Things are looking up for Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Roush Racing Ford team. After a disastrous start to the 2005 season with a 42nd place finish at Daytona and a 26th in Fontana, Kenseth looks ready to rebound. Matt Kenseth. Photo by...
Things are looking up for Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Roush Racing Ford team. After a disastrous start to the 2005 season with a 42nd place finish at Daytona and a 26th in Fontana, Kenseth looks ready to rebound.
"We've got great cars and great equipment; we just have to get some momentum going ... like anything it goes in cycles. We've had two bad weeks and right now we're way behind."
Kenseth is the defending winner of this event and is the most competitive driver at the 1.5-mile speedway. He has led 221 of the 1,750 laps raced at LVMS; more than any other driver. He is a two time winner of this event.
Kenseth proved he is still the man to beat at Vegas by turning the quickest lap during Happy Hour. He paced the field with a lap of 168.755 mph.
"Yeah, we've been running good this year we just don't have the finishes," said Kenseth. "We had something break at Daytona and we got a fender knocked off and I got a flat tire at California, but we ran good. We had a real competitive car at Daytona and led laps at California, and I feel like we'll run real good here this weekend too.
"We've got a lot of work to do between now and Sunday, but I'm real confident about our chances. I think we've got a real good car here. It's the same car we had at California and, hopefully, we can get the finish this week."
Jimmie Johnson toured the speedway second fastest with a lap of 167.908 mph. Johnson and the No. 48 Hendrick Chevy definitely have the momentum after earning two top-five finishes in the first two events of the season. In three starts at LVMS, Johnson has never finished worse than 16th.
He will take the green flag from the ninth position on Sunday.
The No. 6 Roush Ford of Mark Martin was third with a lap of 167.801 mph. Martin won the inaugural race here in 1998, and has five top-six finishes in seven starts.
"The win there in '98 is probably the most memorable win I have," said Martin. "We went there, it was a brand new track and we had a brand new team looking to see what we could do.
"Once the race was all over with and we took care of all the Victory Lane stuff and all the media, we were leaving in the helicopter and I looked down at the track and it dawned on me what we had accomplished." Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler complete the top five quickest times.
"We tested very well here in Vegas when we came here a month ago and we did all race runs," said Sadler. "My guys are so awesome. They brought me another good car and we've got a bunch of them lined up at the shop. We just want to prove to everybody that last year wasn't a fluke. We're here to stay. We're gonna be a part of that chase again this year."