DeWalt, Kenseth Martinsville II race report

Tough Break for Kenseth at Martinsville MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 15, 2001) -- Once again, the DEWALT Power Tools team was in striking distance of a top finishing slot, when again, bad luck reared its ugly head. A broken rear end gear relegated...

Tough Break for Kenseth at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 15, 2001) -- Once again, the DEWALT Power Tools team was in striking distance of a top finishing slot, when again, bad luck reared its ugly head. A broken rear end gear relegated Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team to a disappointing 36th-place finish.

The weekend started off on a positive note, as Kenseth qualified a career best at Martinsville Speedway, and would start the Old Dominion 500 in 22nd position. The team selected to take the same car they finished sixth with in the spring race, and proved to be strong in practice sessions throughout the weekend.

Unrelenting rain washed away the event on Sunday, forcing NASCAR to reschedule the race for 11:00am ET Monday morning. When the green flag dropped, Kenseth worked his way up into the 18th position. When the first caution flew, Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser made the decision to stay out on the track repositioning Kenseth from 18th to first. He held on to the lead from lap 56 to 81 until he was passed by Jeff Gordon.

The No. 17 car was fairly good on longer runs. Kenseth said the car was a little tight, so the team took advantage of the numerous caution flags typical of the short track racing seen at the . 5-mile track at Martinsville.

Kenseth was racing in the 26th position on lap 330 when he was spun out from behind. He regained control of the car and continued on. Shortly after, he lost a lap to the leader. Kenseth fought hard and got his lap back on lap 382.

As the 500-lap event entered its final stages, Kenseth and Reiser felt the car was good enough to go to the end. They chose not to pit during a caution on lap 444. Kenseth swapped places for the second and third positions after the race restarted when on lap 459 his car slowed down the frontstretch. The rear end gear broke, and the team did not have enough time to fix it and get back out onto the track. Kenseth finished in the 36th position. He holds on to 15th place in the championship point standings.

In a post race interview Kenseth stated, "We broke a rear-end gear. Everything was going fine and then we broke a gear up off the corner. We weren't running good enough to pass the cars and get up front by ourselves, so we tried not to pit a couple of times to try and get ourselves in position. I figured we could have finished 15th or 20th if we would have pitted with the leaders, so we thought we'd stay out, roll the dice and maybe hang on to a top 10 or top 15."

"The performance wasn't bad for Martinsville. I only got spun out once, so it wasn't too bad."

"I've never seen anything like that," said Robbie Reiser. "The damage to that car was pretty big, it even blew out part of the shifter when it broke. I have never seen something like that. Talk about a good run gone bad."

The team will leave Monday night to test at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.

-DeWalt-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon