Kenseth's key to 2002 will be consistency

CONCORD, NC (January 21, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth and the DeWalt Racing team are ready for a brand new season. Its no secret the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year did not rise to the on-track expectations critics had anticipated for his sophomore ...

CONCORD, NC (January 21, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth and the DeWalt Racing team are ready for a brand new season. Its no secret the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year did not rise to the on-track expectations critics had anticipated for his sophomore season. Last years disappointments have turned into valuable lessons learned for Kenseth, both as a driver, and as a person.

"As competitive as I am, it used to be, if anything ever went wrong I always felt like it was something I did or didn't do," said Kenseth. "Last season, I realized that's not always the case. There were some things that were completely out of my control. I learned a little about myself, and maybe have become a little better to be around when things are not going so good. I am still competitive, but may be a better person for it."

With only four top-five and nine top-ten finishes on the year, the glory of the 2000 win of the Coca-Cola 600 in just his 18th start, seems far, far away.

"We've proven we can win races. Last year it was a hard pill to swallow as we struggled to qualify and get to the front each week. Luckily, in the last part of the season we got our act together," Kenseth continued. "It was the struggles we had throughout the year that hurt us. I am hoping the momentum will carry over, and although you can't bet on that, it would be awesome to come out of the gates strong.

"Sure, we need to get back to victory lane, but the ultimate goal for the year is to finish in the top ten in points. I don't know if that means that we need to win a bunch of races, or if it's finishing in the top five or top ten every week. We will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Consistency is the key."

Kenseth and the DeWalt team took part in the second Daytona test where they figured out what they will need to work on in the few short weeks left before they head to Florida.

"The test was not that great for us but at least we learned what we need to work on. This years Daytona 500 will resemble the Daytona 500 of 2000 where I finished 10th. I am glad NASCAR made some changes, because if you have a good car, you are rewarded for it, and if you are junk, then you are junk. We're not going to go down there and be junk - this team is much better than that. This year we're going to back it up with consistency and be there at the end of each race."

As Kenseth and the team continue to prepare for Daytona, they will also take part in the test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on January 28th and 29th.

-dr/aw-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth