LONG POND, Pa. (July 29, 2001) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tool team had a strong day at Pocono Raceway, but were relegated to a 14th-place finish when old tires took their toll on a strong race car. The No. 17 team endured a tough ...
LONG POND, Pa. (July 29, 2001) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Power Tool team had a strong day at Pocono Raceway, but were relegated to a 14th-place finish when old tires took their toll on a strong race car.
The No. 17 team endured a tough weekend. Practice on Friday was cut short due to a broken part in the engine forcing the team to put a different motor into the car for qualifying. Kenseth then ran a lap good enough for a 24th-place starting position.
When the race started, Kenseth battled his way into the top fifteen. Pocono is known for its three distinct turns, and Kenseth's car was loose going into turn one and tight in turn two, otherwise known as the 'tunnel turn'. The car made an air pressure adjustment on the first pit stop which proved to be the key to the setup under the hood.
Kenseth then made serious progress on the track as he moved up into the top-10. A pit stop under caution could have maintained the track position, but a loose lug nut on the left front tire required Kenseth to come back into the pits to fix the issue. He went from 12th to 24th position and had to battle his way back to the front once again.
Another blow was dealt to the strong team as Kenseth was running in the 14th position when he had a right rear tire go flat. The team lost a lap on pit road as they fixed the problem. When Kenseth went back out onto the track he was running lap times as fast or faster than the leaders. A crash on lap 148 allowed Kenseth to gain his lap back. It wasn't long before he was racing again in the top 10.
Fuel mileage strategy came into play late in the race as Kenseth and the team were able to go to the end of the race with a lap or two to spare. Unfortunately, the tires on the No. 17 were a bit older than some of the leaders, and Kenseth fell backwards in the finishing order. He crossed the finish line in the 14th position.
After holding on to the 11th position in the point standings, teammate Mark Martin's run at Pocono was good enough to take that spot away. Kenseth is now 12th in the point standings going into the Brickyard 400 next week.
"It was an up and down day for this DEWALT team," said Kenseth. "We seem to be struggling on pit stops for some reason. It seemed like I fought for position all day long due to different circumstances. We were pretty strong there and then had a right rear tire go down. After we got that lap back I thought we would be okay. At the end there, our tires fell off considerably and it was hard to stay up there. Considering the day we had, I guess 14th is okay, but finishing 14th with a top-5 car is not that great."