Kenseth Posts Strong 2nd-Place Finish at Charlotte CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Carhartt/DEWALT race team posted one of their strongest outings of the 2009 season, leading on four occasions for 45 laps and...
Kenseth Posts Strong 2nd-Place Finish at Charlotte
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Carhartt/DEWALT race team posted one of their strongest outings of the 2009 season, leading on four occasions for 45 laps and bringing home a second-place finish in Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kenseth's Ford Fusion was fast all race and the No.17 team turned in a stellar performance on pit road to secure their second top-five finish in the last four races.
Kenseth restarted fourth for the final time of the evening on lap 317 of the 334 lap event and passed Kasey Kahne for second position with just four laps remaining to score his best finish since winning at California in the second race of the season in February.
That was the fastest car we've had in a long time," said Kenseth in the post-race press conference. "Our car was really good and our Carhartt guys did a great job on pit road. We qualified exceptionally well for us (fourth) and were able to keep our track position all night. We were just able to make real little adjustments.
"I was really happy with my car all night," added Kenseth. "I wasn't fast enough to beat the No. 48 and Kasey in a long run was a good bit better than us at times, but we had a really good car and got the best we could out of it. It feels good for us to run up front. It's a confidence booster for me and the team."
Kenseth would run virtually the entire race inside the top 10 and after lap 147 he would turn every lap inside the field's top five. The No. 17 over the wall crew was key in the effort, picking up positions on each of the team's seven stops and putting Kenseth out in the lead on three separate occasions.
Kenseth started the race fourth based on his best qualifying effort since May. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a two-tire stop on the team's first trip down pit road on lap 36. The move put the No. 17 in the lead when green flag racing resumed on lap 42 and set the tone for what would be a strong outing for the team. Despite two tires, Kenseth was still running in second position when the team pitted under green on lap 89. Quick work in the pits helped Kenseth move back inside the lead on lap 96 once the field cycled through its stops.
The No. 17 team used another two-tire stop on lap 190 to move from second to first once again, with Kenseth leading the next 26 laps after the field went green. Kenseth restarted in fourth position after the race's 10th and final caution on lap 317. As the first four cars battled for the race win, Kenseth took over third place from Jeff Gordon on lap 324, before moving into second position with our four laps remaining. Jimmie Johnson went on to win the race.
The run marked continued improvement for Kenseth and the No. 17 team.
"We've been gaining on it," said Kenseth. "As a team, we seemed to hit it pretty good tonight. We qualified good; which makes a huge difference. We had track position all night and never got behind and that makes a big difference in these races. I think you have to have more races to average in before we feel too good about it, but it certainly feels like we're going in the right direction the last three or four weeks."
The team returns to action next week at Martinsville Speedway, where Kenseth had finished top 10 in three of the last five races.