. They lost precious time and track position in the pit area each time.
Kenseth had many close calls during the 500 lap event, but he was able to drive around cars spinning in front of him due to his amazing driving skills and with the help of spotter Mike Calinoff high above turn one.
A sixth place finish at Bristol demonstrated the consistency of the No. 17 team, as they have now moved into second place in the point standings.
"A sixth place at Bristol is awesome," said Kenseth. "I am really pleased with that, because we qualified and raced consistently. There was a lot of wrecking out there today, and some of the leaders were not shy about turning people. We played it safe, and if someone had a better car, since it was such a long race, instead of letting them turn me or something, we let them go by, and just got it back later."
Robbie Reiser was very pleased with the finish as well. "What a great day for Roush Racing. Kurt Busch won and we finished sixth. This was a great effort on the part of the No. 17 team. We kept the fenders on the car, and brought home another top-10. These guys take it one race at a time, and, well, its just really encouraging to see us running as well as we are."
The DEWALT Team will take the weekend off for Easter, and prepare for Texas Motor Speedway.