CONCORD, NC (October 13, 2002) -- "We have nothing to complain about, this was a great day for the DEWALT Team," were the words of driver Matt Kenseth after an engine failure relegated the No. 17 team to a 34th place finish. Kenseth was ...
CONCORD, NC (October 13, 2002) -- "We have nothing to complain about, this was a great day for the DEWALT Team," were the words of driver Matt Kenseth after an engine failure relegated the No. 17 team to a 34th place finish.
Kenseth was competitive during practice on Thursday and the team hoped for a good qualifying effort. Kenseth went out on the grid 19th for his attempt to qualify for the UAW/GM 500 and rain started as he made his way around the track. Kenseth's DEWALT Ford brushed the wall in turn four and he shut the car down. After an hour rain delay, NASCAR allowed the No. 17 team to change tires and reattempt the qualifying laps. But another storm passed through the Charlotte area forcing the postponement of the events for Friday morning.
The weather was uncooperative on Friday morning, and the field was set for the second week in a row according to owners points. Kenseth started the race in 7th.
Sunny skies greeted the Winston Cup Series on Saturday and they were able to complete the full schedule of practices.
Heavy rain again blanketed the area again on Sunday, and the race did not get underway until approximately 3:50pm ET. Kenseth's parade to the front of the pack was not affected by the rains, as he moved into fourth on lap 11.
The car was a little tight for Kenseth's tastes, so crew chief Robbie Reiser and the team decided an adjustment on the right rear spring was the solution. On lap 62 Kenseth brought the car into the pits. The DEWALT crew had a 14.62 second pit stop and Kenseth was in sixth when the green flag stops cycled through. The charge was on as Kenseth shaved the five-second deficit on the leader and moved up into the third position. He pitted the car again on lap 134 and the team made a four tire stop in 14.59 seconds. On lap 138, Kenseth was the leader.
Kenseth then complained the car was tight, and the left front of the car may have been scraping the track. He lost some position but made his way back to second by lap 164. On lap 192 Kenseth felt the right front tire going down and brought the No. 17 into the pits immediately. He fell to 26th on the running order. Luckily enough, the rest of the field began to pit shortly after and he was back on the lead lap and in second position again by lap 217.
On lap 229 a ten car pileup brought out a caution. Racing resumed after a lengthy clean up period on lap 244. On lap 254, Kenseth's race ended as he suffered an engine failure while running in the third position.
"We have nothing to be down about guys," Kenseth said as he brought the car into the garage. "Everyone did an awesome job today and I am really proud of you all. We were really competitive and this was the first engine we lost during a race all year. Sometimes you just cant control this."
The team finished 34th and fell to seventh in the point standings, now 305 points behind leader Tony Stewart. Jamie McMurray won the UAW/GM 500 as a fill in for inured teammate Sterling Marlin in only his second start.
Next weekend the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the 32nd of 36 events in the race for the championship.