Kenseth Caught in Wreck, Finishes 33rd in Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2002) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team started the Daytona 500 in 40th position. Kenseth was relegated to a 33rd place finish which clearly was not...
Kenseth Caught in Wreck, Finishes 33rd in Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2002) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team started the Daytona 500 in 40th position. Kenseth was relegated to a 33rd place finish which clearly was not indicative of the strong effort and showing displayed by the No. 17 team throughout the event.
Kenseth charged through the field to the 19th position within six laps of the start of the race. He continued on the same pace and was 14th on lap 23 when the team pitted for two right side tires under the caution flag. The World Champion pit crew sent Kenseth out in first position as they took on right side tires only. He led for four laps, and then remained in the top-five until the left side tires became so worn he fell back through the field. Kenseth developed a tight condition and brought the DEWALT Ford back into the pits on lap 81 for adjustments.
By lap 90, Kenseth was third on the board when another caution flag flew because of a spinning car. He remained in the top five when he lost the draft. He was running 14th when on lap 148 Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon tangled in turn one in front of the entire field. With smoke blocking his view of the track, Kenseth had no where to go as 21 cars were collected sending 13 cars to the garage. Crew chief Robbie Reiser and the DEWALT crew worked hard to get Kenseth back on the track. He was able to return to the race by lap 176 but only made it an additional six laps before NASCAR forced the team to pit.
"All I saw was smoke," said Kenseth in the garage. "It looked like where I was sitting that Harvick was trying to block Gordon and Gordon turned Harvick. Once you turn somebody here, if you are in the front of the pack your going to collect a whole mess of cars.
"I thought our DEWALT Ford was pretty darn good today. It really ran well and we made some adjustments that really worked in our favor. Today was the most competitive we have been all week. We seemed to have an advantage, and it seemed like other people who were good this week had some handling problems.
"When it comes to wrecks like the one that started in front of me, you just try and make it through the best you can. Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you don't."
Robbie Reiser was proud of his team as it seemed the momentum gained from the end of 2001 carried over into the Daytona 500. "I am really proud of this entire team," said Reiser after the race. "It feels good being competitive."
Kenseth, Reiser and the DEWALT Crew will try it again in Rockingham next weekend as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series makes its second stop of the season at the North Carolina Speedway.