Charlotte: Matt Kenseth preview

Kenseth, No. 17 Team Ready for Season's Longest Race Fresh off a strong showing in Saturday night's Sprint All-Star race, Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Team prepare for the longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, ...

Kenseth, No. 17 Team Ready for Season's Longest Race

Fresh off a strong showing in Saturday night's Sprint All-Star race, Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Team prepare for the longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where Kenseth earned the first of his 18 Sprint Cup victories in May of 2000.

KENSETH SHINES BIG IN 600

Historically the 600 is one of Kenseth's top races. He won his first Sprint Cup race in the 600 on May 28, 2000 and he went on to finish second in two of the next three 600-mile events. In fact Kenseth finished top three in five of his first six Coke 600s. All in all he has finished inside the top five in 56 percent of his World 600 starts and inside the top 10 an impressive 78 percent. He finished seventh in the 600 last season.

MATT AT CHARLOTTE

In addition to his success in the Coca-Cola 600, Kenseth has had a great deal of success at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In addition to his 2000 win in the 600, he won the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte in 2004 and he has won twice and garnered four poles in Nationwide races at the 1.5-mile track.

GOING GREEN

The No. 17 Ford Fusion will carry the green and gold colors of R+L carriers this weekend for the Coke 600. It will be the first of four races this season with R+L Carriers as the primary on the No. 17 Ford. Kenseth has carried the R+L Carriers paint scheme 10 times since 2006. In his 10 previous starts in the No. 17 R+L Carriers Ford, Kenseth has achieved 10 top-12, eight top-10, and four top-five finishes.

MATT:

"The 600 is the longest race of the season and it does present some challenges. Obviously the race starts in the day and ends at night, so the team has to have a setup that you can work with as the conditions change. We had a good run last weekend in the Sprint All-Star race and we'll look to build on that this weekend.

"Track position will be key in the race. Obviously you have to stay on the lead lap and stay out of trouble, but as we saw last year with the smooth pavement where (Jeff) Burton took tires and stayed out and won the race, it's going to be big to be up front. Clean air means a lot and it's hard to pass with these cars, so hopefully we'll have a good strategy to stay up front and a fast enough car to compete at the end when it matters."

DREW:

"We are pretty excited about going back this weekend for the 600. After seeing how well the car ran on the longs runs last Saturday, we'll have a good starting point for the race. We are looking forward to gaining on that setup and moving forward. It's key to build adjustability into the car for the day to night transition, and you have to anticipate what the track will do between the day and night and how the car will react to those changes in order to stay ahead of it."

FAST FACTS

* Kenseth's first Sprint Cup win came in the Coke 600 on May 28, 2000.

* Kenseth finished top two in three of his first four 600s and top three in four of his first five.

* Kenseth has finished top 10 in 67 percent of his Coke 600 starts and top five in 56 percent.

* Kenseth finished seventh in last season's Coke 600.

* In addition to the 600 win, Kenseth won the 2004 Sprint All-Star race at Lowe's and he has two wins and four poles in Nationwide races there.

* Kenseth finished second in the Sprint All-Star race at LMS last Saturday night.

* Kenseth moved up two spots to 10th in the point standings with his 10th-place finish at Darlington.

-credit: rfr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth