CONCORD, NC (Mat 20, 2001) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tools team competed in their first Winston on Saturday night. They started 13th and finished 14th. Unfortunately, Mother Nature staked her claim on the all-star event of stock car ...
CONCORD, NC (Mat 20, 2001) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tools team competed in their first Winston on Saturday night. They started 13th and finished 14th. Unfortunately, Mother Nature staked her claim on the all-star event of stock car racing, delaying the start for almost two hours.
Kenseth qualified the car in 13th position. Prior to the event in his usual team meeting, crew chief Robbie Reiser put the night into perspective for the crew. He said, "This is the night we have all been looking forward to. Anyone who cut their teeth on short tracks knows what this race means. These teams are the best of the best, and we are a part of that. You may not realize it now, but this night is very special. Take it all in."
Shortly after the command to start engines, a rain shower created slick track conditions and possibly contributing to a wreck collecting four of the 21 contenders. NASCAR ruled the four teams could pull out their back up cars, and The Winston would be restarted. One of the teams caught up in the accident was Roush Racing's No. 99 car driven by Jeff Burton. In a collaborative effort, team members from the DEWALT team along with several others helped out their teammates in changing engines and setups on the back up car.
When the track was dried and the 30 lap segments began, Kenseth was fighting a push in the car. During the first pit stop the team worked on the car to take bite out of it. The DEWALT team finished the first segment in the 17th position.
The crews were then allowed 10 minutes to work on the car. They made adjustments and sent Kenseth back out for the next 30 lap segment. The No. 17 car was better on longer runs and was loose during the second segment.
When the winner of The Winston took the checkered flag, Kenseth was in the 14th position.
"That was a great car," said Kenseth. "We had a great motor tonight, and if there were longer runs, we probably would have been a lot more competitive. We learned some things tonight we may use for the Coca-Cola 600 next week. All in all, this was a learning experience."
Kenseth has a busy week prior to the Coca-Cola 600 weekend filled with appearances and sponsor obligations. He will get the chance to defend his title in the series' longest race next Sunday night, under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway.