BUSCH: Darlington: Matt Kenseth preview

Matt Kenseth Race Schedule Saturday, May 12 NNCS: Dodge Avenger 500 - 6:30 PM Eastern - FOX/MRN Friday, May 11 NBS: Diamond Hill Plywood 200 - 8:00 PM Eastern - ESPN2/MRN FAST FACTS * Matt Kenseth's average finish in NEXTEL Cup this...

Matt Kenseth Race Schedule

Saturday, May 12
NNCS: Dodge Avenger 500 - 6:30 PM Eastern - FOX/MRN

Friday, May 11
NBS: Diamond Hill Plywood 200 - 8:00 PM Eastern - ESPN2/MRN


* Matt Kenseth's average finish in NEXTEL Cup this season is 8.7, second only to Jeff Gordon.

* Kenseth's average finish in the Car of Tomorrow in four races is 9.0, good enough for fifth best among Cup drivers.

* Kenseth has completed every lap so far in 2007, one of only two drivers to do so (Jeff Gordon).

* Kenseth's third-place finish last year at Darlington Raceway was his first top-five finish at the track in 13 attempts.

* Kenseth's Busch Series record at Darlington is brilliant. In 12 starts he has recorded two victories, eight top fives, 11 top 10s, never finished worse than 12th, and has completed every lap in all 12 races (1764 of 1764).

* Kenseth's average finish at Darlington in the NBS is 4.4, tops among all drivers in the NBS with five or more starts at the 1.366-mile oval, and ranks second among Kenseth's NBS career behind only Pikes Peak (4.0 in two starts).

* Kenseth is ranked fifth in the NBS point standings heading into Darlington despite having started only eight of the series 11 events. Remarkably, Kenseth is ahead of 12 drivers who have started in all 11 NBS races this season.

NNCS Quotes:

Kenseth on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is a really cool racetrack. It's unique and challenging and, to me, that makes it a lot of fun to drive. Tire wear is so important there and you're really sliding around more and more as a run goes on, so it's extremely important to get your car to handle there.

"Now, with that being said, it's going to be interesting with the 'COT' there because we really haven't had much luck with the handling on these cars yet. We've been struggling with getting the car to turn through the center without getting it too loose on exit. So, couple that with a place like Darlington and it should be interesting to say the least.

"We're bringing a brand new car this weekend and I honestly don't know what we'll have. But, hopefully we'll continue to improve and make these cars better to where we can start competing for wins again."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington should be fun. It's going to be challenging like it always is, but this time there's going to be a certain level of uncertainty going in. But, it's pretty much the same for everybody.

"The bottom line is we've got to get our stuff running better. On race day, our guys have done as good as job as anybody out there, and I think that shows if you watch the race. We really haven't had top-10 cars in the COT races, but we've had excellent pit stops and we're able to make the right adjustments and Matt has done an excellent job to where we've snuck out a few top 10s. That's the good news. The other side to that is our cars aren't performing good enough to consistently run in the top 10 and challenge for wins right now, and that has to change going forward if we're going to contend for the championship this year."

NBS Quotes:

Kenseth on racing in the Busch Series at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is one of my favorite tracks. I like it because it is a unique track. You really have to have your car handling well to be competitive, especially on old tires. This track tends to wear out tires very fast, so the better your car handles on old tires the better you will be at the end. Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys have been giving me some great cars lately. Our last three runs together have resulted in a win and two second place finishes. Plus last year we finished second here, so hopefully we can get the car setup right to be there at the end and earn a solid finish."

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington always makes for a great race and this Friday night should be no exception. Matt (Kenseth) has a great record here, but just came up short of a win last year-- just like last weekend. We are taking chassis 346 to Darlington which is the same car we took to Atlanta. We didn't get the finish we would have liked in Atlanta, but hopefully we can turn that around and get a good finish Friday night."

-credit: rfr

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Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth