BUSCH: Homestead: Matt Kenseth preview

FAST FACTS * Matt Kenseth's third-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway last Sunday marked his fourth straight top-five finish. The last time that happened was in the spring of 2006 from a third-place at Darlington in May, followed by a...


* Matt Kenseth's third-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway last Sunday marked his fourth straight top-five finish. The last time that happened was in the spring of 2006 from a third-place at Darlington in May, followed by a fifth at Charlotte, a win at Dover, and a fifth-place at Pocono in June.

* Saying goodbye to the "old-style car" -- The final race before NASCAR switches completely to the COT in 2008, and fittingly running that final race at Homestead this Sunday is the No. 17 team's favorite chassis, RK-323. Built in late 2005, RK-323 has recorded two wins (Fontana, Feb. '06; Michigan, Aug. '06), eight top fives and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts; the first coming at Fontana in February of 2006.

* Kenseth's average finish during the Chase at Homestead is 9.3; ranking third among all Chase tracks.

* For the fourth and final time in 2007, Kenseth's No. 17 Ford Fusion will be painted black with the DEWALT NANO Technology paint scheme.

* Kenseth's average finish of 22.7 at Homestead-Miami Speedway ranks 22nd out of 23 tracks (including Rockingham) that he's raced on during his Cup career and last among all ovals tracks, thanks largely to two consecutive mechanical failures in 2002 and 2003.

* Kenseth will be racing the No. 17 Dish Network Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday. Kenseth has recorded a win and six top-10 finishes in nine starts in the Busch Series at HMS, and is the defending winner of the Ford 300.

Kenseth on racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"The racing a Homestead, ever since they reconfigured the track has been great. It has multiple grooves and you can really search around for the best line that suits the way your car is handling. It's a very smooth racetrack and we've had some decent cars there the past couple of years.

"It's the last race of the season and overall, I'd say ours has been pretty good. Of course, we would like to have won more races, but here lately we've been running really well. I've said this a lot but I believe the more times you can put yourself in position to win then eventually some things will start falling your way and you'll win one. We've done that the past three weeks. We've been in position to where we were able to compete for the win, so hopefully we can do the same this weekend and end the year on a really good hot streak.

"Last year everything went right for us in the Chase and we just ran terrible; ours just couldn't compete. This year we've run competitive, not as good as the 48, but pretty darn competitive where we could be in the hunt, but we had a lot of problems along the way. All in all, I'm proud of this team and looking forward to this weekend and trying to close the year out with a win."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"This is the last race with the old car and we're taking our best one down to Homestead. This chassis has been our work horse for the past two seasons and has been a really good car for us. It's won a couple of races and come very close to winning a few more.

"We've been really close for the past three weeks now to getting a win. It seems like something happens at the end of each race to where we can't quite get over the hump. We take four tires at Atlanta and then never run another green-flag lap. We take two tires at Texas and four tires came along and got us right there at the end. Then at Phoenix, we had a big lead and we get a debris caution, got caught in traffic and it just didn't work out for us at the end.

"But, these guys have done one heck of a job the past four weeks, really throughout the whole Chase. Our performance has been the best it's been all year during the Chase, we were just unfortunate to have some things go bad for us early on in the Chase, or else we'd be pretty close to contending for the championship. I'm proud of how this team stayed the course when so much went wrong, and we've been able to bounce back nicely because of their hard work and great attitude."

Kenseth on racing in the Busch Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"It's been another good year in the Busch Series for us. Drew and the guys on the No. 17 team have given me great cars all season and have been a lot of fun to work with. We've been up front competing for the win multiple times this year, but seem to walk away with second place a little too much. Hopefully we can repeat what we did last year and pull off a win at Homestead."

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"This whole team has worked really hard this season putting together competitive cars for Matt. The season started off well, but now we seem to be coming in second a lot. We are all tired of settling for second and really want to go out there and win the final race of the season. Matt won this race a year ago and we are bringing a strong car, so lets hope for the best and see what happens."

-credit: rfr

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Drivers Matt Kenseth