Kenseth's Stellar Darlington Run Spoiled DARLINGTON, SC (September 3, 2001) -- The DEWALT Racing team's hopes of a season-high finish were dashed Sunday afternoon, as driver Matt Kenseth charged to the front only to be collected in an accident...
Kenseth's Stellar Darlington Run Spoiled
DARLINGTON, SC (September 3, 2001) -- The DEWALT Racing team's hopes of a season-high finish were dashed Sunday afternoon, as driver Matt Kenseth charged to the front only to be collected in an accident two laps shy of the finish.
The team experienced problems on Friday afternoon before qualifying when they discovered a possible mechanical problem with the car, forcing them to change motors just prior to qualifying. Luckily, Kenseth picked up two-tenths on his fastest practice speed of the day, and would start the Mountain Dew Southern 500 in the 28th position.
When the green flag dropped, Kenseth radioed to the crew the car was very tight starting off, and then became extremely loose. The team brought Kenseth in to the pits every chance they had to work on the car.
Midway though the race, Kenseth was holding steady in the top-15. The DEWALT Power Tools crew had incredible pit stops all day, advancing Kenseth over 15 positions on pit road alone.
On lap 348, crew chief Robbie Reiser and Kenseth decided to pit for fresh tires. Since Darlington Raceway is so abrasive, the fresh tires would give Kenseth the grip he needed to make his way to the front for the finish. This would be to Kenseth's advantage since some of the lead cars did not pit.
Late race cautions, and a red flag with less than ten laps to go bunched up the field. Reiser told Kenseth he could race for the win, but time would be a factor. With two laps to go, the No. 93 and the No. 8 car tangled, and Kenseth had no where to go. His No. 17 car made heavy contact with the No. 93 and then the wall in turn 2. Thankfully, Kenseth was not injured, but his car could not continue on due to heavy damage.
"We had no where to go on that one," said Kenseth. "It's a real shame because this team worked so hard on this car, and I drove the heck out of it to get up there, only to get wrecked with two to go."
Robbie Reiser felt the disappointment as well. "We finished 23rd with a top five car. It's just unbelievable how hard we worked only to have that happen. I'm glad Matt is all right, and we will move on to Richmond."