DOVER, DE (June 2, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth experienced one of his most trying weekends of the 2002 season at Dover International Speedway. Kenseth grabbed his first career Winston Cup Bud Pole Award for the MBNA Platinum 400, securing the top ...
DOVER, DE (June 2, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth experienced one of his most trying weekends of the 2002 season at Dover International Speedway.
Kenseth grabbed his first career Winston Cup Bud Pole Award for the MBNA Platinum 400, securing the top starting position on Friday. Unfortunately, Kenseth's motor blew during Saturday mornings' first practice session. Due to NASCAR's one engine rule, the motor change would force Matt to the rear of the field for 400-mile event. The team rallied and quickly changed motors in time for the final Saturday practice session. Matt clocked in the 3rd fastest lap during 'Happy Hour' and the team was confident they could charge back to the front on Sunday.
Kenseth started the 400 lap race at the tail end of the field, but he didn't stay there for long. By the first caution flag and first round of pit stops, Kenseth was up to 23rd position. Track positions didn't come easy because Matt was dealing with a loose handling race car. After several adjustments in the next few pit stops, things were looking up as Kenseth moved into 8th position on lap 126.
Kenseth continued to battle the loose condition but managed to stay in top fifteen the next 90 or so laps. On lap 215, just as the team was preparing to direct Kenseth back into the pits for service, the No. 17 car blew a right front tire coming off turn four and skidded hard into the outside wall.
Matt brought the DEWALT Ford into the garage for repairs but the damage was extensive, so it took the team close to 100 laps to fix the car. Kenseth returned to the track on lap 311 and nursed the No. 17 Power Tools Ford home in 40th position.
"We just popped a right-front tire," stated Matt Kenseth. "That happens every once in a while. I'm surprised it blew when I was so incredibly loose. Those last couple of laps I moved up to the top to see if we could make some speed because we were at a big deficit all day. I was just trying to get caught up, but we blew a right-front tire for some reason. It's just a bad break for us."
The 40th spot finish moved Kenseth to 4th in the drivers point standing, 168 points out of first. NASCAR's next stop on the circuit is Pocono Raceway on June 9th.